A record nine out of the 12 Formula One teams are set to send cars and star drivers to this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed.
World champions and McLaren team-mates Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton are expected to be among the big names getting behind the wheel on the famous hillclimb course from July 1 to 3 – just a week before the British Grand Prix.
Goodwood owner Lord March revealed the news at yesterday’s media launch, saying: ‘F1 always plays a big part at the festival and this year it’s going to look like a real F1 grid.’
The launch was an event in itself, with a succession of road and racing machines old and new roaring away from the startline and flashing past Goodwood House, near Chichester.
Famous faces included supermodel Yasmin Le Bon, golfing great Sir Nick Faldo, two-time F1 world champion Mika Hakkinen, Lotus Renault F1 driver Bruno Senna, celebrity chef and petrolhead James Martin plus Geordie comedian and bike fan Ross Noble.
Hakkinen said: ‘I’ve already been to the festival quite a few times and I think it’s unbelievable.’
It was a cold day, but the Finnish ace smiled: ‘Where I come from, I’m used to it.’
The theme for the 2011 festival will be ‘Racing Revolutions – quantum leaps that shaped motor sport’, celebrating the quest for increased power, efficiency and speed.
There will also be an American-influenced celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Indianopolis 500 race and a line-up of classic E-Type Jaguars to mark their 50th anniversary.
After last year’s debut, the Moving Motor Show will again be held the day before the festival proper on June 30.
This will allow the public to see and test drive the latest models from manufacturers including Jaguar, Porsche, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
Meanwhile this year’s Goodwood Revival from September 16-18 is to feature an E-Type-only race and special track parades in honour of 100 years since the birth of motor racing legend Juan-Manuel Fangio.
To watch an in-car video of a 1972 Ferrari Daytona GP 4 on the Goodwood hillclimb yesterday, go to portsmouth.co.uk/video