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Goodwood Festival of Speed 2010 turns into a motor show

Thu, 18 Mar 2010 00:00:00 -0700

New car buyers will be able to test drive cars up Goodwood’s iconic hillclimb, as the Goodwood Festival of Speed expands for 2010. Organiser Lord March is adding an extra day – Thursday 1 July – which will be a ‘moving motor show’ for as many as 30,000 guests. But instead of supercars or F1 racers powering up the hill, it’ll be showroom metal-only on the Thursday.

Some 20 manufacturers have signed up to the moving motor show, including Audi and Mercedes-Benz, two firms which abandoned the British motor show in its dying days. Each brand gets to showcase six cars, on stands in a new paddock area by the start line, and designated slots to send their cars up the hill. They’ll be able to invite around 1000 loyal customers, sales prospects and fleet buyers.

‘It’s a moving motor show, a preview day where manufacturers show off their latest and most exceptional products,’ said Lord March. ‘We will be putting their guests into these cars and they will experience the hill for themselves. It’s a dynamic experience: we are keen to be the British motor show and we believe the Festival of Speed can take that position.’

A limited number of tickets are likely to be available to the public in advance, but the capacity will be much lower than the 50,000-plus that attend each day of the Festival of Speed. With only around 1500 runs, many punters will not get the opportunity to drive the iconic strip through the Goodwood estate. But there’ll be a nine-mile on-road route, in addition to a new, four-mile route back through the estate at the end of the hill.

This new road will also be good news for the Festival, as it will eliminate the bottleneck after each run and enable cars to return to their paddocks more quickly, keeping the action flowing faster. It won’t be ready for use over the weekend until 2011, however.

The 2010 Festival of Speed, taking place from Friday 2 to Sunday 4 July, has the theme ‘Viva Velocé – a passion for speed’. The featured marque is Alfa Romeo, which celebrates its centenary this year.

Other anniversaries include 60 years of Formula 1 and the Carrera Panamericana, as well as 50 years of Bathurst and the RAC Rally heading into the forest.

Lord March confirmed that six F1 teams and six WRC teams were attending, including star rally names Sebastien Loeb and Ken Block.

By Phil McNamara