How Goodwood Revival will celebrate its 20th birthday
First staged 20 years ago, the Goodwood Revival immediately became a milestone in classic car racing, so much so that its full name has become somewhat superfluous: Revival is more than enough! This magical event, where spectators go to see the cars on the track, and drivers go, in part, to see the onlookers, will this year be taking place from September 7th to 9th. “Races and more” might be an apt slogan to describe this very special meeting, where pre–1967 classic cars have dedicated parking lots, spectators are required to dress in period attire, and Spitfires fly overhead.
It was September 1948 when the Goodwood Racetrack, in West Sussex, first opened its gates to the public as a permanent venue for a motoring event, becoming, on that occasion, the setting for England’s very first post-war car race on a racetrack. The track had actually been created during the war, when the RAF Westhampnett airfield was built on the Goodwood estate, home of the Duke of Richmond for over 300 years, on land made available by the 9th Duke to assist with the war effort. To link the runways, a perimeter road was built around the airfield, and when the war was over, it was simply modified and transformed into a racetrack. It became one of the symbols of British racing and, until 1966, one of the most renowned circuits in Europe.
By 1966, however, the moderncars of the time had become much faster, making the track too dangerous to race on. Indeed, Sir Stirling Moss famously crashed there. Therefore, it was closed as a racetrack, but continued to be used as a venue for testing racing cars and for track days. Several decades later, a full half a century after the track first opened, the Duke’s grandson, the Earl of March, created the Goodwood Revival,and at the opening of the new event, on September 18th, 1998, he did a lap in the very same Bristol 400 that his grandfather had used on the same track 50 years before.
The Goodwood Revival concept
When the track was reopened, every effort was made to make the venue look exactly as it had done during its glory years as a racetrack. The pace cars and tow trucks were in period, as was the attireof everyone present: marshals, drivers, mechanics and spectators all had to be dressed as they would have been during the racetrack’s heyday. Even the sponsors, normally pretty insistent on theneed to keep their brands untouched, accepted the rule and entered into the spirit of the event,showing up with correct in-period advertising boards. It was such a success that the Revival, lasting three days, immediately became established as an annual event. What is more, the three-day tickets are always sold out in a matter of hours after being made available.
The Revival is many things, but racing is its real heart and soul. The event features a non-stop series of practices and competitions, involving some of the world’s most amazing, famous andprized racing cars. They are driven by owners or, more and more often, by professional drivers,expertly handling them and making them slide all over the track while pushing them to theirabsolute limits. The result is an absolutely amazing show, the only one capable of re-creating, so authentically, the atmosphere of racing as it once was. The Revival has a packed program of competitions, which include the Kinrara Trophy (a 60-minute race for closed cockpit cars with an engine capacity of three liters or over, which must be driven by both drivers), the Fordwater Trophy (for production–based sports and GT cars), the St Mary’s Trophy (a double–header race, open toprofessional and amateur drivers sharing 1960s sedans), the Whitsun Trophy (open to all pre-1966sports cars, such as Ford GT40s, the Lola T70 and so on), the Freddy March Memorial Trophy (celebrating the old 9 Hours Goodwood Race of 1952, 1953 and 1955, and featuring Ferraris, Aston Martins, Jaguars and Maseratis), the Richmond & Gordon Trophies (open to 2.5 liter Grand Prix cars from 1952 to 1960), the RAC TT Celebration (for rear engine GP cars from 1961 to 1965), and the Sussex Trophy (for sports racing cars from 1955 to 1960, such as Jaguar D-Types, Listers, Ferraris and Maserati sports).
The XK 120 turns 70
It was 1948 when Jaguar stormed the market with its new creation, the XK 120, named to underline the car’s ability to reach what was (for the time) the amazing speed of 120 mph. Equipped with a3.4 liter, 6-cylinder inline engine, this car, wonderful looking both in the open and closed versions, marked the definitive turning of a page after the war years, promising its owners a fun, fast and elegant future. As soon as it was launched, the XK 120 immediately became a much coveted racer.The 2018 Fordwater race will celebrate the 70th anniversary of this iconic model.
Revival in style
Anyone wanting to enter the racetrack area must, without exception, dress as in period attire, a rule that has done much to contribute to the charm of this event. Fashions changed a lot between 1948 and 1967, evolving from military uniforms to miniskirts! It is up to you which particular period you prefer, but pay attention to every single detail: no baseball hats, modern watches or psychedelic sunglasses will be allowed to spoil your look!