For three days in September, Lord March and his Goodwood team create a time capsule in the beautiful West Sussex countryside. With the ocean on one side and the sloping hills on the other, the Goodwood Motor Circuit is already a sight to behold on any day of the year. It gets even better during the Revival Meeting when thousands of historic road and racing cars, and tens of thousands of spectators enter the 1950s / 1960s time capsule. The unique atmosphere is created with a remarkable eye for detail. This year, for example, a Tesco's supermarket was set up with period correct treats. By dressing up in tweed jackets and pleated skirts, the spectators form an integral part of the event.
Celebrated during the 2010 edition of the annual Revival were the first ever victory for BRM sixty years ago and the 50th anniversary of John Surtees' first car race. Both of these momentous occasions occurred at Goodwood. On Sunday afternoon a fitting ceremony paid tribute to the men and women that bravely fought in the 'Battle of Britain' in 1940. In those years Goodwood was better known as RAF Westhampnett. After the War, the airfield's perimeter road served as the track for the circuit.
Founding sponsor Bonhams held their traditional auction on Friday, selling 70% of the lots with a total revenue of just over 3 million pounds. One of the most interesting cars on offer was a very rare Ford engined AC Aceca once owned by James Bond creator Ian Fleming. One of six known to have survived, it found a new owner for a believed record price of 80,000 Pounds.
Taking centre stage, of course, was the action on the track. The busy schedule featured 14 races for vintage cars and motorcycles with 1966, the year the Goodwood circuit closed, as the cut-off. The most prestigious of the dozen car races is the one-hour RAC TT Celebration for 1960s GT racers. Its grid of Cobras, Lightweight E-Types and Ferrari GTOs was, perhaps even conservatively, valued by the organisers at 150 million pounds!
Our photographers 'suited up' and spent all three days at the track from the creek of dawn until the last car crossed the finish. This has resulted in a spectacular 350-shot gallery
, featuring every race, parade and air display.
Even though BRM (British Racing Motors) disappeared from Formula 1 in the 1970s, the team still has many followers. The lasting fascination not only stems from the World Championship winning efforts of the mid-1960s but probably even more from the glorious failures. BRM was funded by the country's motor industry with the aim to become the British equivalent of the Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix team of the 1930s. The first ever car was the Type 15, powered by a supercharged 1.5 litre V16. When it ran well, the delicate V16 produced in excess of 500 bhp and also one of the finest exhaust notes ever. Unfortunately those occasions were very rare. At its much hyped competition debut at Silverstone in August of 1950, the transmission seized on the grid. The furious crowd reportedly showered the car with coins and the morning after one newspaper declared BRM was short for 'Blooming Rotten Motor'. A month later at Goodwood, Reg Parnell managed to secure two wins in the V16 at Goodwood. International success would not come until 1959 when Jo Bonnier won the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort with the much more straightforward Type 25.
BRM were finally completely on top of the game with the V8 engined P578 and P261, which were used by Graham Hill to win his first World Championship and Sir Jackie Stewart to clinch his maiden GP victory. A change of regulations for 1966 saw the popular team return to its bad old ways. They developed a three litre engine by placing two flat eight engines on top of each other. The resulting 'H16' was too bulky and heavy but the team persevered with it for the better part of two seasons. It did score a single Grand Prix win in the back of Jim Clark's Lotus 43. A more conventional V12 engine was used in the final years of BRM's existence, resulting in four more victories. The penultimate Formula 1 victory came at the hands of Peter Gethin, at Monza with a record average of 150.75 mph (242.62 km/h). This remained the fastest ever Grand Prix until only very recently. After the death of long time owner Sir Alfred Owen in 1974, BRM's days were numbered. The team eventually folded in 1977.
BRM's first victories, at Goodwood almost sixty years ago to the day, were celebrated by bringing together the largest ever collection of BRMs. Over two dozen examples from the manufacturer's fabled past were lined up and demonstrated. Included were the V16 used by Reg Parnell to win at Goodwood, Bonnier's Dutch Grand Prix winning Type 25 and Hill's 'Old Faithful' P578. One of the V16s ran on two of three days and the ultimate development of the H16 completed all three parades without a problem. On Sunday Peter Gethin was reunited with 'his' Italian Grand Prix winning P160. Quite a few of the BRMs were brought by the Donnington Collection and the display also served as a remembrance of founder Tom Wheatcroft, who died a year ago. A gold lining was provided on Sunday by Gary Pearson who won the Richmond Trophy race in the ex-Bonnier Type 25 and Richard Attwood who secured a victory in the Glover Trophy in his P261.
One of the BRM's drivers in the late 1960s was John Surtees. By that time he had already accomplished what no racer had done before or has done since; winning World Championships on two wheels and four. He had started out as a motorcycle racer in 1950 and by the end of the decade was a seven-time World Champion on 350cc and 500cc MV Agustas. Seeking a new challenge, he entered a Formula Junior race at Goodwood with a Cooper. This was actually the first ever car race he attended and very impressively finished a close second to Jim Clark. Thanks to his successful ventures with MV Agusta, Surtees was already a legend in Italy before he was signed to drive for Ferrari in Formula 1 in 1963. A season later he drove the 158 F1 to great effect, winning two races and clinching the Championship ahead of Clark and Hill. Under his own colours, Surtees won the inaugural Can-Am Challenge Cup with a Lola T70. Trained as an engineer and known to take matters into his own hands to this day, Surtees inevitably started producing racing cars under his own name. The Surtees cars were raced with some success in F1, F2 and F5000.
