“New ideas help keep historic motorsport fresh”
One of the challenges for organisers of historic race events is keeping things fresh. By definition, given they are relying on set periods and categories from the past, it would be very easy for things to look basically the same every year.
That is particularly true for the Goodwood Revival, which is limited to pre-1966 machinery. But Lord March and his team work hard to change things around and did so again for the 19th edition last weekend.
To a certain degree the discovery of unseen cars or event debuts by stars such as David Coulthard (who raced an Austin A35) helps, but what really makes the difference are new elements. This year the two-driver Kinrara Trophy race for pre-1963 GT cars was a very welcome addition.
Not only did it give the spotlight to cars like the Ferrari 250 GT Berlinettas and Aston Martin DB4 GTS that have long since been left behind by developments in the pre-1966 RAC TT pack, it also gave Goodwood a new, great-looking grid.
Even better, the race was a stormer, with a number of potential winners, drama aplenty, and a standout drive from Le Mans legend Tom Kristensen (see report).
Far less exotic but also new for 2016 was a demonstration of early stock car racers from the 1950s. With machines based on NASCARS brought over from the US, stock car racing kicked off the on-track action each day.
UK stock car racing began in 1954 and immediately proved popular. Goodwood prime mover Julius Thurgood instigated the revival movement with a meeting in 2003 and it has since gained momentum.
Among the new sights to most spectators last weekend was a replica of the Ford Coupe in which F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone started out in motorsport.
At the moment, the pack – largely made up of American sedans and coupes from the ’30s and ’40s with Ford V8 side valve engines – only competes occasionally. But demonstrations such as that at Goodwood, and previously at Brands Hatch, Oulton Park and Rockingham, could lead to something more.
“We’ve never seen so many cars of the 1950s together as here at Goodwood,” said long-time stock car expert Max Sanderson. “People are interested and some want to compete.”
That’s unlikely to happen at Goodwood of course. But it all goes to show that, perhaps contrary to expectation, historic motorsport can continue to grow and prosper by expanding and evolving.