The right stuff

The annual Revival is justifiably promoted as a magical step back in time. In case you’ve never been, here’s why

By Robert Stride

The important thing about the Goodwood Revival is to get the point, and understand what Lord March is trying to do with this extraordinary event. It is not a historic motor racing meeting, it is an eclectic collection of happenings designed to entertain, to bring a bit of fun into our lives. 

Yes, there is racing and there are historic cars, but there aren’t any anoraks. Yes, the racing is serious, but the man who owns the circuit – and much of the surrounding countryside – takes exception to those who don’t play the game. The name of this game is to entertain the people who pay to watch and to take us all back to a time when – you’ve heard this before – men were men and racing was racing.

Nowhere else can you enjoy such a theatrical, passionate and perfect presentation of how it used to be. When the cars are racing, the Spitfires are in the air and the sun shines on all those pretty frocks, the atmosphere is intoxicating. 

A host of motorsport greats will be at this year’s Revival, and some will be racing. There will be a tribute to Roy Salvadori, a man never given the recognition he deserves and who came up with the immortal line: “Give me Goodwood on a summer’s day and you can forget the rest of the world” – a sentiment still used in the event publicity. And this despite the fact that Roy suffered burns in the famous Goodwood pitlane fire of 1959 when he helped Aston Martin take the sports car world championship that season. Roy will be there, as will Sir Jack Brabham, Sir Jackie Stewart, Sir Stirling Moss (who will race a Lotus Cortina in the St Mary’s Trophy), Tony Brooks, Jochen Mass and Gerhard Berger.

On track, picture great names from rallying, grand prix racing, sports and touring cars – former BMC works driver Rauno Aaltonen in a Mini Cooper S, former BRM grand prix racer Richard Attwood in a BRM P261, as well as appearances from Derek Bell, Henri Pescarolo, Brian Redman, Johnny Herbert, Jackie Oliver, Rupert Keegan, Vitantonio Liuzzi, Jean-Marc Gounon, Marc Surer, Stéphane Sarrazin, Desiré Wilson, David Piper, Sir John Whitmore, Andy Rouse, Anthony Reid, David Leslie and many more, including entertainers/amateur racers like Rowan Atkinson and Nick Mason. Latest news from the corridors of Goodwood House is that Jacky Ickx will demonstrate a DFV-engined F1 car and that Superbike star Troy Corser has been tempted to take the fight to regular winner Wayne Gardner in the bike races.

Upwards of 20 DFV-powered cars will take to the track as the Revival celebrates 40 years of the Cosworth engine which arrived in grand prix racing only a few months after Goodwood was closed for racing in 1966. Entries include the Lotus 49, for which the DFV was originally conceived.

The Fordwater Trophy has a new look, now a race for production-based sports and GT cars such as the Ferrari 500 TRC, Maserati 200S and Porsche 718 RSK. The crowd’s favourite race, the St Mary’s Trophy, is back to the 1960s this year with a mighty battle between big American Galaxies and Falcons and the more nimble Mini Coopers and Lotus Cortinas. Then there’s the glamour and spectacle of the RAC TT Celebration, featured on the preceding pages.

Star-spotters and autograph hunters will have a field day, as ever. No need to poke your pen and paper through wire fences, this is Goodwood so just loiter in the paddock, especially before and after the St Mary’s and TT races. 

The Chichester Cup for Formula Junior cars usually provides plenty of excitement; this year it is for rear-engined cars with drum brakes last seen at the 2004 Revival. At the other end of the scale the Brooklands Trophy, in this centenary year for the circuit where it all began, features pre-war sports cars of the type that raced in the Brooklands Double 12 and BRDC 500 endurance events. When Lord March’s grandfather Freddie March, himself a winner of the Double 12, opened the Goodwood circuit in 1948 he wanted to re-capture the spirit of Brooklands; the Revival would surely meet with his approval.

Some say that the air displays alone are worth the price of admission. To see Spitfires, Mustangs and Hurricanes at low level is a thrilling experience. The aerobatics at dusk on the Saturday, and the lone Spitfire high in the sky early each morning, never fail to send a shiver down the spine. Combine this with the roar of engines and the glamour of 1950s and ’60s fashions and you revel in what is justifiably promoted as a magical step back in time.

Some key changes to the races, then, to refresh the format after nearly a decade, and some big names to mix it with the likes of Peter Hardman, Barrie Williams, Frank Sytner, Tony Dron and Tiff Needell, all of whom can be relied upon to play the game up to, but not beyond, its limits.

The Goodwood Revival takes place from August 31 to September 2. Tickets from 01243 755055 or See us at the Motor Sport stand behind the Chicane grandstand.