Goodwood celebrates its 75-year anniversary with fantastic Festival of Speed and Revival events
‘Goodwood 75’ will be a year of celebrations across its motorsport events and venues in 2023 paying tribute to the incredible history and heritage of motorsport at Goodwood as well as embracing the future of motorsport.
The overarching celebration is that of the Motor Circuit, which reaches its 75th anniversary in 2023.
It was Squadron Leader Tony Gaze - an Australian fighter pilot who was based at RAF Westhampnett during the Second World War – who first suggested to the 9th Duke of Richmond that the airfield’s perimeter track would make an excellent race circuit.
Officially opened on 18 September 1948 by the Duke and Duchess in their Bristol 400, the very first meeting was attended by 15,000 spectators, who gathered to watch the 85 drivers, including Stirling Moss, who won his first ever race that day, sparking a life-long association with Goodwood.
Between 1948 and 1966 - the years celebrated by the Goodwood Revival - the Circuit hosted World Champions Jack Brabham, Jim Clark, Juan Manuel Fangio, Giuseppe Farina, Mike Hawthorn, Graham Hill, Phil Hill, Denny Hulme, Jochen Rindt, Jackie Stewart and John Surtees, along with a host of other stars, as Goodwood established itself as the spiritual home of British motorsport.
Following the cessation of racing in 1966, some of the biggest and best-known racing teams, including Brabham, Eagle, Honda, McLaren, Toleman and Tyrrell, continued to test their cars at Goodwood.
In the early 1990s, the Earl of March (now the 11th Duke of Richmond) began looking into the possibility of reopening the Circuit. Staging an event on private roads in Goodwood Park proved slightly easier, and in 1993, the very first Festival of Speed took place.
The two-day event welcomed an estimated 25,000 spectators who watched nearly 100 cars and motorcycles in action on the Hill. Competitors and attendees included Tony Brooks and Roy Salvadori who went up together in an Aston Martin DBS3, George Harrison in his Rocket sports car, Nick Mason in his V16 BRM, Gordon Murray in a McLaren F1, and John Surtees, who was an event patron and organised the motorcycle entry.
In 1998, the dream of reopening the Motor Circuit became a reality, and 50 years to the day since his grandparents had opened the track on 18 September 1948 in their Bristol 400, the Earl of March opened the inaugural Revival meeting in an identical car.
1998 also saw the launch of the Goodwood Road Racing Club – a club which today boasts over 25,000 Members and Fellows, who number among the greatest supporters and advocates of Goodwood motorsport.
In its 75 year-motorsport history, Goodwood has seen some remarkable feats of engineering and derring do: from the trailblazing drivers who raced here in the early years and the cars that tested on the Circuit; to the scintillating record-breaking run from the McMurtry Spéirling at the 2022 Festival of Speed and the pioneering use of synthetic fuels at the Revival.
The 75th anniversary of the Circuit and 25th anniversary of the first Goodwood Revival fall on September 18 – and lots of exciting celebrations are planned.
The Revival (September 8-10) will see a wonderful gathering of cars that originally competed in 1948 and will honour driver Carroll Shelby, who would have celebrated his 100th birthday in 2023.
Shelby took part in what is arguably the most dramatic race Goodwood has ever seen – the 1959 RAC Tourist Trophy, when Stirling Moss took over Shelby and Jack Fairman’s Aston Martin DBR1/300 after his own car caught fire in the pits, fighting back through the field to win the race and the World Sportscar Championship for Aston Martin.
Goodwood 75 will also be the theme of the Festival of Speed (July 13 – 16) and among its many attractions will be a dedicated Goodwood 75 hillclimb batch which will showcase cars and bikes from Goodwood’s 75-year history.
Open year-round, visitors to the Goodwood Motor Circuit will also see a series of nods to the 75th anniversary with a new Driving Simulator Room launched in spring which will allow users to take to the track for the ultimate simulator racing experience.
On June 4, the Circuit will host the ‘75th Sunday’ Breakfast Club with a specially-curated grid of cars from the last 75 years, showcasing a unique variety of models from 1948 to 2023. Expect everything from post-war classics to the latest and greatest Supercars.
Meanwhile the 80th Members’ Meeting on April 15 and 16 will honour those who made their names at the Motor Circuit with the likes of the Moss Trophy, Salvadori Cup and Tony Gaze Trophy.As well as an action-packed schedule, the Goodwood Road Racing Club will celebrate its silver jubilee with a series of photo moments for its founder members.
Speaking about the momentous year ahead, The Duke of Richmond, founder of the Festival of Speed and Goodwood Revival, said: “It’s fantastic to be able to celebrate 75 years since my grandfather opened our wonderful Motor Circuit back in 1948. Today Goodwood motorsport is celebrated and cherished by millions around the world, which the whole Goodwood team are immensely proud of. We have a very special year planned for 2023 and I can’t wait to celebrate with our fans as we reflect on our history but also look ahead to the next 75 years, and beyond. I’d like to thank everyone who has been so enthusiastic and supportive and so much look forward to welcoming everyone during this special year.”
Tickets for the Goodwood events are available at www.goodwood.com