posted 4 years ago

Ultimate Driving at Goodwood

Goodwood partners with BMW

The ultimate in driving experiences has been launched at Goodwood in what is a fresh take on honing your driving skills both off road and on track.

Lord March has opened his vast estate and the famous Goodwood Motor Circuit to offer drivers of all ages an experience they’ll never forget through the continuation of a long partnership with BMW that sees the very best of their fleet at your disposal.

Renowned car enthusiast Lord March said, “We’ve been wanting to do a proper, dedicated experience which we can run and manage ourselves here, rather than just having other people using it or having random machinery.  With one manufacturer, BMW is very unusual in terms of scale as they have everything from Rolls-Royce to MINI and normally those brands are kept very separate, so it’s very unusual that BMW have brought all the brands together in this way and showing them as BMW Group.  The scale of machinery is exciting and they’re a natural fit for us and they were keen to do it, so hopefully it’ll be good for everyone.”

Turning up at Goodwood during the autumn and the familiar sights of the hay bales and hospitality suites dominating the hill climb course at the Festival of Speed are gone, confusing you slightly as to where you actually are until the vastly impressive Goodwood House springs into view.

With 12,000 acres of Goodwood estate, off-roading enthusiasts can put the BMW X3 and X5 models through their paces under the watchful eye of their instructors as you navigate your way over 32 miles of forest trails, tracks and even a disused quarry pit.  If you’ve never used Hill Descent Control on a car before, you will on the X models as there is plenty of inclines on the varied route.  If all that off-roading is making you thirsty then you’ll even get the quintessential English butler at your service with a tea stop amongst the deer and fauna.  With a roaring fire and cosy blankets to keep off the chill it really made for an amazing experience as we sat on carved log benches sipping tea out of a fine bone china cup: everything was the very best estate oak for the tables and benches too.

Youngsters aren’t left out from the fun with an experience to make their friends jealous, how many under 17’s can say they’ve taken the MINI Cooper out on the historic circuit?  Driving skills for any age can be improved upon in both MINIs and BMWs and there is also a wet-grip surface that’ll really test your handling, just don’t get out of the car to stand on it as it’s comparable to black ice and you will be on your backside!

The ultimate petrolhead will love the Performance package where at your disposal are the highly performant BMW M range, starting at the M3, going through with the M4, M5, M6 and the Alpina D3 Bi-Turbo.  The experienced instructors will have you up to speed on the fast track in no time, which has seen legends such as Jim Clark, Derek Bell, Stirling Moss and Juan Manuel Fangio race.  

We were spoilt though on the launch day as we could take a passenger ride with multiple World Touring Car Champion and BMW ambassador, Andy Priaulx - even his sighting lap was breath-takingly quick as he got his eye in having landed back from his USA racing activities only the day before. That feeling when alongside a pro at work in a fast car is always how easy they make it look, but while talking at the same time, hitting every apex spot on and every double de-clutch down change to the exact rev is a joy to watch. The M3 danced and slithered across the tarmac but Priaulx had it perfectly balanced, one hand opposite locking and the other banging it up the gearbox.  Pure bliss for a petrolhead to humble them and remind them that these guys are on another level.

A fleet of futuristic-looking hybrid BMW i8 supercar were also whizzing passengers around, its stance very much a modern 21st century BMW M1.

With the headquarters of Rolls-Royce a short distance away, being ferried around to each activity in their stunning Wraith was quite an experience and although the day was to include an estate tour in a helicopter, poor weather meant it didn’t happen but was made up for in feeling that little bit special for the day.

Starting from as little as £65, all experiences can be found here: