Goodwood Revival 2016… It was a lovely month of September. The perfect weather: cold enough to wear a sweater without being too hot. The reason I mention this, is because I’ve lived my FIRST Goodwood Revival in September 2016. And when I say I lived, I literally mean it: Revival is an event you experience in all sorts of different ways, that I will try to portrey in a mere few lines. First of all, Goodwood Revival is an event that celebrates the golden era of the Goodwood Motor Circuit, from the 1948 – 1967. Everything revolves around that period in time: clothes, atmosphere and, obviously, cars. I have to admit, I have never been the biggest fan of “classic cars”. My knowledge is very poor, to say the least (but I’m working on it, and learning every day). But even without being a huge fan of the genre, I was immediately immersed in the almost magical atmosphere here at the Goodwood Motor circuit.
It all started with the clothes. I wouldn’t be lying if I said almost 99% of the people attending Goodwood Revival respect the dress-code and play along in the most lovely way. Everyone is dressed with clothes from the 50s / 60s, wether they chose to follow a classic way (tweed jackets, nice shoes, old suits, big hats for the ladies) or if they went for a more excentric style, dressing up as a mechanic, an army man, a police man… as long as it feels “classic” and from that time period. I was happily surprised by how well everyone respected this dress-code, and I have to bow my hat to the Goodwood public. Or should I say to the english? Indeed, the difference with France is quite sad. In our classic events, even though a lot of people respect the dress-code, you’ll always find a bunch of persons that are completely out of the mood. Call me old-fashion, but I think it kind of ruins the mood a little bit. Luckily, there was none of that here! Anyways, I opted for a blue tweed jacket, pants, a berret (how french of me) and camper shoes (I couldn’t risk my “real shoes” in the rain, and it wouldn’t be comfortable to walk around, film and do what I had to do).
I was greeted by a bunch of random people that were screaming around at the entrance, celebrating, cheering, chanting. I learned after that they were recreating the 50 years since England won the world cup in Football. I thought that was a very cool touch, a way to start off the day by being in the right mood stray away. You almost felt as if you were back in 1966 as soon as you entered the gates. Throughout the week-end, there would be a lot of different actors / showmen, doing animations and activities, that would keep you in the “50s” mood, if you ever were to fall out of it. It was absolutely incredible. I mean, I even roller-skated, for crying out loud. ME. And it was awesome! There are a lot of things to do, it’s not just “car racing”. Revival is an event where you can take your whole family and have fun and enjoy yourself: there’s stuff to do for the little ones, for the ladies (beauty saloons, hairdressers etc), for everyone, really!
There were a bunch of races to be held during the week-end, with an insane amount of incredibly rare and expensive cars. Most of them had raced in Goodwood. Being the man that I am, I couldn’t help but focus on the mythical cars that interested me the most. And there were quite a few. For starters, the Ferrari. About 5 or 6 different Ferrari 250 GT SWB were there in the paddocks, including a lovely light blue one. I would’ve loved to see the Stirling Moss one, but it sadly wasn’t there (not sure it was planned either).
They were parked right next to TWO different Ferrari 250 GTO (and a Ferrari 330 GTO). There was a 250 GTO I particularily cherish because of its excentric look: the green & yellow one. It’s hard to say what my favorite 250 GTO is, but this one is definitely in the TOP10 (how’s that for a chart, with only 36 cars haha). There also was another 250 GTO (the 64′ version, not a fan), next to a 250 LM with same spec (Maranello Concessionnaires). Definitely same owner, and he definitely has a lot of taste, too. And they both raced together during the week-end.
There also were a bunch of Aston Martin DB4, as well as DB4 Zagato. Some Ford GT40… Basically, there were so many cool cars that it was quite hard to focus. Everywhere you wandered, there were insane eye-candy that would catch your attention and steal you from whatever it is you were doing. There were quite a few Jaguar D-Type as well. And to be honest, this kind of bugged me. I noticed that each and every one was slightly different: either they had different wheel, windshield, one-seater or two-seater… etc etc. Basically, this reinforced my thought that classic cars are rather hard to differentiate and analyze if you’re an amateur, like myself. Indeed, some cars that share the same model don’t always share the exact specs, which makes it that much harder for me to differentiate this model from that model. But then again, what is life about if it’s not learning, huh?
In a very Goodwood-feel, it was beautiful to see the mechanics working on the cars in the paddock area. Not only because I love the atmosphere, but because they as well were dressed as mechanics from the 50s! And that was pretty pretty cool. Even our “press badges” were from that era (though that wasn’t the most practical thing, especially when rain destroyed the paper badge lol). The atmosphere everywhere was simply too cool, they had recreated things, like a London tube station from the old days, and it was quite realistic. Everything was in the mood: shops, memorabilia, posters, ads… you couldn’t tell the difference, except for all the smartphones & external batteries around! 🙂
It’s always fantastic to see such expensive cars race in Goodwood like there’s no tomorrow. Because if there’s one thing we can not take back from them, is their competivity on the track. For the most part, they’re not messing around or doing demo laps. They’re racing. The Kinrara Trophy race was probably the most awesome thing. The 45-minute race departed at dusk, and it luckily wasn’t raining that day. That is my favorite part of the day because the light is just right. Slightly orange, slightly pink-ish, giving everything around a warm feeling.
If you are like me, and are more interested in “modern cars”, don’t worry. Goodwood Revival still has some surprises. Indeed, they had a 1950s motorshow inside a big building. The whole thing was meant to recreate a motor show from yore, and I have to admit it was quite well-organized. Not only did everyone dressed-up helped to make you feel back in time, but they had installed a lot of decor and props that simply felt “out of place”. It was awesome! That being said, most cars inside were modern! Including an incredible Lamborghini exhibition, featuring super rare cars as the Lamborghini Miura JOTA or the Lamborghini Gallardo Concept S. But it ranged from everything: Countach, Diablo, Aventador, Murcielago SV, Reventon, Miura… it was absolutely top-notch quality show.
On my last day, I got to live an absolutely incredible experience. Everything was perfect for it: the sun was out, it was warm, everything was good. And I was offered the opportunity to have a ride with none other than the motor sport legend Sir Stirling Moss. It was quite baffling toe be honest, and I still can’t explain how insane & exquisite this was, but I tried to give it a shot IN THIS ARTICLE I wrote for the occasion (what? I believe it deserved its OWN article haha). I can’t thank enough the Goodwood staff for this experience! Once in a lifetime, really.
I’ve met a lot of different people at the Goodwood Revival, from all over the world. From Indian friends who came all the way for this, to supercar owners, events organizers, photographers… It was great! I spent a lot of time with my photographer friend Julien Mahielsen (aka JMimaging), and it was a very good thing: he’s actually much more knowledgeable than me on classic cars. He was the best guide I could’ve hoped for during this week-end, and we had a LOT of fun as well.
To finish-up, Goodwood Revival was an absolute blast. For a first experience, it was definitely an insane one, that I’m not about to forget. Everything worked out just fine, and much more. If you haven’t been there, or if you haven’t had the occasion yet… trust me, don’t delay! Do it! You will NOT regret it. I can’t believe it’s only my first and I haven’t done this more often in the past. Shame on me. Haha
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