It's a beautiful day in West Sussex, although from an early hour the bucolic calm has been punctuated by the sound of race-tuned internal combustion engines.

I like to think I've made my contribution to the symphony by driving our McLaren MP4-12C down to Goodwood. It's fair to say I've had worse assignments. Yesterday evening I enjoyed a gentle and traffic-free cruise down from Middlesex to an overnight halt in Midhurst. It was my first drive in our Woking-bred supercar, because unsurprisingly the key fob is always in high demand in our office.

So far I've been amazed at this car's breadth of ability. It saunters along the motorway in a long-legged cruise, is terrific fun on A-roads and, for a low-slung, wide-arched sports car, is surprisingly easy to place in town and on narrow B-roads. If you avoid the worst of the road imperfections, it even rides acceptably well.

Our car is in the dedicated supercar parking area, a new initiative for this year's Festival of Speed. If you're heading to Goodwood tomorrow, it can be found at the top of the main paddock near Gate Four, and it is well worth a visit.

Cleverly, the area is situated alongside the path that leads spectators from the car parks to the Festival site so, like an amuse-bouche before the main course, it whets the appetite of Festival-goers.

I never cease to be amazed by the passion and camaraderie among fellow car enthusiasts. No sooner had I clambered out of the MP4-12C then I was engaged in conversation with the chaps who'd driven down from the north in their Porsche 911. On the other side of our car another MP4-12C, this time in traditional McLaren orange, parked up.

I quickly learned that if there's one thing enthusiasts like more than a supercar, it's a supercar with the doors invitingly wide open. People flocked around the car, keen for a look at the cabin, and I let several people sit in the driver's seat for photos.

The rest of the car park quickly filled up with a huge variety of motors as spectators flocked through the gates. I was in the second row of the car park, but already there was a Jaguar XJ200, a brace of Nobles, a TVR Sagaris, a Lamborghini Countach, an absolutely stunning Schuppan Porsche 962 CR, a Honda NSX and a, er, MG ZT with the V8 engine from a Ford Mustang under the bonnet.