GRR

The nine weirdest cars of the 2023 Festival of Speed

20th July 2023
Ethan Jupp

The fastest, most significant, rarest and most valuable – words you’ll easily associate with the kinds of cars that we see at the Goodwood Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard. But as we perused the paddocks over the course of the weekend, an idea for a list formed based around an altogether different word: weirdest. Yes, there are some really weird cars that come to the Festival of Speed, given the breadth of motoring history that we try to gather. So here is a list of really weird cars we spotted.

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1. McLaren Solus GT

We open pretty casually and will descend into weirdness. It may be the fastest up our Hill this year. It may have an incredible screaming V10. But none of this changes the fact that the McLaren Solus GT is a little weird. For a kick-off, it started life as a virtual Vision Gran Turismo car. For another, it doesn’t actually have any doors, instead utilising a sliding canopy like some sort of jet fighter. Remember when track toys used to be based on road cars? This thing could have come from outer space and shares precisely nothing with any road-going McLaren we’ve ever seen..

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2. Czinger 21C

The Czinger 21C is what we’d call a pretty weird car too. There’s nothing weird about its performance, with over 1,200PS and a sub-two-second 0-62mph time. What is weird is its layout, the way it looks and the way it’s built. The first two are related, as the looks are dictated by the seating layout, which is one+one, one driver and one passenger right behind, or to use the correct term, the 21C has tandem seating. That means the 21C has an extremely slim cabin and, of course, weird, long butterfly doors. A lot of it is also algorithmically designed and 3D printed, meaning bits of it look like props out of an Alien movie.

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3. Koenigsegg Gemera

What is now the most powerful production car in the world is a bit weird when you think about it. A two-door, four-seat, mid-engined supercar. As good as it looks, it is a little strange given that extra passenger space behind the driver, compared to a traditional-looking Koenigsegg like the CC850. Incredibly innovative? Yes. A little strange for it? Also yes. 

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4. McMurtry Spéirling

Another Hill winner, the current record-holder, that cannot for all its performance escape the fact that it’s a strange-looking little thing. We of course refer to the McMurtry Spéirling, which sort of has the opposite problem to the Koenigsegg above. Rather than being a bit too big, it’s a bit too small, almost comically so. Of course, it doesn’t house a big hot combustion engine, so it can be a lot smaller. But the proportions are definitely more ‘Wacky Races’ than Supercar run.

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5. Audi R10 TDI

Okay, we’ve had a bunch of paradigm-pushing modern supercars. What exactly can be so weird about this 15-year-old Le Mans-winner? Well – and admittedly it wasn’t the only one for long – it’s a Le Mans winner that runs on… diesel. Yes, that which is a swear word in the modern motoring world was once the saviour of the average motorist and a point of enormous investment and development within large car companies, including the Volkswagen Group. Yes, to the point that Audi even made a V12 diesel for its Le Mans car. It proved to be versatile in its power delivery and, shock, quite frugal. A great car but certainly weird today, and the product of what feels like an entirely different motoring era.

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6. BMW H2R

The BMW H2R also runs on what you’d call an alternative fuel (diesel was alternative in race car parlance). Only a proper alternative fuel – hydrogen. What could be one of many ways of saving the combustion engines we love, was being investigated by BMW, in part with this prototype. It packs the V12 from a 7 Series, yes, but it burns hydrogen rather than petrol. Then wrapped around it is this strange streamliner body. We love it, but it’s definitely weird. 

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7. Cadillac Series 61 ‘Le Monstre’

Cadillac at Le Mans isn’t such a strange thing to think about these days, given the Cadillac V-LMDh secured itself a top-three finish this year. This Le Mans Cadillac, however, is a strange thing. Would you just look at it? Called the Series 61, it quite rightfully earned the nickname ‘Le Monstre’ from the French when it ventured across the Atlantic over 70 years ago. What is a properly weird design was of course dictated by weight loss and aerodynamics, to make it faster and slipperier down the Mulsanne straight. The car was popular during its run in 1950, and even pretty quick. Had it not gone off and lost top gear, it might have come a fair way higher than its eventual 11th-place finish.

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8. Bedelia DB2

One of the weirdest cars at the Festival of Speed was on the Cartier Lawn in the cycle car class. We had the tandem-seat Czinger 21C near the start and indeed, this is a tandem car too, though nowhere near as fast. It also has quite the quirk of its own in that the driver… sits behind the passenger. Naturally, the passenger is a bit lower for visibility reasons but yes… what a strange thing.

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9. Porsche 919 Snowcat

Yes, it’s a Porsche 919 (or a model of one). Yes, it has caterpillar tracks. No, we don’t know why. Weird, but cool and great that it took time out from spending most of its time at FAT Mankei Cafe in Switzerland.

So that’s our list of the weirdest cars at the 2023 Festival of Speed. Your thoughts? Are there any we missed? Let us know…

Photography by Pete Summers, Jochen Van Cauwenberge, Nick Dungan, Nick Wilkinson and Joe Harding 

  • Porsche

  • 919

  • McMurtry

  • Audi

  • Czinger

  • FOS 2023

  • Koenigsegg

  • BMW

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