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Goodwood Festival of Speed 2010: the CAR guide

Thu, 01 Jul 2010

The Goodwood Festival of Speed 2010 descends on Lord March's Sussex estate this weekend, so here at CAR Online we've put together a handy guide to make sure you get the most out of what promises to be a  weekend of motoring nirvana. Especially if this uncharacteristically hot British summer weather continues.

Undoubtedly. The Festival of Speed has escalated in size and status over the past decade, becoming one of the most revered events on the motoring calendar. So far Lord March seems to have kept its innate magic intact, despite the increase in size and commercial importance. If you have even the faintest amount of petrol running through your veins, the 2010 FoS will have something for you.

As is traditional at Goodwood's early summer festival, the focal point will the hillclimb – a 1.16-mile stretch of road running through the estate, which will be swarming with all types of automotive exotica. Alongside this will be the Cartier 'Style et Luxe' concours d'elegance, modern and classic Formula One racers, the original Carrera Panamericana cars, a celebration of Italy's infatuation with motor racing, superbikes galore, an aviation show, a Forest Rally Stage, Thursday's maiden Moving Motor Show and a music concert, to name but a few of the attractions.

It depends what tickles your fancy. If supercars are what you're after, the Sunday Times Supercar Paddock is a must. The likes of the Bugatti Grand Sport, Mercedes SLS AMG, Pagani Zonda F, Ferrari 458 Italia and Bentley Continental Supersports will all be on show, as well as more leftfield offerings by the likes of Bristol, Zagato and Veritas (stop press: the Veritas is broken and won't be there – Ed). 

Outside the Paddock you'll see the public unveiling of the McLaren MP4-12C and the Jaguar XKR 75. For those wanting to see something a tad less outlandish, Alfa Romeo will present its new Giulietta hatch, driven along the Mille Miglia route in this month's CAR Magazine, while Lexus will also be showing off their new CT200h hybrid for the first time in the UK.

Celebrating 60 years of the Formula One Championship, legendary drivers such as Sir Jackie Stewart, Mika Hakkinen and Sir Stirling Moss will all be at Goodwood's Festival of Speed 2010. Meanwhile their contemporary counterparts such as Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber will be showing off their 2009 and 2010 machines up the hill. Last year Lewis performed doughnuts and burn-outs along the strip, so expect more of the same this year (unless his Melbourne antics and run-in with the police have stymied his extrovert side...).

For those believing that Formula One has no way near enough mud and trees, the Forest Rally Stage will provide a 1.67-mile loose-surface track for more than 50 modern and classic rally cars to show off. Motorbike lovers will also revel in a huge range of superbikes, motocross, and freestyle bikes and riders.

And let's not ever forget the Wacky Racers, who will be making a welcome return this year.

Actually, yes. Thursday’s Moving Motor Show will provide a chance for manufacturers to flaunt their wares to hand-picked individuals and provide a chance for them to drive up the hallowed hillclimb and along a specially made evaluation route.

For the rest of us the best places to observe are on the bridges over the track, in the grandstands or even just from walking around the various paddocks. Make sure you get down to near the start and finish lines away from the main drag. Goodwood allows the public to get really up close and personal with the cars and their drivers – especially in the paddocks – with none of the pretence of the traditional motor show circuit. Cars are prepped and started right next to you, with only a marshall and a few feet between you and your idols. That's what keeps Goodwood special, in our view.

Aside from remembering to take your autograph book, camera and sunscreen, just get ready to do a lot of walking and to see one of the greatest displays of two and four-wheeled beauties ever assembled.

CAR Magazine will be providing some coverage over the weekend, uploading photo galleries and news from the event. Jaguar competition winner Archie Robertson will also be driven up the hill by Mike Cross in the new XKR 75 and you'll get to read his exploits in his blog.

By Mark Passer