PREVIEW: Goodwood Festival of Speed 2012

WE PREVIEW BRITAIN’S biggest celebration of cars and motorsport.

[UPDATE] Follow the links below for our highlights of this year’s Festival of Speed:
Mega picture galleryRally Stage video highlightsHillclimb video highlights


Ever since the British Motorshow went for a burton a few years ago, the Goodwood Festival of Speed has been promoted to Britain’s premiere motor show. It has got bigger and better each year, and 2012 looks set to be no exception.

Here we detail the most important things not to miss this weekend.

The Hill

The hill itself is the main attraction at the Festival of Speed. You’ll see the latest and greatest supercars, Formula One cars, Le Mans cars, rally cars, superbikes, historic racers and much more tearing up the challenging 1.16 mile course. It’s wise, therefore, to find youself a good vantage point to watch from and a programme and commentary earpiece/radio so you can be fully clued-in as to what your seeing.
Of course, this isn’t the only aspect of the hill. The finale on Sunday sees the 20 fastest cars of the weekend battle it out to set this years quickest time, and attempt to beat Nick Heidfeld’s record of 41.6 seconds which has stood now for 13 years. There will also be plenty of showboating and ‘hooning’ going on, as you can see from the video below.

Forest Rally Stage

Up at the top of the hill you’ll find the Forest Rally Stage which will play host to over 50 rally cars this year, from classic Mini Coopers and Lancia Stratos’ right up to Skoda’s 2012 IRC challenger. It’s a bit of a walk but it’s well worth it.

Meet Your Heroes

The Festival of Speed gives you a great chance to meet drivers and celebrities alike as they mingle in the paddocks before taking to the hill. It’s a more friendly environment than you’ll find at race tracks and is they are usually more than happy to sign autographs (make sure you bring a pen!) and just generally have a chat. Stars confirmed for this year include Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber. While you’re there of course, you can have a wander around and get a close-up look at the cars too.

Central Sculpture

Each year since 1999, British sculptor Gerry Judah has created astonishing sculptures outside Goodwood House to celebrate each year’s featured manufacturer. Not only do these giant creations boggle the mind but they appear to defy the laws of physics too. This year’s featured manufacturer is Lotus and the sculpture looks set to be one of the most impressive yet.

Stands and Pavillions

Car makers like to set up shop at the Festival of Speed with large stands to showcase their latest and greatest road cars. With no official motorshow in Britain any more, make sure you take this opportunity to have a good look around. There is also the Moving Motorshow stand and the FoS-Tech Pavillion which displays some of the future ‘green’ cars that you will one day be driving.

If you’re going, make sure you make the most of what is an incredible weekend. If you’re not going, don’t worry. We’ll have full coverage from the event on The Driven Blog including pictures and videos, plus we’ll be live tweeting from the event (3G permitting), so follow @TheDrivenBlog or @TomGreggors to keep up to speed.

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