WORDS: ELLIOTT HUGHES | PHOTOS: GOODWOOD
The 25th edition of the Goodwood Revival is now in the rear-view mirror, following a spectacular, sun-drenched weekend of Historic racing, on-track demonstrations and period fashion. Here’s our rundown of the ten greatest moments from 2023’s motor sport extravaganza.
1: ON-TRACK DEMONSTRATIONS
The Goodwood Revival’s annual selection of on-track demonstrations often provides some of the most evocative and special moments of the weekend, and 2023 was no different. This year’s demonstrations celebrated the life of Carroll Shelby, 75 years of Lotus and the 50th anniversary of Jackie Stewart’s last World Championship.
Carroll Shelby would have turned 100 back in January of this year, and that milestone was marked poignantly with swathes of Cobras and GT40s, alongside lesser-known vehicles from the American’s motor-racing career. Aston Martin was represented by a DB3S, DBR2 and DBR4, and there was also a pair of Sunbeam Tigers in addition to a Maserati ‘Birdcage’.
Meanwhile, a 75-car fleet of Lotuses marked the brand’s 75th anniversary, and included a selection of legendary JPS-liveried Formula 1 cars, the radical gas-turbine-powered Lotus 56, and the Lotus 18 that Stirling Moss used to secure the marque’s first Grand Prix victory in 1960.
The tribute to Sir Jackie Stewart saw the Scot touchingly reunited with his championship-winning Tyrrell-Cosworth 006, treating crowds to the sight and sound of his DFV-powered Formula 1 challenger as he put in demonstration laps around the Goodwood Motor Circuit.
2: STAR DRIVERS AND SUSTAINABLE FUELS IN FORDWATER TROPHY
While the Revival focuses on motor racing from a bygone era, this year the event also turned its attention to the direction of Historic racing in the near future by fuelling the Fordwater Trophy’s 30-car field of pre-1966 Porsche 911s exclusively on synthetic fuels.
A star-studded entry list helped to shine the spotlight on the potential of synthetic fuels even further, with the likes of Mark Webber, Jenson Button and Tom Kristensen oversteering for victory. Predictably, it led to some of the closest and most spectacular racing of the weekend.
The race was briefly curtailed in the opening laps when the number 52 car of Richard Tuthill span violently into the tyre wall, bringing out the safety car. After racing resumed, it was the combination of Andrew Jordan and Matthew Holme that took the chequered flag.
3: LAVANT CUP AND KARUN’S FIERY SAVE
One of the most impressive saves in recent Revival history came courtesy of Endaf Owens, whose cat-like reactions rescued him from a lurid slide during the 2021 John Whitmore Trophy Mini race.
This year, however, it was Karun Chandhok who demonstrated his innate car control by keeping his Ferrari 250GTO out of the path of his oncoming rivals after a dramatic engine failure locked a rear wheel, pitching the car into a fiery spin.
Karun’s histrionics aside, the Lavant Cup was easily one of the most beautiful, sonorous and expensive contests of the weekend, with a grid that included several Ferrari 250GT SWBs and the famous Giotto Bizzarrini-designed 250GT ‘Breadvan’. Rob Hall triumphed in his gorgeous 250LM, ahead of Emanuele Pirro and Alexander Ames.
4: THE LATE QUEEN’S LAND ROVERS
The one-year anniversary of the death of Queen Elizabeth II fell on the Revival’s opening day on September 9. Goodwood and the Duke of Richmond paid touching tributes to Her Majesty shortly after her death in 2022, and followed that up this year with a special cavalcade of her beloved Land Rovers.
A highlight of the ten-car parade included chassis L31 – a 1948 pre-production prototype that is one of the earliest Land Rovers ever produced. There was also a pair of 1953 Series 1 models, one of which was used for ceremonial purposes, while the other was regularly driven by the late Queen and her family.
5: FREDDIE MARCH SPIRIT OF AVIATION CONCOURS
Some of the rarest and most beautiful planes from aviation history were brought to the Motor Circuit – which was originally an RAF base during World War Two – for the Revival’s concours d’elegance for pre-1966 aircraft.
This year, television presenter Noel Edmonds, Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason and Zara Rutherford, the youngest female pilot to circumnavigate the globe, were among those sitting on the judging panel.
The 1936 Focke Wulf Stieglitz Red D-EMNN was awarded Best in Show, and was joined by a 1939 Spartan Executive and a 1941 Fairey Swordfish on the rostrum. The 1928 Travel Air 4000 received the Rob Wildeboer Cup for the best restoration.
Results aside, it was a rare privilege to be in the presence of such elegant and noteworthy examples of engineering.
6: RAC TT CELEBRATION
Often regarded as the jewel in the crown of the Revival race card, expectations for the RAC TT Celebration are always sky high. This year, there was palpable excitement before the event got underway when rain began to fall on the Motor Circuit, which had been baked by hot weather all weekend.
The slippery grid provided a dramatic race start as drivers scrambled for grip before thundering towards Madgwick. Marino Franchitti took advantage in the no. 1 Cobra, pouncing from fifth on the grid and into the race lead.
Umbrellas could be seen in the crowd as the rain came down once again. The turbulent weather tripped up the no. 64 Cobra and the Bizzarrini 5300GT, both of which had big collisions with the tyre wall. The race was then red-flagged and was eventually restarted in wet conditions.
The no. 1 Cobra was then reeled in by the chasing Jaguar E-type of William Paul and Andy Priaulx, before losing second place to the E-type of Richard Kent and Nicolas Minassian shortly afterwards.
7: MAGNIFICENT MOTORCYCLES
Fans of classic motorcycles had plenty to get excited about at this year’s Revival, starting with the track-opening parade conducted by around 200 collector bikes built by the likes of Harley-Davidson, BMW Motorrad, Royal Enfield, Indian, Triumph and BSA among others. Visitors could then peruse the eclectic selection of machinery in the paddock and chat with the period-attired riders.
Another must-see for motorcycle enthusiasts was the fierce, daredevil duels seen in the Barry Sheene Memorial Trophy contests. Part One saw the Norton Manx 30M of George Thomas and Davey Todd take pole, ahead of Ian Bain and Steve Brogan. After the dramatic Le Mans start, Michael Dunlop, Steve Brogan and John McGuinness all fought for victory; however, it was the Matchless G50 of Steve Plater and Ben English that emerged victorious.
Part Two saw Norton Manx lock out the podium, with Michael Rutter and Michael Russell taking the win ahead of Todd and Thomas in second, and Bain and Brogan in third. The result of Part Two handed Rutter and Russell the overall win.
8: WHITSUN TROPHY
The final race on Saturday saw thunderous 1960s sports prototypes clash for victory in the fastest and loudest contest of the weekend. Stuart Hall started on pole in his 1966 McLaren M1B ahead of the Lola T70 Spyder of Oli Bryant. A smoky grid start saw both men passed by former IndyCar racer James Davison.
Drama ensued with 14 minutes to go, when the Lola T70 Spyder of Julian Draper crashed out of fifth place, bringing out the safety car. Davison masterfully resisted the pressure from second-place man Bryant once the race got back underway, taking a narrow one-and-a-half-second victory.
9: SETTRINGTON CUP
Ironically, it isn’t horsepower that decides one of the most popular and hotly contested races of the weekend – it’s pedal power. Naturally, that race is the Settrington Cup for Austin J40 pedal cars, which is open to children aged 11 and under.
Part One saw one of the closest finishes seen in the Settrington Cup’s 11-year history, with Austin Buncombe taking the win ahead of Leo Evans by just half a second. Luca Franchitti rounded out the podium. Josh Johnston took a dominant 10.57-second victory in Part Two, followed by Francis Fisken and Fred Horne.
10: ST MARY’S TROPHY
The ‘David and Goliath’ battles of the St Mary’s Trophy for Historic saloons are some of the most keenly anticipated of the weekend. This year’s edition was open to cars built between 1950 and 1959, and included NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson appear on the entry list alongside Rowan Atkinson and nine-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen.
Seven-litre V8 grunt and superb driving saw Romain Dumas take victory in his Ford Thunderbird ahead of Rob Huff in his Jaguar Mk2. Tom Kristensen finished in third and was the star of the race, having diced through the field in his Austin A40 from his lowly 24th-place grid slot.
The second St Mary’s Trophy race was the weekend’s grand finale, with the combined time of the two competitions determining who won overall. Fred Shephard brought his Ford Thunderbird home ahead of the Mk1 Jaguars of Chris Ward and Thomas Butterfield, taking the overall win with team-mate Dumas.