GRR

Relive the early years of F1 at the 2023 Revival | Richmond & Gordon Trophies

09th September 2023
Adam Wilkins

Sunday’s running of the Richmond & Gordon Trophies at Goodwood Revival proved that despite their ever-increasing age, these pioneering Formula 1 machines are still capable of honouring a once pinnacle moment of engineering innovation and outright speed.

An institution by anyone’s standards, Formula 1 feels as though it has been around forever. But everything has to start somewhere, and for F1 that was in 1950. The Richmond & Gordon Trophies celebrate those early days, with cars built from 1954 to 1960, sharing a 2.5-litre capacity but varying in their approach to the business of going fast.

With this weekend’s action covering the move from front-mounted engines to mid/rear, notable cars included a Cooper-Climax T51, the first rear-engined car to claim the first World Championship of Drivers title, in the hands of Jack Brabham. While other significant entrants included a Lotus 18, multiple Maserati 250Fs, a Lancia D50 and a stunning Ferrari 246 Dino, the last front-engined car to win an F1 race, and the type of car that would take local hero Mike Hawthorn to his World Championship.


William Nuthall started on pole aboard a 1960 Cooper-Climax T53 'lowline' driven by Bruce McLaren to a Constructors’ Championship in period, and a type of car that took Jack Brabham to his second World Championship.

In second, Miles Griffiths punched in a qualifying lap just 0.014 seconds behind Nuthall in a  front-engined 1959 Lotus-Climax 16. While Rudi Freidrichs closed out the front row in another 1960 Cooper-Climax T53 'lowline'.

With only 6 seconds separating the top 10, the Richmond & Gordon Trophies was perfectly poised to deliver a showcase of tight and competitive action, aptly illuminating a period of genuine wheel-to-wheel, high-stakes F1 action.


Photography by Pete Summers.


Once the flag was dropped, these racing rivals all went on the hunt in a plume of classic tire smoke. It was Miles Griffiths who took an early lead ahead of Will Nuthall. Griffiths showed excellent defensive skill to keep the more modern 1960 Cooper-Climax T53 behind him until the halfway point, before a mechanical allowed Nuthall through.

From there, the historic specialist never looked back, eventually taking the chequered flag before a second placed Andrew Willis in the BRM P48, and Andrew Beaumont in third driving a Lotus-Climax 18. It was an all mid/rear-engined podium.

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