1961 Aston Martin Project 212 at Goodwood Revival
Article may contain sponsored links

Tribute: A Brief History of Goodwood Revival

Roaring back onto the tracks this September, we take a look back at Goodwood Revival over the years

Goodwood Revival transports motoring fans back to the 1940s with its vintage dress code, where it’s tweed and trilbies for the men and retro frocks for the ladies. Fans go all out with their old-fashioned outfits making the event unlike any other. As one of the highlights of the motoring calendar, Goodwood Revival attracts automotive fans from around the world to experience the historical race meet where, as well as donning period dress, they come to celebrate some of the world’s finest automobiles from yesteryear.

The classic circuit has been the spiritual home of motor racing since the late 1940s when it staged races such as the Tourist Trophy and Glover Trophy for sports cars and Grand Prix cars respectively, and when the Goodwood circuit closed in 1966 motorsport fans were left with a car-shaped hole in their heart. It wasn’t until 1998, thanks to the Earl of March, Charles Gordon-Lennox, that fans were able to get a glimpse of their favourite classic cars tearing around the famous West Sussex track once again.

Aston Martin at the Goodwood Revival
Aston Martin winning at 1961 Aston Martin Project 212 at Goodwood Revival

Over the years, Goodwood Revival-goers have been treated to spectacular races featuring some of the most famous faces in motorsport, driving vehicles that are all immaculate pre-1966 classics. Previous winners of other iconic races such as Le Mans, Isle of Man and the British Touring Car Champions have been at the wheel of these priceless cars at the Revival. Three-time F1 World Champion Sir Jackie Stewart once said of the event: “It’s unique, there’s not another event in the world close to what is created there, it’s just a better collection of pure quality.” You'll often spot a number of formula one's current and past drivers in attendance, and it's not beyond the realms of possibility that new motorsport boss and Sussex resident, Carl Cox, may also make an appearance.

The Goodwood track itself remains largely unchanged from the one that was opened by the 9th Duke of Richmond in September 1948, much to the delight of British motorsport fans who recall the good old days at Goodwood.

Traditionally, race goers get a glimpse of post-war vehicles being paraded on the circuit before the race begins.

Car parade at the Goodwood Revival

The pre-race parade includes rare electric vehicles from the 1950s, including some novelties such as Harrods delivery trucks and even a Rolls-Royce ice cream van. Some of the other stranger cars seen zipping around the circuit have included the Ford Battlebird, Mini Marcos, Bentley ‘Pacey Hassan Special’ and the Cousy-Triumph. Revival experts will also fondly recall the first car to win a Revival race was a 1932 ERA B-Type R5B “Remus,” which was victorious in the Woodcote Cup in 1998. Over the years Revival attendees have also seen car auctions, marching bands, celebrity guest drivers and fantastic air displays on the track. Away from the circuit the festival is alive with jazz lounges full of music, vintage stage performances and entertainment from as early as the 1930s.

Start of the motor race at the Goodwood Revival

In 2018, to mark the 20th anniversary of the Revival, a special parade was on show featuring cars that have won a race at the event in previous years. To the delight of race fans over 60 cars took to the circuit including seven classic Jaguars, Aston Martins and some vintage F1 cars such as the Lotus 16 and 19.

Twilight fairgound behind a classic car at the Goodwood Revival
Twilight fairgound at the Goodwood Revival

The event has seen some of the world’s pioneering supercars on the track including the Ferrari 250 SWB, famously driven by Sir Stirling Moss for Rob Walker. Moss enjoyed success at Goodwood in the 1960 model winning the Goodwood Tourist Trophy. It was also the car he won his final race in – the Nassau TT. Another vintage supercar seen at previous Revivals is the beautiful Aston Martin Project 212 from 1961. It was running in second position in the 1962 Le Mans 24-Hours before retiring with piston problems. Thankfully there were no such problems when it raced at the inaugural Revival meeting in ’98.

Written by Nick Watkins

The 2023 edition of the Goodwood Revival takes place from 8 – 10 September and will see F1 World Champions Jenson Button and Jackie Stweart in attendance, along with fan favourite, Johnny Herbert. Friday and Saturday tickets for the Revival are sold out, however, Sunday tickets are still available and can be purchased via goodwood.com or by calling the Ticket Office on 01243 755055.