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Chichester, 13th - 15th of September

Over the last few year with the booming of classic cars a lot of new events came along to fill the classic car calendar and in the summer months spectators sometimes has the agony of choice where to go, be it racing, rallying or to shows. But among all these events there are still some that shine out and that are a must visit at least once in a lifetime, all of them looking back on a long history and grown over the years to their current status.

In May it is the Italian enthusiasm that take visitors to the Mille Miglia, the blast on the most exciting “race track” at the biennial Monaco HGP and the race into the night and dawn at the Le Mans Classics, but one event still seems to be superior: the Goodwood Revival.

Being far more than just a classic car event the Revival provides “a magical step back in time” to the golden years of motor racing with a fantastic atmosphere of the 1950s and 1960s with a period ambience that just seems to be possible in Great Britain. Many events all over the world try to imitate the style but whereas most of them just attract a small amount of people willing to dive into this time at Goodwood almost all of the attending visitors are dressed in period style making one forget that this is held in the 21st century. This might also be the only car event that seems to attract as many women as men showing that the actual racing is just part of the overall experience on the three days in September. Although this concept was already followed with the first Revival in 1998 after the restoration of the historic race course Lord March and his team extended the offering over the years with more and more attractions to give the visitors a matching surrounding to their outfit with a period village including supermarket and shops plus actors to entertain and animate. As the space within the grounds of the racing circuit is limited the fun fair and parts of the exhibitor booths went “over the road” to the outside a few years ago to entertain people even when the racing is over. Until late in the evening the beer tents, merry-go-round and scooters were very well visited adding to the experience of the weekend.

When visiting the Revival for the first time some might be overwhelmed by the ambience forgetting that the Revival is also fascinating racing on a race track that was built long before modern safety standards including FIA-regulation fences. Aside some grandstands mainly in the area around the chicane the circuit can be watched from almost every place on nature stands, early in the morning people are taking the best places by setting up their picnic chairs and blankets to enjoy the practice sessions on Friday and the 16 races on Saturday and Sunday.

Before the Goodwood circuit was used for motor racing the area served as Royal Air Force Station in WWII, a time that is also featured that weekend with air displays of the period Mustang and Spitfire models plus some static displays of rare and interesting planes of different eras. Beside the patriotism that surely is part of these demonstrations it has to be mentioned that the German Junkers JU-52 was admired in the same way as the British planes when doing some laps over the show field. This famous plane was used both in civil usage before the war but also as troop carrier during the war, the example in Goodwood was a civilian Lufthansa version that was brought over from Germany for this rare appearance in England. As the places near the grass runway are very well visited during the lift-off and flyby of the prop planes one could see that the Revival also attracts a lot of aviation enthusiasts.

After the military usage of the areal the first race meeting was held in 1948 that was won by Sir Stirling Moss whose career is linked to the Goodwood Circuit like no one else´s. Beside many other race meetings in Goodwood from 1958 to 1964 the Royal Automobile Club (RAC) held the Tourist Trophy here, with a small discontinuity as part of the World Sportscar Championship, the first 4 editions were all won by Moss. Especially the 1959 edition comes to mind as the last race of the season was the TT to decide the Championship. After Aston Martin won the Le Mans 24 hours a few weeks earlier a win at Goodwood was needed for the overall victory when the DBR1 of leading drivers Moss and Salvadori caught fire in the pits so Stirling joined Jack Fairman & Carroll Shelby to secure the victory in the sister car. As this year´s tribute was held in honour of another Goodwood legend, the late Jim Clark including a lot of his race cars from the successful Lotus years, Sir Stirling partnered his former team mate Tony Brooks in the DBR1 to lead the parade.

The Scottish sheep farmer Jim Clark won his first Formula 1 championship exactly 50 years ago, his race history is deeply linked to Colin Chapman and Lotus as he did not just race for Lotus in F1 but also in many F2 races, at 5 successive Indy 500 races (which he won in 1965) but also at Touring car series in the Lotus Cortina. After a presentation of a movie on the main straight featuring the successful career of Clark on Saturday former rivals and friends paid tribute in a parade with Sir Jackie Stewart driving one of the championship winning Lotus 25 and fellow countryman and Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti the 1965 Indy winning Lotus- Ford 38. They were joined by John Surtees who crashed his Ferrari 250 GTO with Jim Clark driving one of the Ogier Racing Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato in the TT 1962.

This also leads to the centenary display of Aston Martin that featured some exciting cars both in the Earl Courts Motor Show and the paddock. No less than 3 of the 5 DBR1 built were joined by 3 DB4GT Zagato (including 1VEV that was also driven by Clark) in addition to some very early cars including the oldest surviving Aston Martin (A3). Unfortunately the Brooklands Trophy is just raced every second year, the race for pre-war sports cars usually includes some of the famous Ulsters, so their engines stayed quiet this weekend in the paddocks.

Half the age of Aston Martin is the famous Ford GT40. The story of Henry Ford II and the failed purchase of Ferrari were told very often and the GT40 was built to succeed over the Italians on the most famous race in the world, the Le Mans 24 hours. Named after its height of 40 inches the GT40 should become the most successful Le Mans racer of the late 1960s. The GT40 was entered in 1964 and 1965 but failed to finish, in 1966 the long awaited victory was achieved with the big block MKII when no less than 8 of them were lined up side by side at La Sarthe to finish an all GT40 podium. In 1967 Ford was back with the all new MKIV featuring the big engine in an innovative aluminium monocoque, in difference to the MKII that was developed by the Ford development team in Slough (GB) the new car was an all American development and winning with an American driver pairing of Dan Gurney & A. J. Foyt was all Henry Ford wanted as this ended the official Ford GT40 race programme. But the story of the GT40 continued as the very same MKI entered by John Wyer won the following two editions of the French classic.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the GT40 the Whitsun Trophy was reserved to this model in a two-driver 45 minute race, one of the highlights of the weekend. Two years ago the single model races started in Goodwood with a Jaguar E-Type race and after the AC Cobra of the last edition this was again an all American single car race. The Whitsun Trophy is normally reserved for the big bangers of McLaren, Lola and Ford but it was a special moment seeing 27 GT40 coming down the main straight towards Madgwick in full race speed on Saturday. After difficult conditions the day before with a slippery wet circuit during the practice session the main race fortunately stayed dry that day making this the fastest race of the weekend with the winning GT40 of Red Bull Star designed Adrian Newey partnering Kenny Brack achieving an average of more than 100 mph.

Despite an encouraged practice session (watch the on-board video here <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jF__B1xpJY>) the Newey/Brack GT40 just started on second position behind the pole sitting GT40 of Jordan/Walker and with a horrible start of Newey dropped back to the seventh position in turn one. In the following few laps the front was very close with several position changes, Emanuele Pirro took the lead in the seventh lap to keep it until the drivers change in lap 17 when he handed over to Shaun Lynn, Kenny Brack (who took over from Newey four laps earlier) took the lead to drive home a comfortable 12 second margin.

But not all of the GT40 owners where keen on driving a full race as a few more examples were shown in a parade lap both on Saturday and Sunday including 3 of the 1966 entered MKII lead by the black Le Mans winning No.2 (1046). Just on the back of the pit lane buildings a special large diorama of the Le Mans pits featured a spectacular line-up and was one of the crowd-pullers as soon as the cars were pushed out of their box just as it was when the Silver Arrows of Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union were at the same spot last year.

What makes Goodwood also so special is the amount of top drivers in the grids and on the demonstration laps. Every other event would be happy to attract a fraction of these names and normally some of them just visit events as ambassadors of the big manufacturers but in Goodwood they are there simply to enjoy racing. Especially the St. Mary’s Trophy for Touring Cars and the main race, the RAC TT Celebration entry lists read like the who- is-who of modern and historic sports car racing, where else can you see nine times Le Mans champion Tom Kristensen racing against five times champions Derek Bell and Emanuele Pirro in addition to touring cars aces Jonny Cecotto, Steve Soper and Frank Stippler along with Rauno Aaltonen and Jackie Oliver to name a few. All these climb into legendary touring cars including BMW 1800, Mini Cooper, Alfa Romeo GTA, Lotus Cortina or the big Ford Galaxie in the St. Mary’s Trophy, two one-driver races added to the final team result. On Saturday the professional and prominent drivers’ slide the cars with a lot of body roll through the chicane, on Sunday the owners do their best to keep up the pace.

The Saturday race was one of the most interesting ones of the weekend. With wet conditions on Friday’s practice the field was mixed, some of the more powerful cars were further back in the grid as they were not able to get their power on the road. The pole was taken by Oliver Gavin in the Mini Cooper followed by no less than 3 BMW 1800 of Cecotto, Oliver and Soper.

On Saturday the conditions were dry and Jackie Oliver had the best start leading the field for the first 4 laps, followed by Jochen Mass in the Ford Galaxie who took the lead for the following 4 laps. Coming from further back was Tom Kristensen in another Ford Galaxie (starting 9th) and Frank Stippler in the Alfa Romeo GTA (starting 15th) who made their way to the front in formation, Stippler took the lead in the 9th lap just to lose it to Kristensen in the second to last lap finishing just 0.7 seconds behind “Mr Le Mans” in a thrilling finish with Jochen Mass joining them on the podium.

