Cars! Jazz! Champagne! The Goodwood Festival of Speed is laps ahead of other historic motor-racing events, thanks to the dedication of Lord March’s love of motorbikes and cars which has ensured Goodwood is forever renowned for horsepower of the non-equine kind. It certainly shows no signs of slowing down for the fast set this year, given the media surrounding Day One of the highly-anticipated event, which kicks off tomorrow.
Over 600 cars and motorcycles spanning the phenomenal history of motoring and motor sport are taking part, with some of the most legendary figures from the sport as well as international celebrities attending including World F1 Champion Nico Rosberg. Highlights will include the Moving Motor Show, Forest Rally Stage, Michelin Supercar Paddock, Michelin Supercar Run, F1 paddock, Drivers’ Club, GAS Arena, Cartier Style et Luxe Concours d’Elegance, Aviation Exhibition and Bonhams Auction.
New to 2017 is something rather special.
First-person drone racing, where racers fly drones using video goggles connected through radio to the drone, is a burgeoning sport and already a phenomenon in the US – and the UK is starting to feel the force. Lord March is embracing this innovative pursuit with open arms having added 100mph drones to the mix as a new STEM education programmed is launched. The world’s first professional Drone Racing League (DRL) is set to become the Formula 1 of drone racing, and has been gaining acclaim with 30 million spectators on TV and another 45 million online last year. Only two weeks ago they secured $20m (£16m) in funding from a fresh set of investors, including new Formula 1 owner, Liberty Media. Corporate giants including insurer Allianz and broadcaster Sky have also backed them. The DRL originally used Kickstarter to launch in 2015 and attracted a $1 million investment from Stephen Ross, owner of the Miami Dolphins. The DRL, which only launched in 2015, raised $12m last year but has almost doubled.
US racing drone manufacturer, Thrust UAV, will be showcasing its Riot 250R Pro racing drones at a special new area of the FoS, with pro pilots doing demo races and allowing visitors to the Festival to have a go themselves, with assistance from the professional operators.
The addition of drone racing alongside the Festival of Speed’s traditional two and four-wheeled speed machines is part of the event’s focus this year on new and future technologies. The huge new installation called Future Lab will showcase cutting-edge technology from the worlds of automotive, aviation and beyond through flying cars, electric planes and a driverless car named Robocar, plus many other new technological concepts. Keep your eyes peeled for the PAL-V One are Solar and supersonic planes from Boom Supersonic – Boom Technology is making a supersonic airliner faster than Concorde. The plane will fly at a speed of 2.2 Mach – so has the potential to take you from New York to London in three and-a-quarter hours.
Thrust UAV and its parent company, PCS Edventures, will also launch STEMD (STEM Drone), a new education programme that it hopes to roll out to 7,000 sites worldwide, including schools across the UK.
Insignia has previewed the programme – participating in building and racing a drone from start to finish – and can confirm that it is going to be the talk of this years’ festival and future educational programmes. You will be kitted out with first-person view (FPV) goggles, which transmit a live image from an onboard camera, and you will guide the custom-designed drone through a course in the fastest time possible.
Joe Egusquiza, Director of Business Operations at PCS Edventures and Thrust UAV, said: “Drone racing is like games consoles on steroids. It gets people outdoors.
“Our education package will teach students how to build their drone from the ground up and then how to control it, how to hover, move and fly through gates. It will teach them real-world skills in a variety of STEM-focused areas. Ultimately, the kids who build these drones are the same kids who will make all the future tech in the Future Lab come to life.
“Drones are very much like a video game but they are outside and they are engaging with other people. For those who have been in the sport a few years, they will tell you that you are constantly working on them. Everything from programming, different cameras etc. It is a constant learning process because the technology itself in drones is needing to be smaller, faster, lighter. We are here to also change the perception that drones aren’t a bad thing. The conversation that has been surrounding drones in the last ten to fifteen years – we’re trying to change that conversation and educate people about what they are and what they do. They are a great platform and very sexy. Goodwood Festival of Speed is a fantastic opportunity for visitors to engage with these fantastic machines prior to the sport and trend growing in the UK.
“The majority of our pilots come from a professional racing background and they’ll tell you that the adrenaline that they get from car racing is exactly the same as drone racing. It’s the same adrenaline rush. It appeals to a wide range of people who appreciate robotics. It is the sport of the future.”
Festival of Speed takes place between June 29 – July 2. Contact your Insignia Personal Assistant for details.