The annual Goodwood Festival of Speed will this year feature a large representation from the world of IndyCar, including appearances from current IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti and this year's Indianapolis 500 winner, Dan Wheldon.

The annual Festival of Speed is described as the "largest motoring garden party in the world" and always brings together an unrivalled mix of cars, stars and motor sport 'royalty' from across the years and motor sports formulas.

It's held in the grounds of Goodwood House, the ancestral home of the Earl of March who personally organises and oversees the event. Lord March was also in Indianapolis in May to see the centennial Indianapolis 500, and is keen to see the race's history celebrated at this year's Festival - with the starting line for the famous Goodwood hill-climb even being remodelled as a replica of Indianapolis famous "yard of bricks" for this year's event.

Franchitti will be driving a Lotus 38 originally driven by Dario's racing hero and fellow Scot Jim Clark when he was the runner-up in the Indy 500 in 1966, coming second to Graham Hill.

"We're doing the Festival circuit, which is a demonstration up the hill," said Franchitti, who will also drive a more modern IndyCar in the form of the Ganassi car that won the Indy 500 in 2008 in the hands of his current team mate Scott Dixon. The Kiwi driver will also be at Goodwood, and will get to drive his old car on a different day.

As well as Franchitti, Dixon and Wheldon, another dozen Indianapolis 500 winners will be appearing at Goodwood and driving open-wheel racing cars of various vintages for the crowd: Parnelli Jones, Bobby Unser, Johnny Rutherford, Arie Luyendyk, Emerson Fittipaldi, Al Unser Jr., Eddie Cheever Jr., Kenny Brack, Helio Castroneves, Gil de Ferran, Danny Sullivan and Bobby Rahal are all lined up to visit.

Bobby Unser is no stranger to the event and is a regular attendee. "The Goodwood Festival of Speed is something I look forward to each and every year," the three-time Indy 500 winner said. "Lord March sure knows how to put on a show and with the Indy 500 being showcased this year this is something I didn't want to miss."

Among the cars that will be on display or being driven is the historic 1911 Marmon Wasp that won the very first Indianapolis 500 in the hands of Ray Harroun.

Other cars being loaned by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum, Penske Racing, Parnelli Jones and many other private motor car collectors include Bobby Rahal's winning car from 1986, Al Unser's winning car from 1970, Johnny Rutherford's 1974 and 1980 race-winning cars, and Bobby Unser's race-winning car from 1981.

"Driving my 1981 winning car up the hill will be really, really fun and be super special for me and all the fans that come out to this amazing event," said Unser.

The Festival of Speed has been running since 1993, although the very first motorsport event held there was as long ago as 1936 when the then-Earl of March - automotive designer, engineer, racing driver and Brooklands winner Freddie March - held a private competition for the Lancia Car Club up a hill-climb path.

The first modern public event attracted 25,000 visitors and was based around that same hill-climb, but added far more events and attractions to the mix. This year the all-advance ticket capacity is a sell-out 150,000 and features a challenging loose-surface Forest Rally Stage and the high-speed Sunday Times Supercar Run.

It's an event that is famed for allowing motorsports fans to mix with racing professionals and rub shoulders with past and current driving greats, as everyone present is first and foremost simply a motorsports lover.

"It's a special place and I'm really looking forward to it - I'm looking forward to going as a fan," emphasised Dario Franchitti, who will be joined at the Festival by his brother, ALMS driver Marino. "I'm going to take my camera and walk amongst all the cars and meet all the great drivers - rally drivers and motorbike riders - that I admire."

Other drivers who will be attending the event include current F1 stars Jenson Button, Karun Chandhok, Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Bruno Senna. Red Bull Racing's famed car designer Adrian Newey will also be at Goodwood and will be driving both a McLaren MP4-19 F1 car and Bobby Rahal's 1986 Indy 500-winning March 86C while team boss Christian Horner will drive a March 711 and Infiniti M35h up the hill-climb.

Past F1 stars include Rene Arnoux, Martin Brundle, Mark Blundell, Martin Donnelly, Marc Gene, Johnny Herbert, Damon Hill, Nigel Mansell, Stirling Moss and John Surtees. GP2 is represented by Sam Bird, Oliver Turvey and Alvaro Parente, BTCC by Tom Chilton, Rob Collard, Jason Plato, Anthony Reid and Gordon Sneddon, and WRC by Ken Block, Kris Meeke and Dani Sordo - among many others from a wide variety of different car and bike racing categories.

The Goodwood Festival of Speed runs from Friday to Sunday.