The biggest bang for a Goodwood Revival goer’s bucks traditionally comes in the Whitsun Trophy, which caters for V8 sports-prototypes like those that competed at the Motor Circuit in its final few years before closure in 1966, gunning for glory at the annual Whitsun Meeting.
SEP 08th 2016
Revival Revealed – Whitsun Trophy
Like their single-seater counterparts, these sports-racers were the first example of rear-engined endurance machines, their sleeker front ends only required to carry the marque’s badge and the radiators. No two cars looked alike in this time of experimentation by a wide array of racing-car builders, from Lotus to Lola to McLaren.
However, most of them sounded remarkably similar as the large-capacity engines tended to be either big-block Chevrolet or Ford V8s as an excess of American horsepower was their not-so-secret weapon. Their speed was dazzling, their looks purposeful and their engine notes thunderous.
Ironically, though, it was the ever-increasing pace of these cars and the doubling in size of F1 engines in 1966 that convinced Freddie March they were becoming too fast for his West Sussex circuit. They were, in many ways, its grand finale. The mix is still heady today, from the soon-to-be developed early Ford GT40s and Ferrari 250 LMs to the open-topped McLaren M1s and Lola T70 Spyders.
However, much of the delight of the Whitsun Trophy comes from the presence of other machines that used to race against the big boys, including Cooper Monacos and Crossles, but also including the trans-Atlantic Chinooks and Hamills. Jim Clark managed to win in a Lotus 30 in 1965, but it was an unloved car, described at the time as “a Lotus 20 with 10 more mistakes".
Photography by Jochen Van Cauwenberge