All revved up for the Revival

Packed grids of famous cars, great racing and period dress are all part of the Goodwood revival experience. Paul Lawrence is your guide to this year's event...

Forget Formula one fuel strategy, technical overkill and politics. Early September is time for the Goodwood Revival Meeting, a reminder of what motorsport used to be about.

More races, a full race programme on Saturday and new ticketing arrangements are the key changes over previous years. What doesn't change, however, is the sense of occasion, the unique atmosphere and the incredible grids that make the Goodwood Revival (September 3-5) so special. To step through the gates of the Goodwood Motor Circuit is to be transported back in time.

On track are cars and drivers that made history. Each of the 14 races has a hand-picked entry comprising the best and most significant cars of the day. And where else on the planet will you find Derek Bell, Jack Brabham, Johnny Herbert, Jochen Mass, Stirling Moss, Emanuele Pirro, Patrick Tambay, Allan McNish and Jackie Oliver in action in a single weekend?

The key change for 2004 is the move to make Saturday a full racing day. Friday now becomes official practice and racing starts on Saturday morning. There will be seven races on Saturday and Sunday, with the St Mary's Trophy and Barry Sheene Memorial Trophy each split into two parts, one each day.

Of course, Goodwood would not be what it is without the star races. For many, that means the Royal Automobile Club TT Celebration. This is always a crowd-pleaser, a grid of GT cars from the early 1960s making for a stunning spectacle. A dramatic last lap handed victory to the Is° of Mark Hales and Richard Attwood in 2003 — and the American-powered onslaught is stronger than ever this year. Cobras for US heroes Bob Bondurant, John Morton and Augie Pabst will be joined by Corvette Stingrays for Patrick Tambay, Jean-Claude Andruet and Ray Bellm. Add in Willie Green (Ferrari 250 GTO), Ferrari 330 LMBs for Peter Hardman and Herbert, lightweight E-types for Mass and Pirro, plus a Cobra for Frank Sytner, and the stage is set for a magical hour.

New on the schedule is the Brooklands Trophy for the big-engined cars that daredevil racers powered around the banked track before WWII. Bentley, Alfa Romeo, Bugatti, Mercedes and Sunbeam are just some of the marques represented as Goodwood pays homage to the sport's pre-war heritage. The Alfa Tipo B Monoposto of Tony Smith is a star entry.

The St Mary's Trophy reverts to saloons from the 1950s and now runs in two 12-lap parts. It will feature a return to racing for Win Percy, in the Jaguar of Leo Voyazides specially adapted to hand controls, that will be immensely popular with the fans. Moss, Brabham, Bell, Oliverjohn Rhodes, Tiff Needell, Gerry Marshall and John Fitzpatrick are just some of his rivals. And then there will be Herbert and McNish in a pair of diminutive DKWs and 'Whizzo' Williams doing things with a Morris Minor that come perilously close to defying the laws of physics!

Single-seater racing history will be superbly represented by the Goodwood Trophy (1948-54), the Richmond and Gordon Trophies (1954-61) and the Glover Trophy (1961-65). Attwood will defend his Glover Trophy in a BRM P261, but faces Sytner's Lotus 24 and `Whizzo' in another P261.

Ford GT4Os head the Whitsun Trophy field, while the new Madgwick Cup for pre-1955 BMW-powered sports-racing cars, and the Chichester Cup Formula Junior race, are among other highlights on Saturday's programme

Above the track, the Sussex skies will host a series of spectacular air displays, while the career of Sir Jack Brabham will be celebrated with track displays on Saturday and Sunday.

There is so much to take in over the course of a Revival weekend that you've simply got to be there to fully appreciate how special this event really is.

See you there.