There are several words that people will often use when asked to describe the Goodwood Revival. Magical. Charming. Nostalgic. Memorable. Clichés they may be, but the fact is that you’d be hard pressed to find another motorsport event in the world that evokes the same level of intrigue and admiration as Goodwood.
This weekend the rolling South Downs will once again provide the backdrop to historic racing’s equivalent of the World’s Fair. Drivers, teams and even spectators travel from across the globe to sample one weekend of pure classic indulgence, from the on-track action to all the side-shows that give the event its sterling reputation.
The format remains largely unchanged from the early days of the Goodwood Revival in the late 1990s. A mixed card of racing to celebrate every aspect of the circuit’s short but successful 20 year tenure will take centre stage, accompanied by the familiar whir of wartime air displays, and, for the last time, the elegant yet imposing flight of the Vulcan in its final year of operation.
Despite going through a phase of exponential growth in popularity in the last few years, Goodwood retains its original purpose of offering an unrivaled celebration of all things vintage. This makes for an irresistible formula that enables Lord March’s event to succeed year after year.
This year’s race programme once again focuses on the celebrity two-driver races that attract big names from all corners of the motorsport world. The RAC TT Celebration is still considered to be the blue riband event, with the traditional Ferrari-Cobra-Jaguar mix complemented by names like Tom Kristensen, Giedo van der Garde, Derek Bell, Arie Luyendyk and Matt Neal. Former F1 driver van der Garde will be keen to defend his 2014 race victory with co-driver David Hart – the pair once again teaming up in Hart’s gorgeous 1963 AC Cobra.
The St. Mary’s Trophy, for 1960-1966 touring cars, will offer a different kind of spectacle, pitting brutal Ford Galaxies against the nimbler but equally zealous Mini Coopers and Ford Cortinas in a mismatch so great that the event has to go on pause as attendees look on in awe and bewilderment. Expect to see recently crowned European Le Mans Series LMP3 champion Chris Hoy throw some shapes in a 1965 Mini Cooper S, alongside a party of current and former BTCC stars that will undoubtedly bring their spectacular door-to-door racing styles to the 2.4 mile circuit.
Also look out for the 1960 Ford Anglia 105E that will be driven in the race for the first time by Dragons’ Den star and vintage racing enthusiast Theo Paphitis. Paphitis will be in good company for the two part pro-am race, as current Toyota LMP1 driver Mike Conway will take the reins of the same car on Saturday afternoon.
The two-wheeled contingent is also well represented this weekend, in the form of the ever-popular Barry Sheene Memorial Trophy. The two part, two rider aggregate race will feature the finest motorcycle machinery from classic marques like Norton, MV Augusta, BMW, Matchless and AJS, ridden by the finest (and maddest) riders in the world including former MotoGP regular Jeremy McWilliams and 1996 World Superbike Champion Troy Corser.
Other races include the Glover Trophy for 1961-1965 1.5 litre Formula 1 cars, the Whitsun Trophy for big-banger Can-Am sports prototypes and the Brooklands Trophy for pre-war endurance racers in the spirit of the famous Surrey oval.
There is also a fine selection of special parades this year to mark a number of significant anniversaries in both motoring and aviation history. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, and this weekend the Goodwood Revival will lead the celebrations with a stunning display of 24 original Spitfires from the Second World War, as well as a Battle of Britain Day flypast that will embark from the aerodrome a few days after the event.
Bruce McLaren, who tragically lost his life at the circuit in 1970, will also be honoured with an on-track parade of machines from his short but eclectic career, including the Cooper T51 that he drove to his maiden Formula 1 World Championship race win and the Ford GT40 that he and Chris Amon shared to victory at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans. Land Rover’s Defender series will also receive commemoration, with over 50 pre-1966 vehicles set to take part.
Elsewhere spectators will be able to find collections of 1950s hot rods (some of which will open the on-track activity on each of the three days) and period bicycles that competed in the toughest race of all, the Tour de France.
The Earl’s Court Motor Show, although a fairly recent addition, is already a highlight of the meeting. Featuring a timeline of immaculately prepared classic vehicles and even cars from the ‘future’, Goodwood’s nod to the famous London convention is not to be missed. This year the spotlight is cast on Ferrari, with 250 GTOs set to share the carpet with LaFerraris and Enzos in an alluring display.
But these are mere accessories to the overall Goodwood Revival experience. Everything on site is either from, or based around, society in the circuit’s golden age, which means that flat-caps and turtlenecks are considered the norm and big band music is the accompanying soundtrack.
Tie in all the details like the recalcitrant workmen who usually disrupt the racing at least once a day, and the mods n’ rockers who will occasionally partake in a bout of lighthearted ‘fisticuffs’ in plain view of the mock rozzers, and you’re left with an event that creates a wonderful microcosm of the era.
In fact, it’s so easy to become immersed in the whole experience that many people would prefer to stay in ‘Goodwood-land’ than in reality. It’s a compelling formula that takes away the travails of everyday life and replaces them with everything there is to feel good about in the 1950s and 1960s. There are plenty of words that can be used to describe the Goodwood Revival, but perhaps the most fitting elucidation comes from the late Le Mans winner and circuit hero Roy Salvadori:
“Give me Goodwood on a summer’s day, and you can keep the rest.”
Goodwood Revival Meeting Race Guide
Friday, September 11
- Freddie March Memorial Trophy – For cars in the spirit of the Goodwood 9 Hours 1952-1955 (Expect: Racing into dusk)
- Plus practice/qualifying sessions for all of the weekend’s other races
Saturday, September 12
- Goodwood Trophy – For Grand Prix and Voiturette cars 1930-1950 (Expect: ERA heaven!)
- Fordwater Trophy – For production sports and GT cars 1948-1954 (Expect: Well known marques like Jag and Lotus against the more obscure Jowett and Buckler)
- Barry Shene Memorial Trophy Pt.1 – For motorcycles in the spirit of the Goodwood Saturday Meeting 1962-1966 (Expect: Elbow to elbow racing)
- St. Mary’s Trophy Pt. 1 – For saloon cars that raced between 1960-1966 (Expect: More BTCC race winners than the current BTCC grid)
- Lavant Cup – For drum-braked Ferrari sportscars (Expect: Many shades of red)
- Brooklands Trophy – For cars in the spirit of the Brooklands endurance races prior to 1939 (Expect: Blower Bentleys versus Talbot AV105s)
- Whitsun Trophy – For sports prototypes up to 1966 (Expect: The fastest and loudest cars of the weekend)
Sunday, September 13
- Earl of March Trophy – For ‘500 Club’ Formula 3 cars (Expect: Cars that launched the career of many an F1 great)
- Richmond and Gordon Trophies – For 1954-1960 Formula 1 cars (Expect: The classic front/rear engine mix)
- St. Mary’s Trophy Pt. 2 – For saloon cars that raced between 1960-1966 (Expect: Nick Swift going sideways)
- RAC TT Celebration – For closed cockpit GT cars that raced in the TT races between 1960-1964 (Expect: Star drivers competing in over a billion pounds’ worth of machinery)
- Glover Trophy – For 1.5 litre Formula 1 cars 1961-1965 (Expect: Lotus-Brabham-Cooper….plus a few oddballs)
- Sussex Trophy – For World Championship sportscars 1955-1960 (Expect: Knobblys jostling with Birdcages for the top spot)