Bringing together fast cars, fashion and nostalgic fervour to the masses, the Goodwood Revival Meeting is still the world’s most sought after ticket in historic motor racing.
Those familiar with Goodwood will know that the circuit hosted some of the world’s most prestigious four wheeled events between 1948 and 1966. These included the Tourist Trophy (the oldest motorsport competition still running today); the non-championship Glover Trophy Formula One race, and the annual Nine Hours sportscar enduro.
After it closed its doors to competition – with the exception of high speed testing – Goodwood lay dormant until 1998 when Lord March resurrected motorsport in West Sussex with the inaugural Revival meeting.
Since those early seeds were sown the event has expanded year-on-year, and with so much now on offer it’s easy to get caught up in the occasion and miss the best bits. That’s why we’ve compiled our five must-see things from around the circuit that will be guaranteed highlights at the biggest ode to vintage anywhere in the world.
1 – The best places to watch
Goodwood is one of the best circuits for spectating in the UK. Its low and authentic wooden fencing means punters are given a clear view of the track and all that goes on around it. The circuit itself is situated below the raised spectator banks and lined with a reinforced tyre wall which ensures the view is not spoiled by high-rise catch fencing.
If you’re heading to Goodwood this weekend, make sure you take some time to walk around to the un-named corner before St Mary’s. Most spectators like to keep fairly local to the paddocks, because that’s where everything is happening. Venturing around the circuit, however, will reward you with a spectacular viewing spot that will make you fully understand the raw insanity of those time-honoured machines as they drift through the fastest corner on the circuit.
Another great viewing opportunity can be found at Woodcote corner, on the bank to the right hand side of the Super Shell building. This is where the cars and bikes brake heavily from their 170 mph tour down the Lavant Straight and into a fiendish double-apex right hander. Superb for overtaking, superb for the occasional mishap, and most importantly (for the amateur photographers at least) superb for the glowing brake lights seen during Friday evening’s Kinrara Trophy matinée.
2 – Tom and the car-racing dragon
No, it’s not the title of a new children’s book; it’s actually one of the star-studded driver combinations taking part in this year’s two-part St. Mary’s Trophy saloon car race. A favourite with the fans for good reason, this year’s rendition will take on a novelty look as 30 Austin A35s get the grid to themselves.
Nine time Le Mans 24 Hours winner Tom Kristensen is on the entry list, and will be looking to repeat his heroic last-to-first drive in 2015. Kristensen is sharing the car with its owner, Theo Paphitis, who most people will know from the popular BBC TV show Dragon’s Den. Paphitis made his Revival debut last year driving a 1960 Ford Anglia with Toyota LMP1 star Mike Conway, and is evidently keeping with the trend of hiring sportcar royalty for the always entertaining pro/am contest.
Other names to look out for include 13 time Formula One race winner David Coulthard, Olympic legend and European Le Mans Series class champion Chris Hoy, and Aston Martin works driver Darren Turner who currently leads the World Endurance Championship GT standings.
3 – Can-Am brutality on Saturday evening
Nothing comes close to the aural and visual assault generated by a huge field of V8 beasts from the early days of the Can-Am era. These are also the quickest cars on the Revival programme, so it’s a spectacle not to be missed.
The Goodwood Revival is renowned for its accurate portrayal of bygone motorsport categories, but stand trackside for the Whitsun Trophy and you’ll feel closer to the past than during any other race all weekend. Although it lacks the celebrity grids of the St. Mary’s Trophy and the one hour TT Celebration, the Whitsun Trophy is still a hotbed for furious competition between top historic drivers.
Competitors have even developed their own”Revival legend” status through the Whitsun Trophy – anyone who remembers the race-long fight between Jay Esterer’s Chinook-Chevrolet, Roger Wills and Chris Goodwin’s McLaren M1Bs and Gary Pearson’s Lola T70 in 2011 will attest to this. Throaty engine sounds, squirrelly car control, expert drivers and one of the fastest circuits in the country combine to make for the most breathtaking 25 minutes of the weekend.
4 – Fashion Immersion
Most people visiting the Revival enjoy the distance it creates from the outside world. The most common thing heard when walking back to the car park after Sunday’s denoument is something along the lines of “why can’t we have the Revival 365 days a year”.
Upon walking through the entrance gate, everyone becomes part of the spectacle. In a way it marks the acceptance of an unwritten stewardship towards maintaining the vintage aura that has always made Goodwood stand apart from other venues. Fashion is at the heart of this underlying expectation, which is why it has become just as important as the racing itself. Therefore it’s necessary to indulge in the effort of yourself and other people – be it a tweed jacket, a woolen waistcoat or a capacious petticoat – that gives the Revival its timeless yet fresh feel-good atmosphere.
5 – Paying tribute to ‘Black Jack’
Goodwood’s rolling tributes add another dimension to the on-track action at the Revival. Three time Formula One world champion Jack Brabham was a competitor back in 2001, and his death in 2014 at the age of 88 generated an overwhelming wave of memory within the Revival community. Two years on, one of the sport’s most talented and missed drivers is recognised with his own tribute featuring the machinery that hallmarked his stellar career.
“Black Jack” Brabham was also a prolific car builder, so it’s no surprise that his eponymous brand of Formula One machinery leads the entry list. The gem of the bunch is the Brabham BT24, which Brabham and team-mate Denny Hulme co-drove to the 1967 constructors’ title. Also on display will be an Aston Martin DB3S from Jack’s first season racing in Europe, and the Cooper-Climax T54 in which he recorded a top 10 finish on his first crack at the Indianapolis 500 in 1961.
With all this and more, the 2016 Goodwood Revival Meeting is set to be a thrilling celebration of one of motor racing’s golden eras. Fans without tickets can still be a part of the weekend’s events, with live streaming of all 16 races and more available on the official website.