The Goodwood Festival of Speed is here

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Goodwood has spent months getting revved up for this year’s Festival of Speed but the big event has finally arrived.

With more than 100 top drivers, riders and famous faces confirmed, the event will surely get festival-goers’ hearts racing.

This year is the event’s 20th anniversary and the theme will be Young Guns – Born to Win.

The Earl of March said: “I still find it difficult to believe this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed will be the 20th occasion that we’ve staged the event, which has gone from strength to strength over the past two decades and exceeded my

wildest dreams.

“As in previous years, we will have an exceptional line-up of more than 100 top motor sport drivers and riders from June 29 to July 1, driving and riding some of the finest and rarest competition cars and motorcycles in the world.”

Aside from the main Festival of Speed weekend, the third annual Goodwood Moving Motor Show (MMS) will get under way today with 20 new car manufacturers revealing their latest models.

Throughout the festival weekend, current F1 drivers and leading characters in action will include current double world champion Sebastian Vettel, plus the two previous world champions, Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton. Mark Webber, Nico Rosberg, Bruno Senna, Christian Horner and Adrian Newey will also be in action up the famous 1.16-mile Goodwood hillclimb.

All the drivers and riders participating in the Festival of Speed will appear on the walkway leading into the exclusive BlackRock Drivers’ Club throughout the event, giving festival goers and fans the rare opportunity to see their heroes up close, and possibly even have a word or two with them.

Past grand prix masters present will include Alain Prost, Sir Stirling Moss, Sir Jackie Stewart, John Surtees, Nick Heidfeld, Jochen Mass, Emerson Fittipaldi, Martin Donnelly and Alex Wurz.

From the world of rallying, drivers Juho Hanninen, Thierry Neuville, Jan Kopecky and Skoda UK Motorsport’s 2011 IRC champion Andreas Mikkelsen will be on the Forest Rally Stage, along with other greats who will be re-acquainted with the cars that made them famous, including Hannu Mikkola and Russell Brookes. TV stars James Martin and Jesse James will also be in action.

DELAYS EXPECTED

Delays on the roads can be expected around Chichester tomorrow and this weekend (June 29 - July 1) because of the popularity of the Festival of Speed.

Organisers of the event have informed the Observer that the same road closures put in place in previous years for the event will continue again this year.

The closures will be: New Road from the Woodcote roundabout east to the A285 Petworth Road, Westerton Crossroads north along New Barn Hill to the Pilly Green Crossroads, Woodcote roundabout north along Kennel Hill up to the racecourse and the junction with Selhurst Park Road. This closure is effective only from 3.30pm until 7pm.

Closures will be in place from 6am until around 8pm each day and will be overseen by Sussex Police.

Goodwood said that on occasion the closures would be lifted when traffic is considered light.

Residents of the area will have special passes to allow them through the closures but people are still urged to avoid the roads if they can.