McLaren 720S GT3X Storms Its Way at FOS, Subaru Claims P2

Another edition of the Goodwood Festival of Speed has come to an end. Everyone has been eager to go back to West Sussex, seeing that last year the event was canceled due to the ongoing health crisis. And the selection of cars that were on display was nothing short of amazing. But I was more interested in the Timed Shootout than anything else.
McLaren at Good Wood Festival of Speed 8 photos
Photo: McLaren Automotive
McLaren at Goodwood Festival of SpeedMcLaren at Goodwood Festival of SpeedMcLaren at Goodwood Festival of SpeedMcLaren at Goodwood Festival of SpeedMcLaren at Goodwood Festival of SpeedMcLaren at Goodwood Festival of SpeedMcLaren at Goodwood Festival of Speed
The track layout at the Goodwood Festival of Speed isn't comparable to what you'd get from a visit to Spa Francorchamps. A full lap has a length of 1.16 miles (1.86 km), and just 9 turns. Although it may not be fit to host a Formula 1 Grand Prix, that doesn't mean it can't be used for a time attack format. And year after year, we get to see the craziest of all cars, being driven by some of the best drivers out there, having a go at it.

All that in an attempt to be crowned "King of the Hill". And the coolest part is that this is one of the few places where you get to see a direct comparison between machines that come from different racing classes. One moment you can have a Formula 1 single-seater on the track, and not long after there's a Pikes Peak machine trying to achieve the same thing.

In 1993, Willie Green was the fastest man on track, driving a Surtees-Cosworth TS20. His fastest lap was clocked at 56.30 seconds. But his record was obliterated the following year, by Martin Brundle in a McLaren-Peugeot MP4/9, with a time of 47.80 seconds. Jonathan Palmer was the fastest man around the track for the next two years, driving two different Williams-Cosworth machines, the FW08B and the FW07B.

McLaren at Goodwood Festival of Speed
Photo: McLaren Automotive
But it was Nick Heidfeld that really raised the bar, and for three years straight he was unbeatable at Goodwood. His 1999 outing saw him setting a record that lasts to this day still. Driving a McLaren-Mercedes MP4/13, he needed 41.60 seconds to do a full lap of the circuit. Twenty years later, the closest anyone has ever gotten to that time was Romain Dumas in the Volkswagen I.D. R, back in 2019, when he was clocked at 42.32 seconds.

As per tradition, the Timed Shootout was one of the main attractions of this year's edition too. Looking at the Top10 fastest cars of the weekend, you can notice that special mix I was talking about earlier, and you almost don't know what to expect next. A BTCC-spec Toyota Corolla was the 10th fastest, with a time of 53.89 seconds. I was happy to see that a 30+ years old Sauber C9 is still ridiculously fast today, as it clinched 8th place with Kenny Acheson behind the wheel.

"Godzilla" fans will be happy to see that the fifth fastest car on the grid was the HKS Nissan Skyline GT-R R32 with a time of 48.96. It's no wonder that these cars are so popular today! Travis Pastrana was also on-site with his Gymkhana-spec Subaru Impreza STI, but after completing the lap with a time of 46.20 seconds, he had to settle with second place overall.

McLaren at Goodwood Festival of Speed
Photo: McLaren Automotive
And that's because Rob Bell went out in the McLaren 720S GT3X, and he wouldn't settle for anything less than 1st place. He needed 45.01 seconds to run the course, and even though this is nowhere near Heidfeld's performance from the late '90s, it was still impressive to follow his run. We've all seen the specs for the 720S GT3X, and even though it's not road-approved, we'd still want one.

If budget is not an issue for you, it can be ordered through one of the 11 official McLaren Motorsport Retailers worldwide. All in all, McLaren had a pretty strong presence at the FOS, as the new Artura made its debut, and several other models were on-site, including a 765LT, a 620R, and an Elva, which was driven by Kenny Bräck. Now you can just sit back in relax for the next 10 minutes, while you watch the fastest Timed Shootout runs.

If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram
About the author: Dragos Chitulescu
Dragos Chitulescu profile photo

The things Dragos enjoys the most in life are, in no particular order: cars, motorcycles, diecast cars, and drifting. He's seen (and driven) many vehicles since he started his writing career back in 2009, but his garage currently houses a 1991 Mazda RX-7 FC3S Turbo II and a 1999 Suzuki SV650-S.
Full profile


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories