40 years of the Golf GTI at Goodwood
They say life begins at 40 and when it comes to the Volkswagen Golf GTI it really does feel like it’s been given a new lease of life. This year the iconic hot hatch will be 40 years old and at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, old and new will come together to celebrate, with the original 1976 GTI and latest Clubsport S both tearing up Lord March’s drive over the weekend.
While the original GTI pushed the boundaries of performance back in the day with its 110bhp 1.6 litre engine, the most recent iteration, the Clubsport S, pushes the boundaries of modern FWD performance. Its 306bhp punch and a distinct lack of rear seats make it the most hardcore standard GTI ever, if not the most practical.
In fact, the Clubsport S has just taken the top spot in the front wheel drive hot hatch arms race by taking the FWD record round the Nürburgring, toppling the Civic Type R by just over a second with a time of 7m 49.21sec. Its appearance at Goodwood will be the first opportunity for performance VW fans to see the Clubsport S in the UK, and with just 150 going on sale here it might also be the last opportunity!
At Goodwood, both the MK1 and MK7 will be in the hands of two times Le Mans 24 Hours winner, Hans-Joachim Stuck, when they take to the famous hill climb. No doubt he’ll be wringing the necks of both cars to demonstrate just how far the GTI has advanced in 40 years, though there are no prizes for guessing which will be faster over the 1.2 mile course.
VW Motorsport fans will be well catered for during Goodwood too. The Polo R WRC, which has dominated the series in recent years, will be there to make some noise and kick up some dirt, helped in no small way by the enviable combination of WRC pro Jari-Matti Latvala and a 318bhp 1.6 litre engine.
While the weekend of the Festival of Speed is already sold out, it’s still possible to get tickets to the Moving Motor Show by visiting www.goodwood.com.