Goodwood is proud to announce ‘Goodwood 75’, a year of celebrations across its motorsport events and venues in 2023. As well as paying tribute to the incredible history and heritage of motorsport at Goodwood, the Goodwood 75 festivities will embrace the future of motorsport, something which Goodwood has continuously championed throughout the years.
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.
Main Image Caption: Stirling Moss at Goodwood Motor Circuit (1948)
Main Image Credit: British Automobile Racing Club Archive