Ultimate driving at Goodwood
THE BACKGROUND: The Goodwood Estate in West Sussex is best known for its motor racing circuit and downland racecourse, but its 12,000 acres are also home to historic Goodwood House, the Goodwood Hotel, an aerodrome, golf course, kennels, farm and sculpture park. Ultimate Driving at Goodwood, powered by BMW, is the Estate’s latest corporate hospitality offering.
THE ARRIVAL: My rendezvous point for the day’s experience was Goodwood House, outside of which was neatly parked a fleet of brand new BMWs. Coffee and pastries were served while participants were registered and briefed.
THE EXPERIENC: There are numerous elements that can be arranged as part of the Ultimate Driving experience but my first stop was the motor circuit. Heavy rain meant we were advised to start off by getting behind the wheel of a Mini Cooper and tip-toeing round the track under the guidance of one of the semi-professional racers turned instructors. After getting a feel for it I was soon 'racing' a BMW M5 and an i8 hybrid round the historic track at what felt like the limit… That notion was quickly scuppered after jumping in the passenger seat of an Alpina D3 and really being shown how to drive on the edge by one of the pros. A quick spin on the skid pan followed, before being whisked into a light helicopter for a brief aerial tour of the estate thanks to a break in the cloud. The various groups reconvened for lunch and switched activities for the afternoon, which saw mine jumping into BMW X5s and tackling 32 miles of offroad trails around the estate.
THE VERDICT: A thoroughly enjoyable experience that’s bound to impress clients, be they a diehard petrolhead or more of a Sunday driver. The organisation was slick – and it needed to be because of the large number of participants and multiple activities – and the instructors superb. Food and drink was never in short supply and elements like a stop in the woods for hot drinks, cake and cheeses by a campfire were a nice touch.
THE DETAILS: Ultimate Driving experiences can be tailormade to suit your needs and budget. Sample prices include £275pp for a half-day off-road adventure; £350pp for four hours M-Series performance driving on the circuit; and £99pp for powersliding classes on the low-grip area. Tel 01243 216611; see www.goodwood.com
Reviewed by Andy Hoskins (2014)