Formula One champion Sebastian Vettel set to star at Goodwood’s Festival of Speed

Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel is set to be one of the stars of the show for this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed.

The news broke as some of the most prestigious cars from the past five decades roared into action to launch the venue’s key motors season.

From vintage Rolls-Royces through to a highly prized Ferrari 250 GTO, which is believed to be the most expensive car in the world, the stunning array of classic racing cars were put through their paces to launch what is set to prove a memorable summer.

Lord March welcomed media from around the world to launch the Festival of Speed (FOS), which takes place from June 28-July1, followed by Revival, celebrating all things vintage in the motoring world, which is happening between September 14-16.

One of the undoubted highlights of FOS will be displays of cars belonging to the Queen, which are set to draw big audiences surrounding her diamond jubilee year. The famous Goodwood hill climb will see everything from early Grand Prix and endurance machines, to off-road and contemporary racers and racing motorcycles.

One of the key events for Revival will be a celebration of classic AC Cobra racing cars which will be in action on the weekend.

“The Revival is theatre,” said Lord March. “The circuit is literally dressed up like a huge film set, and that includes the competitors and spectators. Almost everyone is dressed to the nines in fantastic 1950s creations, and the efforts people go to are amazing.”

The launch event on Wednesday gave a strong flavour of what could be expected later this summer, as the media centre set up at Goodwood House was transformed into a wartime bunker command centre.

Gary Axon, of Goodwood, said: “I think this is going to be our best season yet as there is just so much happening. This year’s FOS will have a Young Guns theme which will see the likes of Sebastian Vettel here along with Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button again. There will also be some drivers who were young guns in their day, such as Emerson Fittipaldi

“There will be a central display marking 60 years of Lotus and there will be about 50 important cars linked to that.

“The FOS will have a real twist to it with the Cartier area which is going to feature cars that have been owned by the Queen. This will include a state limo used for a French visit, a car that was used for her corgis and another known as her luggage car that was used exclusively to take her between Sandringham station and Sandringham House.

“President Sarkozy has personally signed off the display of a Citroen SM which was used as the state visit car in 1972, so that’s going to be a really big feature.”