Just to fill an otherwise idle moment or two, let’s take a look at the great Goodwood drivers of the past, and consider their first Grand Prix wins. Well, for a start, Goodwood’s first great stars – such as Reg Parnell and Prince ‘Bira’ – never won any major-league Grand Prix races whatsoever. So what constitutes “a major-league Grand Prix race”? In effect – since 1950 I would mean any World Championship-qualifying Formula 1 race. Before 1950 I would count any Grand Prix of top-line stature, both national and International – what the governing FIA – and its pre-war counterpart the AIACR – used to refer to as a ‘Grande Epreuve’… a ‘great test’.
So Reg Parnell won the Goodwood Trophy, the Richmond Trophy, the Woodcote Cup and the Chichester Cup races at Goodwood as early as 1949, but none of them was of real, even second-level, International significance at the time.
It would be different for young Stirling Moss, of course, who made his Formula 1 breakthrough by winning fat Aintree on May 29, 1954, in his own new Maserati 250F – but then technically the 200-mile race there was open to Formule Libre – free-Formula – cars and was not a pure F1 event. Things back in the ’50s were just… fuzzier. In fact with all the necessary ifs, buts and general caveats attached they are a statistician’s nightmare – a source of multiple record-book footnotes if one tries to be specific.
Stirling finally joined the truly, indisputably, big-time driver echelon by winning the 1955 British GP (again at Aintree) – when he just held off Mercedes-Benz works team-mate Juan Manuel Fangio in their twin W196 cars.