It’s hard to believe that the Goodwood Revival 2019 has come and gone again. With memories of the deluge from a few years back, and snow during last year’s Members’ Meeting still fresh in my memory, you can imagine the relief after having enjoyed three days of pristine late-summer weather. With midday temperatures up in the mid-20s and cloudless, almost windless days, you could not have wished for better conditions for the 22nd running of this famous motorsport spectacle.
I have attended the Goodwood Revival many times over the years, but not having attended now for a few years, I had forgotten what a fabulous event this is. The Duke of Richmond and his team have outdone themselves this year, as it just seems that things are even better than they have been in previous years…if that was possible. The whole operation just seems to have been ratcheted up a level or two, as the décor, the props, and the thought that has been put into every display around the entire venue, is so well thought through.
Ensuring that everything comes together on the day, a small army made up of permanent staff, support staff, temp staff, officials and volunteers, all pitch in to make the weekend what it is. These include the likes of motorsport officials, event planning and coordination, content planning, marketing, sales, media and public relations, catering, actors, partnership and sponsorship management, medical staff, hospitality, legals, finance, aerodrome personnel…you name it!
Oh…and then there was the motor racing. It is awesome to watch how the drivers have to really balance the car on the throttle with such passion and skill, constantly working the steering this way and that. Corners are taken in a controlled drift, but this is how these cars were intended to be driven back in the day due to tyre and braking technology available then. Having spent a lot of time over the years photographing modern GTE sports racing cars, you realise, by comparison, how clinically they are guided around the track, as if on rails. By contrast, these historic race cars look alive!
By comparison, photographing the RAC TT Celebration race track side down at Madgwick, it was fascinating to watch the Cobras, Corvettes, E-types and others as they exited the long corner sideways, bumping over the curbs, and then squirmed under power as they headed off down the Fordwater straight.
If any spectators have ever entertained the notion that, due to the astronomical value of some of these race cars, that the drivers somehow take things easy around the track giving each other a wide birth in the corners, that idea should be quickly abandoned. Having heard from more than just a few of the drivers, there is no quarter given between competitors, and if anything, the cars are driven faster today than they were in period.
How could these cars be driven faster today than they were in period? Well, that question is fairly quickly answered, because the march of technology and innovation has been relentless since the 1950s and 1960s. Tyres, lubricants, fuels, brake pads and other components have all improved over the years, and this allows the older cars to run faster than they did in period. But along with that development, the older suspension systems and mechanical components are now having to cope with much higher levels of stress as the G-forces generated by the higher speeds through corners has increased tremendously. So, the struggle facing teams today, is to ensure that these older cars are maintained to the highest possible standards, not only with performance in mind, but also safety. With everyone doing their best to ensure these high standards are maintained, it all adds up to a greater racing spectacle, and this is what the spectators are paying to see, so everyone wins!
Added to the racing spectacle, was the appearance by so many past racing greats such as Derek Bell, John Fitzpatrick, Jochen Mass, Richard Attwood and so many others in the wide spectrum of racing categories. It is also really refreshing to see how many current (younger) racing drivers, and those who have only recently given up full time racing, have been attracted to drive in the Revival. For instance, Andre Lotterer was behind the wheel of a Cobra, Tom Kristensen was in a Ferrari 250 GT SWB, Darren Turner was in an AC Cobra, Emanuele Pirro was driving a Lightweight E-type, Neel Jani was driving an E-type, Derek Bell was in the cockpit of a Porsche 904, Peter Dumbreck piloted a Corvette Stingray…and so many more. This makes the whole spectacle of Goodwood so much more relevant for both the older spectators as well as the younger ones.
Right from Friday’s practice and qualifying rounds, the action on the track was fast-paced and captivating. Being a Porsche website, we of course focussed on the Stuttgart brand, but not totally, as we felt that racing enthusiasts of a certain age recognise quality race cars when they see them.
As I arrived at the circuit just after lunch on the Friday, I was only in time to photograph the RAC TT Celebration and the Whitsun Trophy official practice sessions. Still, these two 25-minute and 20-minute sessions respectively, provided a taste of what was to come. There were two Porsche 904 Carrera GTS cars in the RAC TT Celebration race, both fitted with 6-cylinder engines.
It had been Porsche’s intention to install the new 6-cylinder engine in the 904 in 1965 that had been fitted to the then-new 911 roadgoing model, but the engine had not been tested sufficiently to endure the rigours of motorsport. As a result, most 904s competed with the tried and tested Fuhrmann 4-cam Carrera engine, a 4-cylinder engine that developed more than 180 bhp.
Being such a versatile machine, the 904 would, over the 1964 and 1965 seasons, be equipped with the 4-cylinder Fuhrmann 4-cam engine, the 2-litre 6-cylinder engine from the 911, as well as the 2-litre 8-cylinder engine. The two 904s that were entered in the RAC TT Celebration race were both fitted with the 2-litre 6-cylinder engines as fitted to the roadgoing 911 model.
Running in the Whitsun Trophy for unlimited sports prototypes was a pair of Porsche 910s. These cars were equipped in period with the 6-cylinder 1991 cc engine that powered the road car, but maximum output was boosted to 220 bhp giving a top speed of 165 mph (265 km/h). These super-sleek machines were a development of the Porsche 906 which also ran with the same engine, but power was slightly up on the 906 and the 910 was slightly lighter.
Saturday dawned with clear skies and a crisp feel in the air, but warm weather and sunshine had been forecast, making this another glorious Goodwood day of racing. The first race for Porsche Road & Race was the 25-minute Fordwater Trophy race at 10h20, which featured no less than six 911s. All of the 911s were early models, from 1965 and 1966, and all were powered by the (then) new 1991 cc 6-cylinder engine.
Being evenly matched across much of the field, the 911s gave a good account of themselves, often running nose-to-tail, or door handle-to-door handle. Such spirited action is what the spectators had come to see, and they weren’t disappointed as the 911s battled with their period rivals, the MGBs. Although the race was won by the potent and very light twin-cam Lotus Elan, the top finishing Porsche was the #77 car of Mark Sumpter who came home in sixth place. The next best 911 was the brilliantly prepared #59 Brumos car driven by Shaun Lynn, finishing in twelfth place.
The Porsche 911s finishing in 14th, 15th and 16th places were the #22 car driven by Karsten Le Blanc, Richard Attwood in the #23 Porsche and with Lee Maxted-Page in the #16 car. Peter Goerke finished 20th in the #14 Porsche 911. The 25-minute race was as nail-biting as you could wish for, with the spectators glued to the action throughout.
At 13h10 on Saturday, it was the turn of the big guns for their official practice. These are sports and prototypes that ranged in engine size from the Porsche 904 Carrera GTS (1991 cc) right up to the mighty 6.5-litre Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. The likes of AC Cobras, Lightweight E-types, Bizzarrini, Lister Jaguars, Tojeiro-Buick, Aston Martin DP212 and more, all populated this power class. It was a spectacle to see how the cars negotiated the long double apex Madgwick Corner, and powered down the Fordwater straight. Most of the big V8-engined cars would swing their tails out onto the curb as they put the power down, in a lap-after-lap display of classic drifting. Madgwick proved to be as tricky as ever, as just in the 25 minutes I was there, two or three cars spun out, and hit the tyre wall beneath me with a resounding wallop. Then it was back to the press centre to write up my observations, download images, and charge camera batteries.
There was some great racing action on Sunday for Porsche Road & Race, all of which took place in the afternoon. The 1959 RAC TT track demonstration was preceded by a tribute speech in celebration of the victory in the RAC TT that year by Stirling Moss in the Aston Martin DBR1. Sir Stirling was unable to be at the track over the weekend, but the tribute was followed at 14h00 by demonstration run which included cars that raced back in 1959. The Duke of Richmond drove Sir Stirling’s Aston Martin DBR1 together with Lady Susie Moss as passenger. Included in this demonstration run was a pair of 1959 Porsche 718 RSK cars.
A half hour later, the real racing began as the RAC TT Celebration race got underway with much tyre smoke and snaking this way and that, to get into position for Madgwick. The crowds were entertained by some top-rate driving for the next 60 minutes, as the powerful race cars fought for the lead. Driving the #2 4.7-litre AC Cobra was Christopher Wilson and Le Mans winner Andre Lotterer. Despite Lotterer’s skill in racing current prototypes, he really got to grips with the Cobra. The pair ran out the eventual winners in this race, being followed home by another similar Cobra, that car being driven by another Le Mans winner, Romain Dumas with Bill Shepherd.
The two Porsches in this class, both 6-cylinder 904s, were comprehensively outclassed. Unfortunately, the #17 904 driven by David Clark and Derek Bell retired after just 25 laps. The other 904, the green #71 car driven by Jason Barron and Stuart Graham, put up a brave fight to finish 17th in the class. The car seemed to lap consistently well, and every time it came around Madgwick and over the slight rise in the track, the car would go light at the front as it lifted the inside front tyre. Despite its best efforts, being up against some big V8-engined cars with their superior straight line speed, the 904 wasn’t going to make much of an impression on the fast Goodwood circuit.
The last race of the day to include any Porsches in the field, the Whitsun Trophy which started at 16h45, was what many might have called the race of the weekend. But that would be to reduce the other fine races to a lower level, which would be unjust. However, the Whitsun Trophy was a real humdinger of a race, and as predicted, ex-Formula 1 and Formula E driver Karun Chandhok, was dominant in his McLaren-Chevrolet M1A. The two Porsche 910s had their work cut out in this race which also included no less than seven Ford GT40s. Unfortunately, one of the GT40s, that belonging to Adrian Newey (Formula 1 race engineer with March/Leyton House, Williams, McLaren and Red Bull), was forced to retire after having completed just two laps.
In a field of 30 starters, the two Porsche 910s gave a good account of themselves, the #36 car of Uwe Bruschnik finishing 16th with the #2 car of Rainer Becker finishing in 17th place. Although the #36 Bruschnik car started from 24th on the grid, and the #2 car in 18th place, the #36 car pushed its way ahead of its stablemate early in the race. The position stayed much the same throughout the race, as the two Porsches were seldom separated by more than a few metres at any one time.
The 2019 Goodwood Revival has now been consigned to the history books, and no doubt planning will begin on next year’s event shortly. The Revival has become renowned as the world’s best motorsport garden party, and it is not difficult to see why. When you combine some of the world’s best historic race cars with a unique period atmosphere at a historical venue of Goodwood’s standing, the outcome is almost guaranteed to be a raving success. So now, there is just the small matter of an army of helpers to thank who have all worked amazingly hard to make the whole event come together seamlessly – THANK YOU! So…roll on 2020!!
Written by: Glen Smale
Images by: Virtual Motorpix/Glen Smale and Matt Sills