Goodwood set for China

10 Jun, 2011 4:58pm Nick Gibbs

Festival of Speed organiser Lord March could take famous show East, New BMW M5, Vauxhall Astra GTC to debut at July’s West Sussex event.

The hugely successful Goodwood Festival of Special – dubbed the ‘unofficial British Motor Show’ for its ability to attract big names and the latest cars – could be heading to China.

Organiser Lord March has recently visited the country with the idea of reproducing the event. He admitted to Auto Express last week: “I went to see if there are things we could do there.” He also confirmed that representatives from the Chinese Government, plus the country’s big car manufacturers, would be travelling to West Sussex to visit this year’s event, which will be held from 30 June-3 July.

And they are in for a treat, with an impressive line-up of new metal set to take centre stage. Among them is the world debut of the production-ready BMW M5, which has so far been seen only in concept form.

A company source has revealed to Auto Express that the hotly anticipated model will be unveiled at the show, although it won’t be making the hillclimb. Visitors will also witness the world debut of the Vauxhall Astra GTC, which will be unveiled on the move. Plus, this will be the first time the public has seen the Ferrari FF in action, while the Aston Martin Zagato and Pagani Huayra will also be driving up the hill.

Lord March told Auto Express that the manufacturer exhibition space was now at full capacity. “We are absolutely chocker. We simply can’t fit in any more partners. That’s never happened before,” he explained. Last year, 176,000 people visited the four-day event.

The Moving Motor Show element has been expanded, however, with 23 manufacturers taking part on the Thursday. During the day, around 2,500 people will be able to drive cars up the hillclimb. And the main building has been redesigned to prevent a repeat of last year’s accident, when a Honda crashed into Jaguar’s stand.

Lord March revealed that he’s considering adding a second day to this element of the event. “We have thought about that, and some people are keen that we should,” he explained.

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