With two anniversaries to celebrate – 60 years since the track was opened and 10 years since the Revival was started – the 2008 event promises to be better than ever. Get ready for the likes of Sir Stirling Moss, Jochen Mass, Derek Bell, Richard Attwood, Frank Sytner and Jean-Marc Gounon, not to mention one of the greatest spreads of important historic racing cars ever to be gathered in one place.
What else can rival the Goodwood Revival?
How it all began
In 1938 the Secretary of State for Air, Sir Kingsley Wood, asked ‘Freddie’, Duke of Richmond and Gordon, grandfather of the current Earl of March, whether part of his estate could be used as an airfield to help with the war effort. The Earl accepted and in late 1940 a draughtsman designed runways and a perimeter road that helped move fuel tankers to and from the planes.
Once the war ended the perimeter road became one of the UK’s most famous motor racing circuits – the draughtsman of the original layout certainly had no idea that he had inadvertently designed one of the fastest and most thrilling double-apex right-handers on any race track when he penned the shape of Madgwick.
The clearing of the circuit started amid food and fuel rationing in 1947 and, amazingly, it was ready to hold its first race meeting on September 18, 1948. Even though grids were limited to 12 cars per race due to the length of the circuit, the day was a great success. Indeed, a certain Stirling Moss made his race debut and even after his mechanic held a pit board out asking him to slow down, he won the 500cc event by 25.8 seconds.
The meeting netted a sizeable £1000 and the Duke poured this into track improvements, sealing the future of a circuit which would become everyone’s favourite.
It isn’t just the racing that has helped to make the Revival so famous over the past decade; indeed the event is sometimes best remembered for its dress code. Last year more than 116,000 people attended the Revival, many dressing – some more successfully than others – in 1950s and ’60s period attire.
Other attractions include the Revival Market within the Chicane Paddock area, Bonhams’ late summer sale held on the Friday evening, the Revival Car Show which features around 1000 classic cars owned by spectators and guests, and live music from the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s.
New for this year is the Earls Court Motor Show which will include ‘Cars of the Future’. This may seem a little bizarre given the strict rules forbidding post-1966 cars at the Revival; however the show is a clever way to allow the display of some stunning ‘future’ cars of the 1960s.