The anniversary of the 'Il Grand John's' first ever car race comes after an incredibly difficult period for the Surtees family; in the summer of 2009 John's son Henry was killed in a freak accident in a Formula 2 race at Brands Hatch. In his remembrance a foundation has been set up, which earlier this year was the official charity of the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Still very much affected by the incredible loss, Surtees very bravely took to the track on all three days. He rode on one of the MV Agusta bikes on Friday, piloted the championship winning 158 F1 on Saturday and on Sunday headed his parade in the TS7; the first Surtees F1 car. Other cars of note in the parade were the BMW 507 Surtees has owned from new, his Can-Am winning Lola T70 and the Surtees TS10 that propelled Mike 'the bike' Hailwood to the 1972 European Formula 2 Championship.
There is no other historic racing meeting in the world that attracts more top line racing drivers to pilot the cars. The 'big name' drivers are mostly found in the St Mary's Trophy for saloon cars and the RAC TT celebration race. The former is run over two races with the final result decided on aggregate. This year the St Mary's Trophy featured 1950s saloon cars with familiar machinery like Austins and Jaguars, joined by rarities like a Tatra T603 and a Gaz Volga M21. Painted bright orange the Norwegian entered Tatra also stood out because of the very big exhaust pipes. A big sign in the paddock explained that they were in fact 'double diffusers' and served to aid the cooling of the air-cooled V8 engine. Red Bull Racing's designer Adrian Newey, who was in attendance, will surely have read the sign with great interest.
The Gaz was brought by Kiwi Roger Wills from his current city of residence Moscow. The big black machine sported various Russian phrases and a license plate that read 'KGB 500'. Roger 'Willsovich' and his mechanics wore KGB outfits to complete the package. Never raced in period, the Gaz was hardly competitive but Wills was found at the sharp end of the field in three of his other cars. He finished on the podium with his battered McLaren M1B and ex-Bruce McLaren Cooper T51, and together with Joe Twyman managed to clinch a victory in the Madgwick Cup with a Lotus 17.
Making his debut in historic racing, in spectacular fashion, was eight-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen. He drove Nick Naismith's Austin A95 Westminster to victory in the first leg of the St Mary's Trophy after a fierce battle with Martin Brundle and Patrick Watts. Clearly inspired by his former Audi team-mate Emmanuele Pirro, the Dane celebrated his victory by hanging out of the Austin on the cooling-down lap. The second leg was dominated by Grant Williams, who took from Derek Bell in the ex-works Jaguar Mk1 that has been in his family since the 1960s. Williams did not go about clawing back the deficit very subtly; he flung 'BUY 1' out of the chicane at full opposite lock at the end of every lap. It was nevertheless enough to build up the required gap over Naismith, so the overall victory was for Bell and Williams.
Compared to the St Mary's Trophy, Sunday's TT race is very serious business. In a quest for the prestigious victory no expense is spared. The cars are meticulously prepared and some 'teams' even went to Goodwood early for extensive testing. The level of the development of some of the cars was made very visible by the debut of the 'barn find' Jaguar E-Type Lightweight. Still in mostly original condition, it looked somewhat different than its sister cars, which have dominated the TT race in recent years. This edition did not feature E-Types at the head of the field as we were treated to a more period correct Ferrari vs Cobra battle. Pole position was for the 2008 TT winning Ferrari 330 LMB piloted by Tom Kristensen and Bobby Verdon-Roe. Rob Hall and Jim Richards were a surprising second in an AC Cobra. The final spot on the first row was secured by Justin Law and Anthony Reid in the unique Lister Jaguar Coupe.
Law had the best start and entered the very fast first corner in the lead. Before the end of the lap, Hall had taken over the lead and Verdon-Roe soon took over second from the early leader. Behind them, Peter Hardman was quietly moving up the order in Sir Anthony Bamford's beautiful Ferrari 250 GTO/64. One of the first to come in for a driver change was Adrian Newey with last year's winning E-Type Lightweight. Indy-racing legend Bobby Rahal did not get very far as a wheel came off the car, sending him into the barrier at a considerable speed. Fortunately, the American managed to get out of the accident unscathed. The safety car was deployed and almost the complete field came in for the mandatory driver swap. Hall's sizeable lead was decimated by a very slow driver change. Instead Jean-Marc Gounon emerged in the lead in the Ferrari he had taken over from Hardman. The Frenchman could cruise to victory, which was only the second for a Ferrari in the annual TT race at the Revival.
With his exuberant victory celebrations, Gounon upstaged Kristensen's exploits a day earlier. He first did some donuts on the grass in the hugely valuable GTO and then climbed out of the car and stood on the sill while driving through the chicane. To pull this seemingly impossible move off, the jovial Frenchman used the stranded Rahal as an accomplice. Picked up earlier in the lap, the Indy 500 winner was in the passenger seat and held onto the steering wheel, while Gounon greeted the crowd. Second was for the Nic Minassian / Oliver Bryant Cobra and Anthony Reid recovered to finish third in the Lister after being nudged off the track by Derek Bell earlier. There clearly were no hard feelings as Reid borrowed Bell's full faced helmet to compete in the weekend's final race, substituting for Rahal.
There is no event quite like the Goodwood Revival but the organisers nevertheless manage to make improvements every year. Ticket numbers were capped this year to give spectators slightly more room and a new grandstand was erected at the exit of Woodcote corner. With over 134,000 visitors over three days, the sell-out was still very busy. The spectators were treated to beautiful autumn weather and superb racing. As we do every year, we conclude our report by strongly encouraging you to dress up and join the fun next year. Despite being our biggest Revival gallery ever, our 350 shots
still can't compare to actually visiting the event.