Image: Stirling Moss 1948 at Goodwood Motor Circuit
On 18 September 2023 the Goodwood Motor Circuit celebrated its 75th anniversary and looked back on three quarters of a century of unique motorsport history and heritage.
Following the conversion of the perimeter road of RAF Westhampnett, the 9th Duke and Duchess of Richmond opened the Goodwood Motor Circuit on Saturday 18 September 1948, in their Bristol 400. It was the very first race meeting to be held at Goodwood, and it proved an auspicious day, as Stirling Moss claimed his first race win, establishing Goodwood as the spiritual home of British motor racing.
Between 1948 and 1966, the Circuit hosted World Champions Jack Brabham, Jim Clark, Juan Manuel Fangio, Giuseppe Farina, Mike Hawthorn, Phil Hill, Graham Hill, Denny Hulme, Jochen Rindt, John Surtees and Sir Jackie Stewart, along with a host of other stars. Following the cessation of racing in 1966, some of the biggest and best-known racing teams, including Brabham, Eagle, Ford, Honda, Lotus, McLaren and Tyrrell, continued to test their cars at Goodwood.
When the Earl of March (now 11th Duke of Richmond) returned to Goodwood in the early 1990s he set about bringing motorsport back to Goodwood, succeeding first with the Festival of Speed in the parkland surrounding Goodwood House in 1993, and following this five years later with the Goodwood Revival at the Goodwood Motor Circuit.
On Friday 18 September 1998, 50 years to the day since the inaugural meeting, The Duke of Richmond followed in his grandfather’s wheel tracks by opening the very first Goodwood Revival in a Bristol 400. Continuing the tradition, The Duke opened the 2023 event last weekend in a Bristol 400.
The Duke of Richmond, founder of the Festival of Speed and Goodwood Revival, said: “Today sees the culmination of a year of celebrations at Goodwood, with 2023 marking not only 75 years of the Goodwood Motor Circuit, but also 30 years of the Festival of Speed and 25 years of the Goodwood Revival and Goodwood Road Racing Club. I’d like to thank everyone who has joined us at Goodwood throughout the year to celebrate our anniversaries - it has been fantastic to share the occasion with you all. I’m not sure my grandfather could have ever envisaged that we would still be racing here at Goodwood 75 years later, but it's wonderful to see how much joy it brings to people. Here’s to the next 75 years!”
A bumper year of celebrations
In what has been a truly exceptional year for motorsport at Goodwood, our ‘Goodwood 75’ celebrations have seen us celebrate 30 years of the Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard, 25 years of the Goodwood Revival and Goodwood Road Racing Club and now 75 years of the Motor Circuit.
Throughout the ‘Goodwood 75’ celebrations, Goodwood and The Duke of Richmond have been determined to recognise the rich history of motorsport, whilst continuing to look forward and ensure its future. For instance, the 30th edition of the Festival of Speed saw the return of four-time Formula 1 Champion Sebastian Vettel promoting his ‘Race Without Trace’ programme, driving Formula 1 cars from his own collection on sustainable fuel, as well as the event’s biggest-ever celebration of MotoGP.
The 25th Goodwood Revival paid a meaningful tribute to one of the Circuit’s luminaries, as Sir Jackie Stewart took to the track in his 1973 Tyrrell 006, 50 years to the day since he secured the last of his three world championships. The Revival also hosted its first all-sustainable fuel race and celebrated the first sustainably-fuelled winner in the Rudge-Whitworth Cup as the driver pairing of Ben Collings and Gareth Graham took the chequered flag in their 1925 Bentley Speed Model.
The Goodwood Road Racing Club (GRRC) has marked its silver jubilee with a series of special moments for its founding members. These included a photo moment at the Festival of Speed in front of the Central Feature and a grid walk on the Sunday afternoon of the Goodwood Revival ahead of the Royal Automobile Club TT Celebration. As we look ahead to the next 75 years of motorsport here at Goodwood, the growing GRRC community of motorsport enthusiasts remains at the heart of Goodwood’s iconic events and motoring legacy.
On Sunday 4 June, Goodwood Motor Circuit hosted 75th Sunday, a special one-off Breakfast Club to celebrate the cars and bikes that have made Goodwood so special over the last 75 years. We welcomed everything from a Jaguar XJR-15 to a Raleigh Runabout across the morning. We also revealed a number of photo moments for visitors to capture and share images as part of the #Goodwood75 campaign. Users on social media were given the opportunity to win a Revival Racing Experience and a Goodwood 75 goodie bag for sharing their best photos taken at the circuit.
As the Circuit continues to evolve, we opened our new Race Simulator Suite in June that features 4 Exsim VR5 Simulators that use D Box actuator technology and custom-developed motion profiles, which allow users to drive some of the most iconic cars that have driven on track over the years for the ultimate race simulator experience.
To mark the occasion, Goodwood’s 75-year motorsport history has been immortalised in a new publication: 75 Years of Motorsport at Goodwood. The beautifully-curated hardback features photographs and stories from across the years. Available from the Goodwood Shop.