Roborace to attempt first-ever autonomous hillclimb at Goodwood Festival of Speed 2018

Festival of Speed | Press Article 16/04/24

  • Roborace will take on famous 1.16-mile track guided only by automated computer systems and sensors
  • First ever autonomous race car hillclimb comes in Goodwood’s 25th anniversary year
  • Guests can experience Robocar attempt in virtual reality at FOS Future La
  • FOS Future Lab open throughout Festival of Speed, from 12 15 July 2018, 7am – 7pm each day

Roborace will be attempting the first-ever fully autonomous race car hillclimb at Goodwood Festival of Speed 2018, presented by Mastercard.

The technology firm’s autonomous race car, Robocar, will take on the famous 1.16-mile track guided only by automated systems. The vehicle will be tasked with navigating hay bales, flint walls and forests on the Goodwood estate, using a variety of sensors that give it 360-degree machine vision around the car.

GPS, which is commonly used in self-driving technology, is not an option over significant portions of the course due to tree cover that disrupts satellite signals.

The announcement comes after Robocar took centre stage in the FOS Future Lab at last year’s Festival of Speed, making it the natural challenger to try and become the first autonomous racing vehicle to complete the iconic run.

“We are excited that the Duke has invited us to take up this challenge and can’t wait to see the Robocar attempting to make history and become the first ever autonomous race car up the hill,” said Lucas di Grassi, CEO of Roborace.

In addition to the historic run, visitors to the Festival of Speed will also be able to enjoy the hillclimb from the Robocar’s point of view in a custom, fully immersive VR experience in the Roborace booth, located inside Future Lab.

This year’s FOS Future Lab will focus on space exploration, autonomous transport, robotics and personal flight. Visitors will be able to view displays and demonstrations, interact with some of the technology for themselves and learn more about these exciting innovations.

The autonomous run presents a milestone for the Goodwood event as the Festival of Speed celebrates its 25th anniversary, having been staged every summer since 1993. The Festival is renowned for attracting the rarest and most exciting road and race cars and bikes ever created.

"I can't think of a more exciting way to celebrate our Silver Jubilee than to have Roborace attempt the first autonomous race car run up the hill," said Charles Gordon-Lennox, the Duke of Richmond and Founder of the Festival of Speed. "Roborace plays an important role in the future of mobility, challenging public perceptions and providing a platform to advance new technologies. This makes them the perfect partner to undertake this significant feat.”

Robocar, the world’s first autonomous race car, was designed by Daniel Simon, the automotive futurist known for his work in Hollywood films such as Oblivion and Tron.

The vehicle weighs 1,350 kg and is powered by four 135kW electric motors used to power each wheel, for a combined 500-plus hp. A Nvidia Drive PX 2 computer processes Robocar’s data, which includes inputs from lidar, radar, GPS, ultrasonic, and camera sensors necessary for the autonomous system.  

“It is an enormous challenge, but Roborace exists to push the boundaries and advance self-driving technology, and you can’t achieve that by staying in your comfort zone,” said Roborace Founder Denis Sverdlov.

FOS Future Lab will be open to the public throughout the Goodwood Festival of Speed, which runs from the 12 – 15 July 2018, 7am – 7pm each day.

Hospitality packages are available throughout the weekend. To buy tickets or enquire about hospitality visit or call the Goodwood Ticket Office on 01243 755 055.



Staged every summer since 1993, the Goodwood Festival of Speed presented by MasterCard is the world’s largest automotive garden party; set against the spectacular backdrop of Goodwood House in West Sussex, UK. Over 600 cars and motorcycles spanning the phenomenal history of motoring and motor sport take part with some of the most legendary figures from the sport as well as international celebrities regularly attending. Highlights will include the Moving Motor Show, Forest Rally Stage, Michelin Supercar Paddock, Michelin Supercar Run, F1 paddock, Drivers’ Club, GAS Arena, Cartier Style et Luxe Concours d’Elegance, Aviation Exhibition and Bonhams Auction.

For all Media enquiries, please contact Laura Gilbert-Burke or Abbie Hansford at the Goodwood Motor Sport Press Office:

Telephone: +44 (0)1243 755000

E-mail: or

About Mastercard

Mastercard (NYSE: MA),,is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. Mastercard’s products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @MastercardUKBiz, join the discussion on the Cashless Pioneers Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the Engagement Bureau.

Or Emma Fahy at the Mastercard Press Office:


Telephone: +44 (0)7580 790 297

Goodwood Motor Sport on social media: