Goodwood has played host to the Sport of Kings for over 200 years. From its tentative launch as a flat horseracing course for local officers by the third Duke of Richmond in 1802, to its colourful programme of events, fixtures, weddings and entertaining, Goodwood is one of Britain’s great estates and historic homes. The current Duke of Richmond, who trained as an accountant, and his son, Lord March, ensure that the Goodwood Estate is enjoyed by a wide range of visitors and maximises its fullest potential – while retaining its essentially English charm. The Goodwood racecourse is undoubtedly the jewel in the family’s crown.
Those halcyon days
The romance and glamour of motor racing as it used to be. The Revival is the only historic race meeting to be staged entirely in period dress and is a return to the halcyon days of Goodwood as the spiritual home of British motor racing.
It’s an unabashed celebration of flat-out wheel-to-wheel racing, around the sweeps and curves of this classic circuit, which remains unchanged since its heyday. The inaugural Revival opened on 18 September 998, when the Earl of March drove around the circuit in the Bristol 400 in which his grandfather, the 9th Duke of Richmond, opened the track 50 years before. It’s now the world’s most celebrated historic motor racing event, with race fans soaking up the unique atmosphere in period costume.
The West Sussex-based Goodwood Motor Circuit originally opened its gates to the public on September 1948 to host Britain’s very first post-war motor race meeting at a permanent venue.
Twelve years earlier, Goodwood’s very first motor sport event was staged when a hill climb meeting was held for a small group of pre-war Lancia enthusiasts, hosted by the 9th Duke of Richmond, Freddie March.
The origins of the Goodwood track derive from an ex-military airfield. RAF Westhampnett, named after the village bordering Goodwood, served as a Battle of Britain base during the War and was the station from which RAF legend Sir Douglas Bader flew his last sortie.
On 18 September 1998, exactly 50 years to the day since the Goodwood circuit first opened, the 9th Duke’s grandson, the present Earl of March, re-enacted the opening of the track at the very first Goodwood Revival meeting in the same Bristol 400 that his grandfather had used half a century earlier on the same track, untouched by the modern world.
Prior to the first Revival meeting in 1998, the circuit was painstakingly restored to look exactly as it did in its heyday, down to the very last detail. Goodwood’s other famous motor sport event, the Goodwood Festival of Speed, was established in 1993 and has gone on to become the world’s largest celebration of motoring culture. Staged in summer in the grounds of Goodwood Park, the Festival attracts the best drivers and vehicles on the planet, including most of the current Formula 1 teams, plus Le Mans winners, racing motorcycles, supercars, and much more besides.