Goodwood Festival of Speed 2011

Today was my first ever visit to the Goodwood Festival of Speed, and honestly I don’t think I’ll ever be able to top it!

I arrived bright an early just after 7am, got parked up, and headed in to the event. There was a huge amount there but I’m going to focus on the Lotus presence for obvious reasons.

I didn’t get to spend a huge amount of time on the Group Lotus stand, but personally I thought it all looked very smart, tidy and with a nice variety of road and race cars.

There was also plenty Lotus cars in the main paddock….

The real reason I was there was last week I won the Go Motorsport competition to spend the day with the Mercedes GP Petronas team as a fully uniformed ‘member of the team’!

The car on display was actually the Brawn GP car from 2009 repainted in 2011 colours. Over the course of the day I got a full walk around the car by Button’s chief mechanic from 2009, including talking through how all the different steering wheel controls worked and their effects.

I also got the chance to try the car out for size….

Fire it up….

And join the team as they took the car down to the staging area, the start line, ride up the hill in the teams Sprinter van and as they prepared it to come back down the hill….

I was actually surprised how (relatively) easy it was for them to keep the car ready to run – the water was heated up with an external heater overnight and then pumped in, and the oil was simply heated by pumping it round while a Bosch heatgun was mounted to the sidepod.

After that they just monitored the temperatures with the steering wheel in Menu 1 (water on the top left, oil top right) and once they dropped to a certain level (just under 80c) they’d simply fire the engine back up for a minute or two – it was actually far less intricate than I expected, although I guess the initial heating of it which happened before I arrived with the team is a little more involved.

Okay it’s not a case of blip the alarm and turn the key in the ignition, but its not as sophisticated a process as I had thought going in to the day.

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