Ever wanted to try your hand at off-road driving or race around the circuit? Lesley Langridge finds you can do just that in the beautiful Sussex countryside.
I am a bit of a speed demon at heart so imagine my excitement when I heard Goodwood had teamed up with one of the top car manufacturers to offer the ultimate thrill.Billed as a ‘new driving experience’, Goodwood Estate has joined forces with BMW and Michelin to give a unique opportunity for drivers to get to grips with an exhilarating off-road experience like no other, on an authentic 32-mile course taking in the whole of the 12,000-acre Goodwood Estate.
In addition you are given the chance to hone your skills behind the wheel with expert tuition around the famous and historic Goodwood Motor Circuit.
“This combination of Goodwood and BMW, in partnership with Michelin, creates a fusion of skills and expertise that will provide a truly exceptional experience,” says the Earl of March.
“In fact, with the expert tuition at the motor circuit helping to improve driving skills in some fabulous cars, and a challenging off-road course which encompasses areas of the Goodwood Estate few have seen before, this will be a more hands-on activity than anything done before.”
This is a unique partnership between the BMW Group and Goodwood and there is excitement on both sides.
“Visitors will have an unforgettable day in this wonderful setting,” says Graeme Grieve, managing director of BMW Groups UK.
“From the natural beauty of this exceptional estate to the thrills of the historic motor circuit, visitors will experience the best of our world-class line-up of performance cars in BMW, MINI and the ultimate luxury car from Rolls-Royce.”
The four key components that make up this driving experience at Goodwood are Adventure, Performance, Academy and Ultimate – all of which will be available to individual customers and groups.
This pitches you head-first into nature at its rugged best as you drive the versatile BMW X5 and X3 machines across the estate.
Take in breathtaking views and stunning scenery while avoiding the pitfalls of forests, hillsides and chalk pits that await you.
The English countryside is teeming with wildlife and you will likely share your trail with roe and fallow deer.
You’ll learn to hold your nerve as your vehicle tilts at seemingly impossible angles, thanks to Goodwood’s highly experienced instructors who will reassure and teach you to master the challenging terrain by fully exploiting the off-road capabilities of BMW’s X3 and X5 models and their ultimate-grip Michelin tyres.
During your drive you will reach a secluded glade and there you’ll see something you really weren’t expecting – an English butler ready to serve you a excellent lunch in the most magical of settings around an open fire pit with candle lanterns.
This puts you behind the wheel of BMW’s exceptional M235i, M3, M4, M5 and M6 cars, plus the Alpina D3 Bi-Turbo, all equipped with Michelin’s ultra-high-grip tyres.
With this session, most drivers will want to spend as much time as possible driving at high speed – and you will, after expert one-on-one tuition from a team of highly-experienced instructors.
They will have you honing your high-speed driving skills in no time, tailoring your session to your ability and desire, ensuring you get the most out of your visit.
Equally, if you are an experienced track driver, they will help improve your technique, whether you are power sliding on the low-grip surface or lapping the circuit at high speed.
This experience gives those under the age of 17 the thrill of getting behind the wheel of a MINI Cooper for an unforgettable drive around the historic motor circuit. Meanwhile over-17s can master high-speed driving and push the limits of the machinery even further with a winter handling session on the special high-tech powerslide area.
Visitors to Goodwood will have the chance to tailor their full-day experience to suit their own needs, combining the very best elements of Performance, Adventure and Academy and creating the most exhilarating driving experience.
The beauty of the Ultimate package is it enables you to do exactly what you want to do, whether you are on your own, with your family or with your company.
With a host of driving and non-driving activities on offer you can spend the morning learning the quickest line through St Mary’s, perfecting that last-minute braking point into Lavant Corner and feel the car dance nimbly through the Goodwood Chicane.
After an excellent lunch you can then climb aboard a BMW X3 or X5 model and power up challenging inclines and crawl down steep descents, exploiting the ultimate grip of the vehicle’s Michelin tyres to the full.
Finally, it’s back into a BMW M model or Mini and out on to the special low-grip surface, where the instructors will teach you to execute beautifully controlled powerslides – a gripping finale to the ultimate driving day.
Prices range from £99 upwards. For more information or to book, call 01243 216611 or visit www.grrc.goodwood.com/section/driving-at-goodwood
January 2, 2015 Motors and Gadgets