This September sees the 20th running of the popular Goodwood Revival Meeting near Chichester from Friday 7th to Sunday 9th. Starting in a small and very British way it has developed over the past two decades into one of the world’s largest historic motorsport events and, as far as we know, the only one where participants and spectators are encouraged to attend in period dress.
Authentic to the post-war era
The Goodwood Motor Circuit, on the site of the former RAF Westhampnett fighter base in West Sussex, hosted motor racing from 1948 through to 1966 and the annual Revival event celebrates this golden age. The meeting features high-quality racing and show parades featuring competition cars and bikes that are selected for their authenticity to that era.
Within the bounds of modern safety requirements, competitors, stewards and marshalls all wear clothing that recreates the post-war period. Guests who wish to maximise their participation and blend in, and certainly those with paddock access, also need to have visited some vintage clothing or charity shops to kit themselves out in the styles of the time.
The current Duke was 12 years old when his grandfather closed the track in 1966:
“It was the first thing I tried to make happen when I came back to running the Goodwood Estate in 1991. I still remember the special atmosphere, something I was determined to recreate when I brought the circuit back to life.”
Led by the Duke, the estate team restored the track and facilities over several years and in September 1998, fifty years to the day since the circuit first opened, competitive motor racing returned to Goodwood at the first Revival meeting.
It’s not just the Duke who thinks it’s special; three time F1 World Champion Sir Jackie Stewart, who raced many times at Goodwood during his career, speaks very fondly of the nostalgic annual event:
“Goodwood Revival is one of the greatest events of its kind. Classic cars are revered and cherished all round the world, and not only do you see these cars at the Revival but you also meet the most passionate people. The Duke of Richmond has created a wonderful environment at Goodwood Motor Circuit and probably the finest location is the Rolex Driver’s Club. All the great drivers and mechanics of the past and present are able to experience the Revival in a very privileged way.”
Goodwood Revival partnership with Rolex
Luxury Swiss watchmaker Rolex, long-associated with top-flight motor racing and still official sponsors of F1, has been supporting the Revival since 2004 and in particular through the Rolex Drivers’ Club which has become the ‘heart of the paddock’ and provides a welcome sanctuary for drivers to relax in with family and friends and also to rub shoulders with some of the greats from motor racing’s past and present who are attracted to the event from around the globe.
Rolex testimonees like Sir Jackie and nine time Le Mans 24h winner Tom Kristensen will be participating in the Revival again this year and, among many others, hoping to catch the judges’ eyes and be awarded Rolex Driver of the Meeting Award – a specially engraved Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust. This widely recognised classic watch was first introduced in 1945 and has become an iconic symbol of style – a fitting reward for exceptional sporting performance at Goodwood Revival.
The 20th anniversary of Goodwood Revival will see the pits themed to invoke the spirit of 1950s Silverstone in honour of their 70th anniversary. Alongside the packed schedule of wheel-to-wheel racing and entertainment, the Duke hints of ‘unexpected surprises’ to mark the occasion but is tight-lipped on the details of the key highlights:
“All I can say is that the main focus will be on celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Revival – there will be lots of cars, bikes, drivers and riders to remind us of the most treasured moments of the last 20 years. We will put on a diverse field of cars and vary the racing, as we do each year, to keep it as fresh and exciting as we can.”
Limited availability for a perfect day
At the time of writing, tickets for the Revival are still on sale but of limited availability so act fast if you want to be one of the 150,000 visitors who descend upon this very English time capsule event where automobile heritage and vintage style go hand in hand. The Duke of Richmond says:
“Everyone’s happy to be there, reliving old memories, seeing familiar faces who return each year and watching thrilling racing. My perfect day is when we race hard, have some fun and everyone comes home safely at the end of the day.”