Formula One drivers take to the track at Goodwood

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Formula One drivers Mark Webber, Nico Rosberg, Heikki Kovaleinen and Bruno Senna were among a host of motorsports stars taking to the track today at the Goodwood Festival of Speed – just a week before the British Grand Prix.

They were all due to pilot F1 machines up the famous hillclimb course on the final day of the 20th festival at Lord March’s estate near Chichester.

Yesterday F1 world champions Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button were besieged by autograph-hunters as they put in an appearance.

Other big names sampling the unique atmosphere this weekend include fellow world champions Emerson Fittipaldi, Alain Prost, John Surtees, Sir Jackie Stewart and Damon Hill. Meanwhile octagenarian racer and greatest living Englishman Sir Stirling Moss is also getting behind the wheel.

Roads around Goodwood were busy from early in the morning as tens of thousands of enthusiasts headed for the final day of the biggest celebration of car culture on the planet, featuring an amazing array of historic and modern racing machines.

There was rain overnight and today began wet, but the clouds parted and welcome sunshine dried up the track, allowing drivers and riders to either go for quick times or put on a tyre-burning, engine-revving show for the fans.

One of the highlights today will be a shootout between all the top timed cars to see who is fastest up the challenging 1.16-mile hillclimb.

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

During yesterday’s run one car left the track at Molecomb Corner and a passenger had to be taken to St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester for treatment before being discharged.

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. Judges of this special concours d’elegance today include Olympic athletics legend Ed Moses, AC/DC rock star Brian Johnson and actor Philip Glenister.

There’s also an aviation exhibition and a ground-shaking flypast by a Typhoon Eurofighter jet.

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. Organisers say it is completely sold out today.

A 1929 racing Bentley Blower became the most expensive British car ever sold at auction, fetching £5m, at the Bonhams auction at the Festival of Speed on Friday. The previous record was £3.5m for a 1904 Rolls-Royce.

Don’t miss The News tomorrow for stories and pictures from the festival, plus follow the action on Twitter using the hashtag #newsfos.