F1 legend Alain Prost wows Goodwood crowds

Alain Prost
Alain Prost

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Legendary F1 star Alain Prost is getting his first taste of the Goodwood Festival of Speed as the annual motorsports extravaganza roars off the startline.

The French four-time world champion is the subject of a special photographic exhibition celebrating his career and is also driving up the famous hillclimb course in one of his old racing cars.

Roads around Goodwood have been busy as fans from around the globe descend on the estate near Chichester for the first of three days of high-octane action.

Crowds of up to 180,000 are expected at the festival, which this year has the theme of Young Guns Born to Win - drivers, riders, designers and engineers whose talent marked them out for stardom at an early age.

At least six F1 teams, including Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren, have brought cars to do runs and thrill motorsport enthusiasts between today and Sunday.

Despite showers of rain, petrolheads are in their element, gathering around garages and getting up close to historic and contemporary racing machines just a week before the British Grand Prix.

Ayrton Senna’s nephew and Williams F1 star Bruno Senna is among the first big names due to drive today, with reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button flying in tomorrow and Lewis Hamilton coming on Sunday.

Fellow world champions Sir Jackie Stewart, Emerson Fittipaldi, John Surtees and Damon Hill are also heading to the festival, while Red Bull team principal Christian Horner and design guru Adrian Newey will join the line-up of big names getting behind the wheel.

Away from the track, BMX and trials bike riders are pulling off incredible stunts in the expanded Goodwood Action Sports arena and rally stars are roaring through the forest stage, while the supercar paddock and run allows people to drool over exotica including the Lamborghini Aventador, Bugatti Veyron and Ferrari 458 Italia.

In the Cartier ‘Style et Luxe’ area, visitors can wander around a unique collection of vehicles used by the Queen and other royals, brought together to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee.

Spectators will also be looking skywards today as the Red Arrows put on a display at 2pm, with a Typhoon fighter jet also due to do a spectacular flypast at 3pm.

Yesterday saw record numbers attend the Moving Motor Show, which gave would-be buyers the exciting chance to test drive a range of the latest production models on the world-famous hillclimb course.

Members of the public got behind the wheel of everything from family Fords to exotic Ferraris, negotiating the same ribbon of Tarmac that will see a host of motor racing stars burning rubber over the festival weekend.

Goodwood’s Lord March said: ‘It promises to be the biggest and best Festival of Speed ever. We’ve got the greatest cars from around the world and many of the greatest drivers.’

He added: ‘The way this event has grown since we started back in 1993 is fantastic. Now I look out of my bedroom window in the morning and see all the people streaming in. We’re all passionate about cars in all their forms and this is the biggest car culture event anywhere.’

Admission is strictly by advance ticket only and Goodwood have confirmed that the weekend is now a sell-out. For more information, go to goodwood.co.uk or call 01243 755055.

Don’t miss The News tomorrow and Monday for stories and pictures from the festival, plus weekend updates here at portsmouth.co.uk and on Twitter using the hashtag #newsfos.