Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Summer festival where only speed matters (part 1)

Re-blog from my post on Toyota Europe's Corporate Blog

I’m back from the 2011 Goodwood Festival of Speed (FoS) in the UK. After such an amazing weekend with such great weather, it might not seem like such a wonderful thing, but there is – I’m connected to the world again! The only downside of the weekend was the lack of a decent internet connection, either 3G or Wi-Fi, hence my lack of updates. But here’s what we had going on at the FoS!

With such great weather, I was feeling quite relaxed as I arrived on the little Chichester Station platform from London. This feeling vanished rather quickly the moment I set foot into the immense grounds at Lord March’s Goodwood Estate. I was welcomed by a torrent of sound, the sound of a Red Arrows flyby. What a welcome! Well… I prefer to think it was a personal welcome anyway! The excitement and adrenaline just kept on going from there.

First stop was the Toyota stand to check out our displays and trying to orientate myself at the venue. Something red, shining and beautiful distracted, however – an immaculate Toyota 2000GT. I was awestruck at one of my favourite cars and found it difficult to believe that it’s forty-something already!

Elsewhere on the stand, our GAZOO Racing concepts were also there – the GRMN Sport Hybrid Concept II and iQ Racing Concept, next to the all-new and up and coming Toyota Yaris Concept for those who didn’t manage to catch it at the Geneva Motoshow earlier this year. Below the stand, our Auris Hybrid, iQ, Prius and Prius Plug-in Hybrids all sat, shining happily under the clear blue skies and bright sunshine.

No time to waste as I was rushed to the Driver’s Club to sign up as a passenger for the hillclimb. I wasn’t quite sure what this was about because everything happened quite quickly and felt a bit like a blur. The organisers added yet another wristband to my already quite congested wrists. Next stop: the Supercar Paddock.

I was told on the way that I was going to be a passenger to a journalist driver from GTSpirit in the Lexus LFA Nürburgring Package for the hillclimb. I couldn’t believe my ears. I was about to get into one of the newest additions to my dream car garage and go up the famous Goodwood hill – something which resided only in my most extravagent dreams before this.

I was strapped in to the three-point harness in that brilliant orange work of art and we were ready for the off. The paddock roared with sounds of some of the most expensive road-going machines in the market today. The noise of the other cars dimmed quite a bit as my driver pushed the engine start button on our car and the V10 roared! I’m sitting in a 562 hp Lexus supercar, powered by a 4.8-litre V10, and there will only ever be 500 LFA’s in the world.

The marshals waved us on and we were off. It was a modest foresty drive down to the start line. Excitement kept building, and my driver did rev it a bit on the way there, but we kept it safe. The start line approached after a rather long wait before the demo runs finally began. I’ll leave part one here, but here’s my handheld cam video of the hillclimb up Goodwood.

To be continued...

Goodwood Hillclimb

Lexus LFA Engine start-up sequence (digital dials)

Check out the Toyota Europe Corporate Blog

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