Motoring heaven at the Goodwood Revival festival

Goodwood Revival festival

Goodwood Revival festival - Credit: Paul Jolly

Paul Jolly, classic car specialist and valuer:  

I have just returned from the annual Goodwood Revival festival near Chichester, held since 1998 for the types of racing cars and motorcycles that would have competed during the circuit’s original period, 1948-1966. 

The circuit is the ring road around the original aerodrome, just down the hill from Goodwood House, and which saw action as RAF Westhampnett in the Battle of Britain with squadrons of Spitfires, Hurricanes and others based here. 

It has unquestionably become the best period motor racing event in Europe and features wartime flying activity overhead and theatrical sets that bring the past back to life. In fact, if you are not in period dress, then it is you who is the odd one out.  

You will rub shoulders with the most famous of names, all here for the same reason and this year’s guests included Sir Jackie Stewart, Ross Brawn, Jean Todt and Stefano Domenicale, all of F1 fame, together with racers Jensen Button, Martin Brundle, Derek Bell and even Rowan Atkinson. 

The historic racing is as lively and authentic as ever with multi million pound Ferraris and Maseratis door banging with Aston Martins and Ford GT40s. 

I would urge anyone who has not been to The Revival to include this on their wish list. You will be stepping back in time and here’s the thing - YOU become part of the set, not a spectator and it is SO much more than just about the motorcars. 

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Despite its short life as a race circuit, it has some dubious claims to fame. In 1962, after a collision when passing Graham Hill, our national hero Stirling Moss had to retire from professional racing after his catastrophic accident put paid to his career. He never became the World Champion everyone expected. He died just recently. 

Bruce McLaren, founder of the world beating McLaren Racing Team lost his life at Goodwood in 1970 when testing one of his own CanAm cars. This was very shortly after he and I shared a beer at Monza in 1969 when Jackie Stewart won his first World Championship for the Matra Tyrrell Team.