EARLY visitors to Goodwood’s annual motor show got the chance to drive the latest cars up its world-famous hillclimb course.
The Festival of Speed was launched with the Moving Motor Show, which allowed a select number of would-be buyers to test drive a range of the very latest production models as the event at the Chichester estate opened to bright sunshine.
Goodwood owner Lord March said: ‘We wanted people to be able to get behind the wheel, to drive, feel and experience the cars.’
But the Moving Motor Show had to be halted after a member of the public lost control and crashed a Volvo on the hill. The driver and a passenger from the manufacturer were unhurt, although the front of the car was severely damaged.
The track was closed for 20 minutes.
Many petrolheads paid for a ticket yesterday because it allowed them access to festival attractions before the event proper got under way today.
In the paddocks, the sound of revving engines filled the air as an amazing array of racing cars and bikes were being readied for action, including both historic and contemporary F1, Le Mans and Indy machines.
No fewer than eight of the 12 current F1 teams, including Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren, have brought cars to burn rubber and thrill the huge crowds. Enthusiasts gathered around their garages to see mechanics working on the cars. Aussie hero Mark Webber was due to be the first big name to drive today, with Jenson Button expected tomorrow and Lewis Hamilton coming on Sunday.
Early arrivals yesterday included BBC F1 presenter Jake Humphrey and rallying legend Juha Kannkunen,
The supercar paddock was also open, allowing people to get up close to exotica including the Lamborghini Aventador, Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport (the world’s fastest production car at 268mph) and Ferrari FF and 458 Italia.
As a jazz band played, others chose to stroll through the Cartier ‘Style et Luxe’ area, featuring some of the most beautiful cars ever made.
Judges for this concours d’elegance at the weekend will include Queen drummer Roger Taylor, Apple designer Jonathan Ive and supermodel Yasmin Le Bon.
There was also a big attraction in the air, as the Red Arrows performed breathtaking crossing manoeuvres while travelling at closing speeds of 800mph. They’ll be flying again today and tomorrow, while Sunday will see the last surviving airworthy Vulcan bomber fill the skies above Goodwood.
Crowds of up to 175,000 are expected at this year’s festival, which has the theme Racing Revolutions – Quantum Leaps That Shaped Motorsport.
Admission is by advance ticket only. For more information, go to goodwood.co.uk or call 01243 755055.