One of the most famous airships in the world - the iconic Goodyear Blimp - will take flight at the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) round at the Brands Hatch Indy circuit later this month.
The Blimp will fly over Brands Hatch race track on 26 and 27 June in order to film the third round of the BTCC, before returning to the sky over London on 29 and 30 June for passenger rides. It will be the first time in over a decade that the Zeppelin has inhabited UK skies.
With its distinctive blue and yellow livery, the Goodyear Blimp is one of the world’s most familiar Zeppelins. Since its first flight under the name Pilgrim in 1925, various forms of the Blimp have been used for aerial filming, commercial rides and advertising.
Last year, it was even the subject of our very own Autocar Christmas road test. However, today it is more commonly seen flying in the US at sporting events such as Nascar races, NBA games and PGA golf competitions.
Its appearance at this month’s BTCC cements Goodyear’s close ties to the series, which since 2019 has placed Goodyear as the sole tyre supplier for BTCC cars. It had held title sponsorship rights to the championship since 2005.
The Blimp or, more precisely, Zeppelin LZ N07-101, is a hybrid, or semi-rigid, airship, which has a framework inside it but which doesn’t restrain the balloon. It takes its shape from the pressure of the gas alone, which in the case of the Goodyear Blimp is around 7500 cubic metres of helium.
Offset against this, the Zeppelin weighs around 7500kg. This makes the airship almost lighter than air. It is powered by three 200bhp engines, for a total of 600bhp, and can travel at a top speed of 78mph for over 600 miles.
The airship is over 75m long and almost 18m tall. Its last UK flight was during a tour of the nation in 2011.
General manager for Goodyear UK Pravesh Amtha said: “[The Goodyear Blimp’s] return to the UK has been long awaited and we’re incredibly excited, both to see it soaring over the BTCC and providing once-in-a-lifetime experiences for the lucky passengers who will fly over London.”