The 2013 Cholmondeley Pageant of Power was packed full of an amazingly diverse range of crazy racing cars, with a grand total of ‘zero’ green cars amongst them, showing that speed, noise and jaw-dropping looks are still the crowd pullers.
Even Green Car Guide editor Paul Clarke was tempted to the dark side by the offer of a drive of the new Jaguar F-TYPE V8 S around the Pageant of Power circuit – watch the video .
The £80,000 Jaguar F-TYPE V8 S was a perfect example of why the crowds flocked to the Pageant this year – the supercharged 5.0-litre car produces 488bhp, it’s rear-wheel drive, it looks stunning, it makes a fantastic noise, and being brand new, very few people have seen it in the flesh. Even fewer people have seen it in action on the track.
The F-TYPE’s driving experience matches its looks. This is a sports car that, without doubt, has the DNA of a Jaguar driving experience engineered into it. With a 0-60mph time of 4.2 seconds and a top speed of 186mph it’s extremely rapid, but is also very comfortable. It has the feel of a luxury car, yet lots of power oversteer is also possible – especially in the often damp conditions of the Pageant.
This year the Pageant actually enjoyed mostly dry weather over the Saturday and Sunday, however that wasn’t the case on the Friday. During drives of the circuit in the new Ford Fiesta ST, it was more like driving down a river rather than a race track. However the Fiesta ST coped with the conditions admirably, and showed a definite car purchase option for people who want a car that is fun to drive yet, returning 47.9mpg, is a little bit more economical than the F-TYPE
If you want even more economy, then we had that covered – we also took the new Honda Civic 1.6-litre i-DTEC around the Pageant circuit and it showed that a car which has an official combined fuel economy figure of 78.5mpg – and which also proved very economical in real life whilst on test with us – can also be fun on a race track.
Honda showed that as a company it had a perfect fit with the event. The Pageant is a dynamic demonstration of machinery on the track, off the track, and on the water. Honda was able to really make the most of this, with its ‘Honda Village’, along with drives of the Civic on the circuit, tests of its quad bikes across Cholmondeley estate’s fields, and demonstrations of Honda’s marine capability in the estate’s mere.
This really sums up the Cholmondeley Pageant of Power – we’re not aware of any other event with such a diverse range of activities on show. The Goodwood Festival of Speed may be an amazing, well-established event, but it doesn’t have Cholmondeley’s water-based activities. And of course Goodwood is more than a four-hour drive south, so Cholmondeley really does offer something special for people in the Midlands and the North. The 1.3-mile Cholmondeley sprint circuit is more technically challenging than the Goodwood hill climb, and from a spectator point of view, you can actually see the cars on the track at Cholmondeley – something that is increasing difficult for the public to do at Goodwood.
So apart from the F-TYPE, what else was special on the circuit this year? The answer is lots of things, but of particular note was the collection of Aston Martins, celebrating the company’s 100 th year anniversary.
A Lamborghini set the lap record at the Pageant two years ago, and the brand was also out in strength at this year’s event, celebrating its 50 th birthday.
Of course, Bentley, with its factory in Cheshire, is the founding sponsor of the Pageant, and the company’s cars were well represented. Continental GTs were on the track, as well as the ice speed record-breaking Cabriolet, driven by F1 and Le Mans legend Derek Bell. At 3pm on the Sunday there was even a ceremony to mark the exact 10-year anniversary of Bentley’s sixth win at Le Mans, with the Speed 8 that won the event, together with its driver, Guy Smith.
Every year the Pageant features a collection of historic racing cars with ridiculously large engines, such as the 46.5-litre Brutus BMW Aero – in terms of efficiency, this is just about as far from the soon-to-be-launched BMW i3 electric car as you will find.
New for 2013 at the Pageant was the Wales Rally GB Village, featuring an outstanding collection of current and historic rally cars, most of which also took to the Pageant circuit, ranging from 1980s Audi Quattros to the 2013 Ford Fiesta WRC.
Motorbikes aren’t usually on the radar of Green Car Guide, but the Supermoto bikes, with their highly skilled riders, were amazing to watch fly – literally, in some cases – around the circuit.
Similarly, trucks aren’t something that we normally get excited about, but there was a MAN TGX truck in the competition this year, driven by its owner David Jenkins, which we couldn’t believe when we saw it powering at very high speed around the 3.5-metre wide circuit – which was only a few inches wider than the vehicle.
The special thing about the Pageant is that the laps are timed, so there is intense competition to be the fastest vehicle. This year that honour went to the Radical RXC, which posted a brilliant fastest lap time of 56 seconds. The Caterham SP300R came second by a whisker. In terms of cars that you can buy to drive on the road, the North West-built BAC Mono, which at last year’s event was the fastest car on road tyres, also put up a highly impressive showing at the hands of driver Oliver Webb.
There were just far too many other amazing spectacles at the Pageant such as historic F1 cars and hovercrafts (yes, hovercrafts) to cover in these pages, so if you missed the event this year, make sure you book early for the 2014 Pageant of Power (applicable to both the public and for corporate hospitality).
Will there be any green cars on show next year to stir your emotions? We’ll have to see if any manufacturers develop a vehicle that is both green and sufficiently exciting to enthral the crowds at the Pageant. Finding the answer to this will continue to be one of our key missions. Watch this space.