IT’S the annual spectacle that turns a set of Hampshire streets into a racetrack resembling the millionaires’ playground of Monaco.

Entries are being sought for the Daily Echo-backed British Pedal Car Grand Prix, which this year is taking place in Ringwood.

Thousands are expected to line the streets to watch a crazy collection of homemade vehicles take part in the event on July 8.

Market Square and other roads in the town centre will be closed to traffic to enable the two-hour contest to take place.

The pedal cars will be on show at the Furlong Centre between 10am and 2.30pm, with the race itself starting at 3pm.

Spectators will be able to walk along the course and watch the action from various vantage points.

Race director Tony Butterworth said: “It’s tended to get a little more serious in recent years.

“We want the 2018 competition to be more of a fun event and are encouraging people to decorate their cars. In the past we’ve had vehicles that looked like ladybirds and bees - we’ve even had a banana car.”

The race switches between two venues, with New Milton hosting it one year and Ringwood the next.

This year’s main sponsor is Ringwood Brewery, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

Mr Butterworth said: “Thousands of people turn up to watch, with most people picking their favourite car and cheering it on.

“It’s always a lot of fun and generates a carnival-type atmosphere.”

The crowd comprises a mixture of locals and families on holiday in the New Forest. Competitors also come from across the UK and even Europe, with at least one of the competitions attracting entrants from Germany.

A statement on the race website says: “The whole emphasis of the event is to have fun.

“The cars vary greatly in design. Some are very light and aerodynamic competitive cars while others are built to amuse the crowds.

“Each one has a team of up to four pedallers who can change over as many times as they like.

“The event raises sponsorship money that is then donated to various charities, the emphasis being to ensure that two or three local charities are beneficiaries.

“Usually a cross-section of charities are chosen so that the money benefits both the young and not so young alike.”