Having missed out on the Goodwood Festival of Speed this year (we fell victim to Goodwood’s accreditation process), we were pleased to receive a ticket to the Goodwood Revival 2015, the third and final event of the Goodwood calender. Having made the trip to the Goodwood Motor Circuit for the second Goodwood Members Club meeting at the beginning of the year and the Supercar Sunday Breakfast Club meeting, it would be our third time at the circuit for 2015.
The Goodwood Revival is one of our favourite car events of the year. We spend a huge amount of our time travelling to static cars shows so it is fantastic to see some classic motor racing take place on a racing circuit. Goodwood Revival holds a very special appeal thanks to the time-warp nature of the event. All vehicles, aside from modern safety vehicles, were built between 1948–1966. Attendees are also encouraged to dress in period costume.
On track, the cars race on a track that remains unchanged from its heyday. Goodwood Motor Circuit was of course a premier destination for motor racing following World War II. It started life as the perimeter track of RAF Westhampnett airfield. Races were held continuously from 1948 to 1966, through a variety of different races. The Goodwood Revival aims to recreate the magic of those golden years.
13 events take place over the course of three days. On our Saturday we were fortunate enough to catch the Goodwood Trophy, Fordwater Trophy, Land Rover Parade, Timed Practice for the RAC TT Celebration, the Barry Sheene Memorial Trophy – Part I, a Tribute to Bruce McLaren, the St Marys Trophy – Part 1, the Lavant Cup, a High Speed Demonstration of six Shelby Daytona Coupe’s, the Brooklands Trophy and the Whitsun Trophy. Its fair to say we saw a lot!
The 90 minute Freddie March Memorial trophy was run on the Friday and won by Chris Ward in a Cooper-Jaguar T33 run by JD Classics. We missed that event but were able to take a look at the cars in the paddock on Saturday morning, as with a number of other racing series. We chose the Saturday for a reason though!
The first event of the day, the Goodwood Trophy, celebrates the pre-war designs of grand prix racers and Voiturette cars of a type that raced between 1930 and 1950. ERA’s, Alfa Romeo’s and Maserati’s are common place. These are monster machines which produce a huge amount of noise, Goodwood at its very finest. Ultimately, the race was won by the Maserati 6CM of Calum Lockie.
The second event is the Fordwater Trophy. Another 20 minute race, the Fordwater trophy celebrates GT Cars, the entrants are generally built between 1948 and 1954. This year, the cars included a stunning Fiat 8V Zagato, a couple of Jaguar XK120’s and two Porsche 356’s. Star drivers included Chris Harris in a Porsche 356.
Chris Harris got a pretty decent start off the line by was unfortunately overtaken by a quicker Jaguar XK120 which left him in its wake. Harris eventually finished 15 seconds behind the Jaguar XK120 of John Young and 5 seconds in front of a Frazer Nash.
Next up was the Land Rover Parade. Production of the iconic Land Rover Defender will cease at the end of the year. 55 examples hit the track including 11 pre-series 1 models, an example of a series 1 model used by the AA and a 1953 Minerva ambulance. Most unique of all was the amphibious Land Rover built for the Australian army!
The highlight of the entire event for most is the RAC TT Celebration which attracts high value racers together with big name drivers. Practice took place on Saturday with cars like the Ferrari 330 GTO, the iconic Ferrari 250 GT SWB ‘Breadvan’, the unique Aston Martin Project 212 and Jaguar E-type Lightweight ‘Lowdrag’ Coupé. Drivers include British Touring Car Champions, Gordon Shedden and Matt Neal, nine time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen and five times Le Mans winner Derek Bell.
It wasn’t a practice in the traditional sense though. It was instantly recognisable which were the fastest of the pack. The Jaguar E-Type Low-Drag Coupe appeared to be setting a quick pace, as was the Ferrari 250 Breadvan. Several incidents saw the Breadvan suffer a smashed front fender while a Shelby Cobra developed a tank slapper through the chicane, smashing through the polystyrene walls.
