by Adrian-Liviu Dorofte

The Goodwood Festival of Speed 2011 has begun!

The Goodwood Festival of Speed is a must see annual event for motorsport fans from Britain and far beyond and Vodafone McLaren Mercedes will be out in force again this year with our drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button. Well over 100,000 people are expected to join in the biggest celebration of motorsport in the world, held in the grounds of Goodwood House in West Sussex from today until July 3.

This year, we’re bringing two Formula 1 cars, the 1981 McLaren MP4/1 and the 2008 Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-23, along with the groundbreaking new McLaren MP4-12C performance car.

All three cars will be driven hard up the 1.87km-long Goodwood hillclimb course on both Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd. Jenson will do the honours on Saturday, while Lewis takes over driving duties on Sunday.

The Festival of Speed showcases both current and historic vehicles and has become hugely popular with teams, fans and drivers alike since it began in 1993.

Take a closer look at the cars McLaren is bringing along:

What is it? 1981 McLaren MP4/1
Who drove it? Andrea de Cesaris (1981), John Watson (1981-1983), Niki Lauda (1982-1983)
What makes it special? It was the first-ever Formula 1 car with a carbon fibre composite chassis, meaning it was a lot stronger, lighter and safer than the competition of the era. It was also the first CFC car to take the chequered flag in a Formula 1 race – John Watson won the 1981 British Grand Prix in it.
How successful was it? It was the car that saw McLaren return to its winning ways. It also heralded the beginning of the team’s most dominant era in the sport to date.


What is it? 2008 Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4/23
Who drove it? Lewis Hamilton, Heikki Kovalainen
What makes it special? It’s the most aerodynamically advanced Formula 1 car ever – rule changes ahead of the 2009 season banned aerodynamic devices protruding from the cars’ bodywork. Lewis Hamilton also became a world champion on the last corner of the last lap of the last race of the 2008 season in the car. It was the most nail-biting finish in history.
How successful was it? Seven poles, five wins and a World Drivers’ Championship for Lewis Hamilton, plus one pole and one win for Heikki Kovalainen.


What is it? 2011 McLaren MP4-12C
Who will drive it? Lots of lucky new owners!
What makes it special? It’s the first road car in its segment that boasts a carbon fibre chassis, which makes it extremely light and strong. It also features Brake Steer Formula 1 technology and hydraulically interconnected dampers for supremely agile handling and ride comfort.
How successful will it be? McLaren Automotive is planning to build 1,000 cars by the end of the first year of production and its race-prepared sister, the MP4-12C GT3, has also been announced.

Useful information on the Goodwood Festival of Speed 2011:

Tickets and further information for the 2011 Festival of Speed can be found on the Goodwood website or via the ticket hotline: +44 (0)1243 755055.


Twitter: @fosgoodwood

* Official photos and details courtesy of VODAFONE MCLAREN MERCEDES *

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