Matthew Jones29 June 2011

2011 Goodwood Festival of Speed preview

The world’s coolest garden party’s back – FoS returns!

A Very Posh Man is about to let hundreds of awesome cars onto his front lawn this weekend. And we're rather excited.

Yep, Lord March is flinging his wrought-iron gates open for the annual Goodwood Festival of Speed, held from June 30 to July 03. Here's a little roundup of what's going on.

The first thing you'll notice is MASSIVE ART. Namely, a 28 metre-high tribute to the E-Type, which weighs 150 tonnes - that's 122 E-Types, y’know.

Read what Clarkson thought of the 2009 event here

Expect more Jagery inside - there's a special concourse display of its Le Mans racers, which includes the XJR14 and stillborn XJ13, and every notable racing E-Type's getting a run up the hill.

Talking of the hill, regular FoSers might notice the entire 1.16-mile course is covered in bricks. A million to be precise. The Festival's celebrating 100 years of the Indianapolis 500 and paying homage to the legendary paved circuit - its original dirt track was resurfaced with 3,100,000 bricks in late 1909 to improve safety.

As well the masonry, there'll be some promising Indy cars. They include Johnny Rutherford's winning 1974 McLaren M16, the ‘77 Coyote that AJ Foyt scored his record-breaking fourth win in and Lotus' gas turbine 56 racer.

The new pavement won't stop the F1 boys having a bash - Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Mark Webber, Nico Rosberg, Heikki Kovalainen, Timo Glock, Bruno Senna, Vitaly Petrov, Christian Horner and Adrian Newy have confirmed attendance both Saturday and Sunday. Best charge your autograph books.

There's plenty going on at the rally stage, too. Seat's launching its mentacular Bimotor up the course, Ken Block's going to be there in his Monster Fiesta, Hannu Mikkola's taking the knew-weakening S1 Quattro for a thrash.

It's not just hoary old classics going through the forest - the new Mini WRC's getting dragged up by factory drivers Dani Sordo and Kris Meeke, and current IRC Drivers' Champion Juho Hanninen is taking the Skoda Fabia Super 2000 for a burn along with Andreas Mikkelsen.

In fact, new cars abound - the four-wheel-drive Ferrari FF's making its public debut, as is the Alfa 4C concept, and you'll be able to see the evil-looking Citroen Survolt taking to the track for its first public racing appearance. Rather belatedly, the pioneering Semper Vivus Lohner Porsche hybrid from the 1900s is also making its first British appearance.

There's some epic stuff ion static display, too. There's Fangio's Alfa 6C 3000CM, which alongside the Alfetta 159 will celebrate the 60th anniversary of his historic 1951 Formula One World Championship; Audi is bringing its Quattro concept and e-tron Spyder; Aston's got its mentacular Zagato and One-77; and there's the ice-speed record holding Bentley rag-top.

They'll be rubbing flanks with the Fiat Abarth 695, 1923 Mephistopheles, 1993/94 BTCC Ford Mondeo, Honda CR-Z Mugen RR, Hulme CanAm supercar, Infiniti Etherea concept, Lamborghini Performante Spyder, all-new Lotus Espirit, screaming Mazda 787B, Morgan three-wheeler, Peugeot EX1 electric concept, Renault Captur and Skoda's legendary 1100 OHC "red racer".

Nissan's also setting a speed record up the hill in its all-electric Leaf - it'll be exploiting its 90mph top reverse speed - and the Juke's gunning for a two-wheel run up the course on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. There's also the classic-stuffed Cartier Style et Luxe concours and 50-car Supercar Run track session, which includes the FF, Aventador LP700-4, Jaguar XKR-SPagani Huayra, Marussia B1 and B2, BAC Mono and Hennessey Venom GT.

If you're going and fancy watching the action from more elevated climes, Honda's installed a 24-pod ferris wheel that'll be running from 9am-6pm on all four days.

Not going? DON'T PANIC. TopGear.com is, and we'll be bringing you all manor of exclusive pics and video. If you want to see anything specific, leave a comment in the handy box below. 

Any TopGear.commers heading to the festival? If not, what's your excuse?

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