Later on we caught another on-track tribute, this time a Tribute to Bruce McLaren. For those who are unfamiliar with the Bruce McLaren story, the Australian racer tragically lost his life at the Goodwood Circuit in 1970 when bodywork on his McLaren M8D came adrift. The display included several examples of the Cooper-Climax, the Ford GT40 and the Aston Martin DP214 he raced in 1963. Bruce’s daughter Amanda and sister Jan were present to view the spectacle!
Another series which seems to attract the big names is the St Marys Trophy. This year is no different, we spotted Chris Hoy in an Austin Mini Cooper S, Christian Horner in a Morris Mini Cooper S and Tiff Needell in a Jaguar Mk2. The owners will take the wheel for the second part of the St Mary’s Trophy on Sunday, although we can tell you that Tom Kristensen took the victory on Saturday, placing the Ford Fairlane Thunderbolt first after starting from the back.
The Lavant Cup was pretty special this year. It was an all-Ferrari affair, restricted to models with drum-brakes. It was won by DK Engineering’s Ferrari 500 TRC, driven by James Cottingham. A win he achieved despite a 10-second penalty for jumping the start. Carlos Monteverde scored second in a Ferrari 750 Monza, 26 seconds behind Cottingham. By far the most impressive cars in the field were the Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Tour De France which drifted through every corner!
After the Ferrari’s left the track, we were treated to a display from the Duxford-based Spitfire, Hurricane and Warhawk’s. Although what we were all waiting for was the Vulcan bomber. The Vulcan has become the single most iconic airworthy plane, yet it will be retired this year as it has become impossible to maintain. Unfortunately, it made it to the race track perimeters before developing a fuel leak which caused a mad dash back to its Doncaster base.
With all the drama unfolding in the air, the Shelby Cobra’s out on track were difficult to focus on. This particular display gathered together the six Daytona Coupé’s for the first time, including the car which won Le Mans, Sebring, Daytona and Goodwood in-period. Its Kamm tail design and side exit exhausts are iconic. The four coupe’s were joined on track by six open-cockpit Cobra’s including a 7-litre version!
With two more races to go, we had a little break from the action on-track for a wander around the paddock. In order to gain access to the main paddock, the right tickets and a tie or crevat are essential. Once you’ve gained access there’s plenty to see. From Ferrari 330 GTO’s to pre-war Alfa Romeo’s its difficult to feel short-changed!
A short walk away was the Earl’s Court Motor Show which packaged 24 Ferrari’s into a small space. The display included an example of just about every Ferrari imaginable from modern day supercars such as the Ferrari 488 GTB and LaFerrari, to past-masters, the Ferrari 250 GTO and the Ferrari 166 MM Barchetta. Several manufacturers, Jaguar, Land Rover and BMW included had their own displays. Vauxhall were even handing out popcorn!
Back on track, the penultimate race too place, the Brooklands Trophy celebrating endurance racing pre-1939. It was won by an Alfa Romeo 8C 2600 ‘Muletto’, although the action behind the winner was what really captivated the crowds. The Frazer Nash Owlett and a Talbot AV105 ran it close, drifting through every corner with the sort of courage you just don’t see with modern racers.
The final race of the day, the Whitsun Trophy, was delayed when a Lotus shed its oil on the start line. After the spillage was cleared, the race got underway. Once the cars left the line, it was clear that the Ford GT’s were at a disadvantage to cars like the Chevrolet engined prototypes. The winner was Chris Goodwin, McLaren’s chief test driver, in a McLaren-Chevrolet M1B, heading of two Lola T70’s.
Ultimately, the Goodwood Revival was fantastic fun. It is the atmosphere as much as the racing which causes the crowds to return each year. It is the only place you see a priceless Ferrari 250 Breadvan involved in a accident, only to continue out on track. The heroics performed by the Pre-War drivers are nothing short of staggering, yet the display of track is every bit as captivating. We will be back next year… accreditation permitting of course!