Try driving a car off a show stand at, say, the Geneva Motor Show, and you’ll be swiftly pursued by an angry Swiss policeman. Try it at Goodwood and you’ll be directed towards the start line and told to get a move on.
This is what the first day of the Festival of Speed is all about. Since the actual British Motor Show was dropped a few years back, Goodwood has been the place to see shiny new cars in the UK. So the Festival is now stretched over four days, with today – the first day – devoted to the Moving Motorshow.
It’s a chance for people to actually have a go in new cars, rather than stare at them on show stands while bored girls in dresses stand in the way. At the bottom of the hill is a big marquee with a road through the middle and exhibition stands either side, which serve as bus stops as drivers jump in and out. Early risers found themselves aboard BMW M4s, Aston Rapides and Peugeot RCZ-Rs, among other things. Those who arrived late were admonished with a drive of the Dacia Sandero Stepway.
Essentially it’s a warm-up act for the main show, which gets going tomorrow when they fire up the noisy stuff. So while people squabbled over keys, we had a nose around the quieter corners of the site. Check out our gallery for a taster of what to expect over the next few days, including the customary epic sculpture, which this year reaches right over the house like a massive rainbow. Lovely.
Oh, and if you’re heading down, look out for the bronze trophy shaped like Clarkson’s face, recently awarded by Top Gear magazine to a certain manufacturer from Woking. Let us know if you spot it…