The 2007 Goodwood Festival of Speed officially kicked off on Thursday evening, when the Earl of March held a gala VIP ball at his home, Goodwood House, to raise money for the Richard Burns Foundation, and to unveil the grand display for this year's event. After a black tie dinner, guests were ushered out to the darkened yard below the massive display. A little rain couldn't dampen the enthusiasm, but thankfully the speeches were kept brief. Suddenly the lights went on and a set of huge pilings were illuminated, cradling 5 Toyota Motorsports vehicles suspended on high by steel cables. Below the display sat another half dozen famous Toyota race cars, each with a story to tell. This year represents a significant anniversary for Toyota and Toyota Motorsports.

Seventy years of cars and fifty years of racing is not insignificant, and so the display was appropriate as much as it was spectacular. After the rain started to worsen, a unique Toyota personal transport vehicle was shown that was part Segway and part Disco Fever. Watching this change configurations on the fly was fascinating. The night was a great way to kick off this year's event. Special thanks to our friend, Jeremy Morrison, of, who helped arrange our travel and admission for this wonderful event. Lots of galleries will be on the way over the next few days if the weather doesn't keep our internet connection down.

All photos © 2007 Frank Filipponio / Weblogs, Inc.

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