The West Sussex-based Goodwood Motor Circuit originally opened its gates to the public on September 1948, to host Britain's very first post-war motor race meeting at a permanent venue.
Twelve years earlier, Goodwood's very first motor sport event was staged when a hill climb meeting was held for a small group of pre-war Lancia enthusiasts, hosted by the 9th Duke of Richmond, Freddie March.
The origins of the Goodwood track derive from an ex-military airfield. RAF Westhampnett, named after the village bordering Goodwood, served as a Battle of Britain base during the War and was the station from which RAF legend Sir Douglas Bader flew his last sortie.
The Airfield was created on land that formed part of the Goodwood Estate - home to the Dukes of Richmond for over 300 years - and was donated by the 9th Duke in order to assist with the War effort.
Opening of the circuit
The 1948 opening of the Circuit was met with a rapturous response, as the British public had been deprived of motor racing the Second World War forced Brooklands to close its doors in 1939.
The huge demand for wheel-to-wheel competition saw 85 drivers and over 15,00 spectators turning up to Goodwood on 18th September 1948 to support the UK's first professionally-organised post-war motor racing event.
Goodwood closed its gates
In August 1966, after 18 years of memorable competition, Goodwood closed its gates to contemporary motor racing, although the Circuit remained in continuous use as a testing and track day venue. It was the end of a chapter in Goodwood history, but not the end of the story.
The 9th Duke of Richmond, known as Freddie March, was a renowned amateur racer. Having won the Brooklands Double 12 in 1930 he went on to design both March sports car bodies and aircraft in his capacity as an engineer.
When the 9th Duke was approached by his friend, Squadron Leader Tony Gaze, who suggested using the perimeter road that bordered the Aerodrome as a motor racing circuit, he seized upon the idea. The 9th Duke and Duchess of Richmond and Gordon officially opened the track in 1948 by driving around the Circuit in a Bristol 400, then Britain's state-of-the-art sporting saloon.
50 years later
On 18th September 1998, exactly 50 years to the day since the Goodwood Circuit first opened, the 9th Duke's grandson, the present Earl of March, re-enacted the opening of the track at the very first Goodwood Revival meeting in the same Bristol 400 that his grandfather had used half a century earlier on the same track, untouched by the modern world.
Prior to the first Revival meeting in 1998, the Circuit was painstakingly restored to look exactly as it did in its heyday, down to the very last detail.