Experiencing the Goodwood Revival is like stepping into a time machine and coming out in a dream-like, gold-tinged world of vintage motorsports. It’s a time-warp that takes the greatest hits of the 1940s, 50s and 60s motorsports and culture and creates an experience that is unlike any other in the world. Whatever expectations we had were shattered by the scale and quality of it all of every aspect of the Revival. And yes, there are Minis everywhere.
Let’s back up a bit. The Goodwood Revival takes place on an estate owned by Charles Gordon-Lennox, 11th Duke of Richmond and his family. He took over the family estate in early 90’s and begun the process of refurbishing the classic 1940’s era Goodwood racetrack and introducing several motorsports events to the grounds. The famous Festival of Speed is a hill-climb that takes place on the driveway to the main house itself and nurmous other events always draw a crowd.
But the Good Revival is unlike all of them. And unlike almost anything in the world for that matter. Yes the U.S. has the events like the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Laguna Seca and the WeatherTech Challenge with Brian Redman at Road American but neither come close to the scale let alone to the vibe of the Revival.
And if you want racing royalty, it’s here. I saw a good half dozen former LeMans winners along with Jackie Stewart, Jenson Button, Jimmy Johnson, Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti roaming around the paddock ducking in and out or races.
And yes, there are endless races pitting almost priceless vintage machinery against one another. In fact the racing itself was as good as any I’ve seen all year.
But what really makes the Revival different is the atmosphere. I’ve checked a lot of motorsports boxes off over the years and Goodwood Revival is unlike any of them. Part of that is the cars of course. But much of it is the atmosphere. And a funny thing happens when people dress up in period costume. The egos tend to melt away and are replaced by smiles. Everything and everyone feels accessible and simply happy to be there.
And of course there are Minis. In the 1960’s the Cooper S was a giant killer not just in rallying but also in British touring car racing. Going up against both British and America sedans (yeah the massive ones), the Minis were a crowd favorite all weekend. Charlie Cooper (grandson of John Cooper) was in the mix all weekend ultimately crashing out of the last touring car race on Sunday.
Along with the 24 Hours of the Nurburgring, the Goodwood Revival has been our bucket list for years so our expectations were high. But nothing prepared us for the scale and immersive quality of the weekend. The Revival had both the scale and quality of cars that make up great classic motorsports events. But it was the atmosphere that really set it apart.
A massive thanks to MINI for inviting us to attend and being incredible hosts throughout the weekend.