How we’re celebrating 75 years of Goodwood motorsport in 2023

16th February 2023
Ben Miles

Every year at Goodwood we celebrate the incredible history of motorsport worldwide across our three major events. For 2023 we’re turning the focus inwards, using the Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard, Revival and Members’ Meeting presented by Audrain Motorsport to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the start of motorsport at Goodwood.


Our year-long celebration will run under the title “Goodwood 75” and looks back at three-quarters of a century of motoring and motorsport at Goodwood, from the moment the first cars raced away from the line in 1948 to the present day and beyond.

It will be the Goodwood Motor Circuit itself that is the central focus of all our Goodwood 75 celebrations. It was just after the Second World War when Squadron Leader Tony Gaze – a crack Australian fighter pilot who had been based at RAF Westhampnett during the war – suggested that the perimeter track around the airfield might be the perfect setting for a race track. Freddie March, the 9th Duke of Richmond, took on that suggestion and the Goodwood Motor Circuit officially opened on 18th September 1948.

The first car across the line was the Duke and Duchess themselves in their Bristol 400, before the 15,000 spectators who turned up to the first event saw a total of 85 drivers, including a then 19-year-old Stirling Moss, battle around the circuit.

Between 1948 and 1966 Goodwood grew a reputation for “the right crowd, without the crowding” and became the spiritual home of British motorsport through a golden age. Drivers who raced at the circuit included F1 World Champions Jack Brabham, Jim Clark, Juan Manuel Fangio, Giuseppe Farina, Mike Hawthorn, Graham Hill, Phil Hill, Denny Hulme, Jochen Rindt, Jackie Stewart and John Surtees along with a whole host of other stars.

Although still a major part of the automotive world, the wish remained to bring racing back to Goodwood, and in the early 1990s the then Lord March (now the 11th Duke of Richmond), along with others began to explore the idea of reopening the circuit.


It was as a part of the move to raise money and awareness for the rebirth of the circuit that the Festival of Speed was born – holding a closed-road event was much easier then reopening the circuit. The first ever event, in 1993, saw an unprecedented 25,000 people turn up to watch two days of action. Over 100 cars and motorcycles blasted up the hill with drivers including Tony Brooks, Roy Salvadori, Nick Mason, Gordon Murray and John Surtees. Ex-Beetle George Harrison even turned up in his Rocket sportscar to take part.

Five years later it was the turn of the motor circuit to host motor racing once more. The first Revival began exactly 50 years to the day after the circuit first opened, and Lord March drove across the line to open the event in a Bristol 400, just like his grandparents had done five decades earlier.

That year also saw the launch of the GRRC, a members club for motoring enthusiasts and lovers of all things Goodwood which now boasts over 25,000 members and fellows, all of whom have shown themselves as among the greatest supports of Goodwood and motorsport over the years. 

The 2014 season saw the rebirth of the Goodwood Members’ Meetings, topping off the Motor Circuit’s return to life. Seventy one such events had been held during the circuit’s active period, and the 72nd event followed nearly fifty years later. The Members’ Meetings have become a central part of the historic motorsport world ever since.


Goodwood 75 Celebrations in 2023

Our celebrations of Goodwood 75 will continue across all three events this year, as well as through our Breakfast Clubs and right here on GRR. This year’s Members’ Meeting will honour the cars that first raced at Goodwood with the Tony Gaze Trophy. This race not only honours the man who helped found the circuit, but also showcases the cars that raced at that first ever event.

This year’s Festival of Speed theme will be “Goodwood 75” and will feature a dedicated Goodwood 75 hillclimb batch to showcase bikes and cars from the last seven-and-a-half decades. This batch will be split into several eras – The Racing Years (1948-1966), The Testing Years (post-1966), 30 Years of the Festival of Speed (1993-2023), Racing Returns (1998-2023) and The Next 75 Years.

September’s Revival will celebrate with a gathering of cars that originally competed in 1948. Carroll Shelby, who would have celebrated his 100th birthday in 2023. Shelby took part in what is arguably the most dramatic race Goodwood has ever seen – the 1959 RAC Tourist Trophy, when Stirling Moss took over Shelby and Jack Fairman’s Aston Martin DBR1/300 after his own car caught fire in the pits, fighting back through the field to win the race and the World Sportscar Championship for Aston Martin.


Lotus, which itself celebrates 75 years in 2023, will be the honoured marque at the Goodwood Revival, with a fabulous line-up of cars overseen by company founder Colin Chapman.

The Goodwood Breakfast Clubs will celebrate 75 years of road cars at Goodwood with a special “Goodwood 75 Sunday”. This will feature some of our favourite cars from the whole of Goodwood’s 75 year history as well as a specially curated grid of the greatest models from 1948 to 2023. 

We’ll also be asking you to help us celebrate our anniversary throughout the year. We want to see all your favourite moments from Goodwood’s last 75 years. Post your favourite stories, videos or pictures onto any of your social media channels using #Goodwood75 so they can be collated into a special collection across our social channels and website. We will also be opening a special interactive timeline of Goodwood’s 75 years of racing on in the coming weeks.

Photography courtesy of Motorsport Images, Nick Dungan, Joe Harding, Pete Summers, Jordan Butters and Jayson Fong

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