The Goodwood Revival came to life in the autumn of 1998 – a dream come true for the Earl of March, whose grandfather – the ninth Duke of Richmond – had first opened the motor circuit at Goodwood in 1948.
The aim of the event is to relive the glory days of Goodwood Motor Circuit which, along with Silverstone, was Britain’s leading racing venue during its active years between 1948 and 1966. During this time it hosted contemporary racing of all kinds, including Formula One, the famous Goodwood Nine Hours race and the celebrated Tourist Trophy sports car race.
Now, for three days each September, the circuit echoes to the spine-tingling bark of golden-age Grand Prix cars from the Fifties and Sixties, thundering sports and GT cars, as well as historic saloon cars and little-seen Formula Juniors. Many of these important historic racing cars are driven by famous faces from motor sport past and present. Sir Stirling Moss, John Surtees, Sir Jack Brabham, Phil Hill, Derek Bell, David Coulthard, Damon Hill, Johnny Herbert, Wayne Gardner, Giacomo Agostini and the late, great Barry Sheene have all taken part at the Revival.
But the Goodwood Revival is far more than a series of races for historic cars: it is a magical step back in time and a chance for visitors to revel in the romance of motor racing as it used to be. The lovingly restored circuit is unchanged from its heyday, and great lengths are taken to ensure that everything on the site is exactly as it was.
This means that no modern vehicles are allowed within the circuit perimeter throughout the weekend. Period vehicles provide all essential services and competitor support. The Revival’s Period Transport Corps supplies a unique taxi service for competitors and VIPs. In 2004 around 230 pre-1966 vehicles serviced the site, from fleets of WW2 Jeeps and 1950s lorries to an array of classic passenger cars and Rolls-Royce limousines. A fleet of classic tractors tow passenger-carrying trailers around the perimeter road, taking visitors to the prime viewing locations all around the circuit. It’s a big operation.
It is not just the circuit and the vehicles that have an authentic period look. All circuit staff dress in appropriate period clothing from the 1940s and 1950s, and each year more spectators and competitors get into the effervescent Goodwood spirit, by dressing the part, considering it all part of the fun. In the paddock you may even encounter all kinds of period characters, from ‘spivs’ selling nylons and watches from beneath their coats, to Mods and Rockers and even the Dad’s Army Home Guard. Bands play authentic 1950s music, the food outlets sell fish and chips wrapped in 1950s newspaper, even the corn stooks on the circuit infield are made from a specially-grown crop with extra-long stalks for hand cutting rather than combine harvesting. Goodwood circuit is also unique for its planted borders, with around 4,000 hydrangeas bringing beautiful florid colour to the track. There are even flowers on the top of the chicane, just as there always used to be.
“The Revival is theatre,” says Lord March. “The circuit is literally dressed up like a huge film set, and that includes the competitors and spectators. At the first event some people were unsure about dressing up in period costume. Now almost everyone is dressed to the nines in fantastic 1950s creations. The efforts people go to are amazing, but equally it’s quite easy to look the part in just smart classical clothing – it depends how far you want to go.”
Aside from the intoxicating entertainment on the track, there is breathtaking action in the skies above this former Battle of Britain airfield as Spitfires, Hurricanes and Mustangs perform elaborate swoops and dives over the circuit. There are also flying demonstrations from a host of other period aircraft, making the Revival almost as revered for its glorious air shows as its thrilling motor racing.
The Goodwood Revival is the only event that places motor racing into a carefully choreographed historical backdrop. The result is a truly unforgettable experience, and an atmosphere unlike any other sporting event, which the Daily Telegraph described as ‘a weekend in Heaven’.
Entry into the event will again be by advance ticket only, so visitors will need to ensure that they book in plenty of time so as to avoid any last minute disappointment. The change to advance ticket only policy has been implemented in order to preserve the Revival’s unique relaxed atmosphere following a period of sustained growth. The aim is, purely and simply, to ensure that all visitors enjoy excellent views of the action and the best possible experience at the event.
To order advance tickets, please contact the Ticket Hotline by telephone on +44 1243 755055, fax on +44 1243 755058 or book online.