The idea of a moving motorshow sounds quite simple on paper.
You get a load of supercars at a venue – like Goodwood’s 1.16-mile hillclimb – and then race them up it several times a day. Not only do punters get to see their favourite cars in the metal, they also get to hear and smell ‘em too. Everyone wins.
This is all fantastic until you factor in the British weather. Which means rain, sunshine, possibly hail and definitely more rain is guaranteed. Combine that with a location like Goodwood House – a very beautiful building surrounded by acres of dusty fields – and the result is something reminiscent of a toddler’s nappy.
Even if detailing isn’t for you, we can all appreciate a clean car. But when you’re a manufacturer unveiling new models for the first time, in front of thousands of potential customers for good measure, keeping clean suddenly becomes quite important. Especially when every car at Goodwood will run up the hill several times a day for the entire weekend.
It’s a simple question: how exactly are they kept clean at all times? Pulling out the jet wash in between runs might be a tad strong given the fact cars must return to their display stands immediately after runs.
The obvious solution is constant and regular upkeep; a solution Gtechniq has mastered over the years with its product range. And while that sounds like a mountain of work, it’s actually more about dirt prevention than correction. And for that you need a ceramic coating.
Ceramic coatings have been around for a while now, but over the past five years especially they’ve become an integral part of the oh-so-important detailing process. Think of them like a more advanced wax; just sticking a coating onto your car isn’t going to yield incredible results. The prep you do up to this point is what really makes the difference. The coating essentially seals the finish underneath, as well as boosting it.
And just like waxes, there’s a huge range of options out there depending on what you need to achieve. From heavy-duty paint protection to a super-shiny finish that will add even more depth and colour. Coatings are all about long-term protection; put the time in on the big clean and it’ll make life easier for every wash after that.
At an event like Goodwood Festival of Speed, this is exactly how you keep those new and previously unseen cars clean all weekend. By protecting the paint early on – or in some cases even days before the event – dirt, mud, grime and rain collected between runs can easily be wiped off without requiring a complete clean or detail.
Nobody knows this better than Gtechniq partner The Great British Valeting Company. Fronted by Aaron Barden who manages an entire team for events like Goodwood, Aaron’s task throughout each day is to ensure every car remains spotless from start to finish. And with thousands of cameras constantly judging his work, there’s no excuses for cars entering the hillclimb filthy.
“It’s all about the preparation,” Aaron tells us. “The more time you put in at the start, the longer each coating lasts. We’re looking after several manufacturers this year including Porsche. Given the number of cars they have running, we actually went down to their HQ in Reading the week before Goodwood to get them cleaned and coated in advance.”
“In an ideal world we’d always use Gtechniq’s Crystal Serum Ultra, which is their most durable ceramic coating. It actually has two layers – a flexible base and a hard top layer which makes it incredibly durable to extreme heat changes, but it can also withstand the strongest wash chemicals without losing protection.”
But choosing the right coating is all about balance. Crystal Serum Ultra is incredibly durable, but it also requires 24 hours to cure properly and can only be applied by accredited dealers and professionals like Aaron. That kind of timeframe doesn’t work once you’re at Goodwood, does it?
“When we don’t have time to properly coat and cure a car, the next best option is C2 Liquid Crystal. It looks like a traditional detailer, but it gives instant protection from the moment it’s applied. That includes repelling water, dirt and protecting against UV rays. It doesn’t have the longevity of a ceramic coating, but it’s more than sufficient here.”
“Don’t forget that many of these cars haven’t long been delivered so the paint can still be soft, or they haven’t yet been PPF’d. You’re then encouraging them to drive at speed up a 1.16-mile hillclimb… we’ll take all the protection we can get!”
“But lack of time doesn’t mean lack of care,” adds Aaron. “Take that Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport over there. It’s bright yellow, it’s worth three million quid and at some point it’ll be delivered to an owner. We can’t just give it the £5 hand car wash treatment; we have to approach it like we would in a dedicated detailing bay, albeit with hundreds of people constantly watching .”
The key here is understanding exactly what’s meant by a professional cleaning product versus its consumer counterpart. The obvious train of thought is to assume they’ll be better. But in reality, it’s all about speed.
Professional products tend to yield the same results but in a reduced time, and that can only be achieved by someone who knows exactly how to do it. I’m sure every detailer would love hours to correct an entire car between runs, but when you’re dealing with minutes instead you have to work with what you’ve got.
“The idea with ceramic coatings is that it makes it much harder for dirt and grime to really stick to the paintwork,” explains Gtechniq Head of Marketing, Dom Berry. “This is why it’s all about prevention. The less physical dirt and grime you have stuck to a car, the less time it’s going to take to clean it. And guess what? The less cleaning you have to do, the more durable the coating remains. It’s a win-win situation.”
“While you could just wipe it down with a microfibre, we’d always recommend something like our Quick Detailer as it’s perfectly safe to use on all Gtechniq coatings. You’ll be amazed what results a bit of Quick Detailer can achieve, short of a car taking an excursion at Molecomb which might require a bit more work than just cleaning…”
It’s a brilliantly simple solution to a problem which I’m sure the majority of us have never had to consider – especially if you live somewhere with actual good weather, like California. But it’s also interesting to see how this level of science being employed by Gtechniq has levels beyond simply cleaning a car. Coatings should allow regular use of your cherished motors, not hinder them.
What about you lot – what’s your experience with coatings, both good and bad? Let us know in the comments below, and we’ll do our best to answer ‘em with a little help from Gtechniq.