These were also the fastest 3 cars at the race the next day with the two Fords changing places; in addition the Alfa GTA took the overall victory after two second places.

The main race of the weekend is without doubt the RAC TT Celebration, a two-driver 1 hour race for GT cars from 1960 to 1964 in the spirit of the original RAC TT of that period. Back in the 1960s these races were all won by the Ferrari 250, either as SWB or GTO, today this is one of the most valuable grids of the entire weekend with the three variations of the GTO (62-type, 64- type and 4 Litre version), some Aston Martin DB4 GT, Ferrari 250 GT SWB, AC Cobra and Lightweight E-Types. After two practice sessions on Friday and Saturday the race saw two AC Cobra in the front row with Jean Alesi in the Ferrari 250 GTO/64 in between. When the cars were waved off the Ferrari was in the lead at the first corner but Jean Alesi was later penalised for a jump start. During the first laps no less than 6 cars drove within 2 seconds in a close wheel to wheel battle until the safety car came out for the first time in lap 6. When the race was green flagged again 7 cars pulled away from the field, after lap 12 the first cars to enter the pits for the drivers change included the Aston Martin Project 212 handed over by owner Wolfgang Friedrich to Simon Hadfield, during this period the Aston was running somewhere in the back of the field but still within the same lap as the cars in front. In the next laps more and more cars came into the pits before another safety car phase sorted the field after the pit stops. The Lister-Jaguar Coupé driven by Anthony Reid stayed in front and pulled away when the pouring rain set in just like two years ago. In very difficult conditions the only car in the field driving the same speed was the Aston Martin of Hadfield, coming from tenth position after all driver changes the car made its way through the field about 20 seconds behind the Lister being forth in lap 28, just two laps later he was already second closing up to the leading Lister in just two further laps. During this period Hadfield was the only one who could keep his lap time at the low 1:50s whereas most of the other cars were lapping just less than two minutes. Just on the start-finish line on the second to last lap the Aston took the lead, one lap later he was already leading with more than 10 seconds ahead of the Lister who secured second place ahead of the father-son team of Grahame & Oliver Bryant in the pole-sitting AC Cobra.

Being the first ever victory for an Aston Martin in the RAC TT Celebration at the Revival Simon Hadfield just stopped on the cool down lap in front of the grandstand celebrating this unexpected victory, joined by Wolfgang Friedrichs on the finish line when they received their laurels for a deserved victory. Being in its centenary this final victory at one of the most prestigious races of the year is certainly the dot over the i of this year’s Aston Martin celebrations.

Beside the GT cars and several classes of open wheeled Formula cars the Revival usually features two sports car races divided by the year 1955, the cars before that date in the Freddie March Memorial Trophy and the later in the Sussex Trophy. In memory of the 9 hours Goodwood race the Freddie March Memorial Trophy was intended to race into the sunset on Friday evening in a 90 minutes two-driver race. Unfortunately the weather on Friday evening was very bad and due to the clouds it was already almost dark when the race started at 6:20 pm. When the rain set in it became soon clear that the race could not run over the full distance and it was shortened to one hour. What was intended to be one of the highlights of the weekend was finally chequered flagged in front of almost empty grandstands as most of the spectators left when the rain started. The race was dominated by a trio of Jaguar C-Type with the first of the featured Aston Martin coming home fifth.

The second sports car race on Sunday, the Sussex Trophy even started in the wet as the rain did not stop after the RAC TT Celebration as it did two years ago. Anthony Reid in the long nose Jaguar D-Type had a good start taking the lead into the first corner followed by Emanuele Pirro in the Kobbly-Lister-Jaguar, pole sitter Julian Majzub was just 15th at the end of the first lap. Started at the 19th position Rick Hall on Maserati 300S finished the first lap on sixth position to catch up with Reid by half of the race distance leaving the last 7 laps a duel between those two with various changes in the lead with the better end for the Jaguar giving Reid the victory he just lost on the last laps of the RAC TT Celebration.

These are just few of the very interesting races this weekend, our galleries feature all races in chronological order with all the participating cars so one get an impression of the different race classes. Unfortunately the weather was not the best but the changing conditions on all three days led to some of the most interesting races. Certainly the rain could not spoil the ambience; maybe some of the spectators might look for matching wellies for next year to be prepared even for these conditions. If you want to experience the Revival by yourself (what we highly recommend) both tickets and accommodation should be booked early as both will certainly booked out again well in advance when the 17th edition will be held in September 2014. Make sure that you are dressed in period style as this a big part of the fun.

Report & images ... Peter Singhof