Goodwood Revival will celebrate Carroll Shelby in 2023

11th January 2023
Ben Miles

The Goodwood Revival has a long tradition of celebrating the greatest names in motorsport, and in 2023 we will be honouring the legend behind the AC Cobra and the GT40: Le Mans winning driver Carroll Shelby. 


Today (11th January) would have been the great American racer’s 100th birthday, and in this centenary year we will be commemorating his exploits both behind the wheel and as an engineer and team manager.

Shelby is perhaps most well known today as part of the team that took on Ferrari for Ford, as immortalised in the film Ford vs Ferrari (Le Mans ‘66 in Europe), developing the GT40 to the position of winning the world’s greatest endurance race four times in a row. 

But it was as a driver that he first made his name, racing in local American races before coming to Europe and catching the eye of many, including John Wyer at Aston Martin. He would become part of the Aston Martin team for the 1959 championship, helping the brand to secure its first World Sportscar Championship crown and piloting a DBR1 to its only victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours alongside Roy Salvadori. 

After he finished racing, Shelby founded Shelby American and would go on to develop the AC Cobra a sportscar based on the British AC Ace, but with a Ford V8 engine crowbarred under the bonnet. Shelby’s Cobras would race across the world, and became an icon of American performance motoring. His desire to compete with Ferrari saw the Shelby Daytona Coupes developed, these would go on to win three races in the World Sportscar Championship including the TT right here at Goodwood in 1964.


After this success Ford contracted Carroll and Shelby American to help with the development of its GT40. The GT40 had been developed with Lola with the aim of beating Ferrari to victory at Le Mans, but was achieving disappointing results in its early years. The changes that Shelby made, along with the development driving of Ken Miles and others, saw the GT40 become a racing winning machine – victorious at Le Mans four times in a row, even after the car had been retired from factory campaigning. 

This year Goodwood will bring together some of the most important cars in Shelby’s extraordinary career for a brilliant on track display at the Revival. Cars on show are set to include the very MG-TC in which Shelby made his racing debut back in 1952. 

Shelby’s connection with Goodwood stretches for over six decades now. He first raced at Goodwood during the Circuit’s in period heyday, winning the 1959 RAC Tourist Trophy as a driver alongside Jack Fairman and Stirling Moss – the race that clinched Aston Martin’s World Sportscar Championship. 

In the modern era Shelby returned to Goodwood as part of the Revival in its third year, appearing at the event in 2000 where he brought a Shelby Daytona Coupe, driven by American IndyCar champion and F1 driver Danny Sullivan. Even though Carroll passed away in 2012, his cars remain central to all our events at Goodwood. At the Revival Cobras can be regularly seen racing in the RAC TT Celebration and Stirling Moss Memorial Trophy and the GT40 is a central part of the Whitsun Trophy.


Speaking about the upcoming celebration Aaron Shelby, board member of Carroll Shelby International and grandson of Carroll, said: “Goodwood held a very special place in my grandfather’s heart. He competed there as a driver in an Aston Martin and returned to race at the Circuit with the Shelby American team cars during the 1960s.

Carroll attended the Goodwood Revival with his Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe, and as a Word War II aviator he especially admired the vintage warbird exhibit. We’re honoured that the Duke of Richmond and his team have chosen to honour the 100th anniversary of Carroll’s birthday this year. We look forward to a marvellous weekend at the Goodwood Revival.”

The Duke of Richmond, founder of the Goodwood Revival said: “It’s such a privilege to be celebrating Carroll Shelby at the Goodwood Revival this year. He was a good friend and I remember when Carroll first came to the Revival back in 2000 – having raced and famously won at Goodwood in the 1959 TT – bringing with him his infectious personality and competitive spirit. It will be wonderful to see those glorious cars that Carroll raced and designed in action at Goodwood once again over the weekend.”

Tickets for the 2023 Goodwood Revival are on sale now, click here for more information.

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