The 2009 Goodwood Revival, taking place this weekend, promises, once more, to be the highlight of the vintage racing calendar.
The event at the historic West Sussex circuit goes to great lengths to faithfully recreate the feel of the 1940s, 50s and 60s when the circuit was at its peak. These lengths extend to banning modern vehicles for the weekend – period examples will come to the aid of their racing contemporaries – employing 70 especially employed actors and encouraging visitors attend in dress matching the era – the Saturday “ladies day” of the event set to celebrate the mini skirt – and even using specially grown and hand-harvested crops for the corn bundles around the site.
On the track a wide variety of cars and bikes, reflecting the fields that would have started races from the 1930s through to 1966, the year when the circuit originally closed, being driven (or riden in the case of the motorcycles) by an equally varied list of well known racers from across the world and racing spectrum.
With such a range on offer exactly what you consider the highlight depends on where, or with whom, your interests lie.
The headline event will be the Lavant Cup – one of Goodwood's two celebrity-pro races – which celebrates just one of a clutch of anniversaries being marked at the track. It aims to recreate the spirit of the 1959 Tourist Trophy, the biggest race in all of Goodwood's active years. The race was the final and deciding event of that year's World Sportscar Championship, with Aston Martin DBR1s (who won the race, and the championship) lining up alongside Jaguars, Ferrari 250s, Porsche RSKs, Lotuses and fearsome Lister-Jaguars. Now 50 years on the same grid will return for race that will feature US racer Danny Sullivan and Tony Dron alongside birthday celebrating Stirling Moss who will be driving the OSCA he owns.
However, perhaps the most star studded grid of the weekend can be found in the other two driver race, the RAC Tourist Trophy. The traditional highlight of the revival will feature 1960s GT cars, such as the Jaguar E-type and AC Cobra. Amongst the drivers taking to the track (there really are too many to mention all of them) will be Red Bull F1 duo Christian Horner and Adrian Newey, Bobby Rahal, Le Mans winners Emanuele Pirro and Jochen Mass and Desire Wilson (the only woman to win an (British) F1 race, random knowledge fans).
The final headline race of the weekend marks another motoring milestone – the 50th birthday of the orginal Alec Issigonis designed Mini. Goodwood will mark the car's golden anniversary with a race reserved for the little car, with 30 examples (although that includes the lone, more up-market, Wolseley Hornet that will race, driven by Alec Poole, who won the 1968 BTCC in a Mini). The drivers expected to be behind the wheels include celebrity petrol head Rowan Atkinson (who will also appear in Mr. Bean guise in the character's yellow, black bonneted mini in a more sedate parade). Alongside Atkinson will line-up a cornucopia of Touring Car stars including multiple champions John Cleland and Andy Rouse together with legends from other forms of racing, Monte Carlo rally winner Rauno Aaltonen and endurance racer Derek Bell.
And the racing action does not stop there, with sportscars ranging from the Bentleys and Delahayes that would have competed on Brooklands' banked oval to the roaring sportscars of the 1960s, with the Ford GT set to star. Single seat and Grand Prix cars are also set to race with three races set to emulate the fields of races from 1930 to 1965. Joining the four-wheeled action will be a lone motorcycle race, the Barry Sheene Memorial Trophy, with motorcycle giants such as IOM TT champion Michael Rutter joining physical giant Gerhard Berger, who will (incredibly) wrap his 6ft frame around a Hannah Paton 500.
The revival will also continue Goodwood's flying connection, the track being based on the perimeter track of the WWII Westhampnett. Flying displays, including the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, an Avro Vulcan bomber and the final public flight of a 1919 Vickers Vimy bomber will take place throughout the weekend. Meanwhile, firmly on the ground a panel of judges including James May and Buzz Aldrin (himself having marked a not inconsequential milestone earlier this year) judging the “Freddie March Spirit of Aviation” concourse d'elegance competition.
The 2009 Goodwood Revival takes place over the 18th, 19th and 20th September with further information available by following the links from www.goodwood.co.uk.