Goodwood Circuit

Last updated

Goodwood Circuit
Goodwood track map.svg
Current circuit layout
Location Goodwood, Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom
Time zone GMT
Major events Goodwood Festival of Speed
Goodwood Revival
British F3
Length3.809 km (2.367 mi)
Race lap record1:18.217 (Nick Padmore, Lola T70 Spyder, 2015, Bruce McLaren Trophy – Members' Meeting)

Goodwood Circuit is a historic venue for both two- and four-wheeled motorsport in the United Kingdom. The 3.8 kilometres (2.4 mi) [1] circuit is situated near Chichester, West Sussex, close to the south coast of England, on the estate of Goodwood House, and completely encircles Chichester/Goodwood Airport. This is the racing circuit dating from 1948, not to be confused with the separate hillclimb course located at Goodwood House and first used in 1936. [2]

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom (UK), officially the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi), the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world. It is also the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

Chichester Cathedral city in West Sussex, England

Chichester is a cathedral city in West Sussex, in South-East England. It is the only city in West Sussex and is its county town. It has a long history as a settlement from Roman times and was important in Anglo-Saxon times. It is the seat of the Church of England Diocese of Chichester, with a 12th-century cathedral.

West Sussex County of England

West Sussex is a county in the south of England, bordering East Sussex to the east, Hampshire to the west and Surrey to the north, and to the south the English Channel.


Part of Goodwood Circuit, approaching the main straight. Goodwood Circuit.jpg
Part of Goodwood Circuit, approaching the main straight.

History 1948–1966

The racing circuit began life as the perimeter track of RAF Westhampnett airfield, which was constructed during World War II as a relief airfield for RAF Tangmere. [3] The first race meeting took place on 18 September 1948, organised by the Junior Car Club and sanctioned by the Duke of Richmond and Gordon. [4] The winner of the first race was P. de F. C. Pycroft, in his 2,664 c.c. Pycroft-Jaguar, at 66.42 m.p.h. [5] Stirling Moss won the 500cc race (later to become Formula 3), [3] followed by Eric Brandon and "Curly" Dryden, all in Coopers.

RAF Westhampnett

RAF Westhampnett was a Royal Air Force station, located in the village of Westhampnett near Chichester, in the English County of West Sussex.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

RAF Tangmere airport in the United Kingdom

RAF Tangmere which was in Tangmere, 3 miles (5 km) east of Chichester, West Sussex, England, was a Royal Air Force station famous for its role in the Battle of Britain. Famous Second World War aces wing commander Douglas Bader, and the then inexperienced Johnnie Johnson were at Tangmere in 1941.

The Goodwood Circuit pits in 2008 Goodwood Circuit pits.jpg
The Goodwood Circuit pits in 2008

Goodwood became famous for its Glover Trophy non-championship Formula One race, Goodwood Nine Hours sports car endurance races run in 1952, 1953 and 1955, and the Tourist Trophy sports car race, run here 1958-1964. The cars that raced in those events can be seen recreating (in shorter form) the endurance races at the Goodwood Revival each year in the Sussex trophy and the Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy (RAC TT).

Glover Trophy

The Glover Trophy, also known as the Richmond Trophy, was a non-championship Formula One motor race held in the spring at Goodwood, England from 1949 to 1965.

Formula One is the highest class of single-seater auto racing sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) and owned by the Formula One Group. The FIA Formula One World Championship has been one of the premier forms of racing around the world since its inaugural season in 1950. The word "formula" in the name refers to the set of rules to which all participants' cars must conform. A Formula One season consists of a series of races, known as Grands Prix, which take place worldwide on purpose-built circuits and on public roads.

RAC Tourist Trophy

The International Tourist Trophy is an award given by the Royal Automobile Club (RAC) and awarded semi-annually to the winners of a selected motor racing event each year in the United Kingdom. It was first awarded in 1905 and continues to be awarded to this day, making it the longest lasting continually-awarded trophy in motorsports. Tourist Trophy events have been part of major national and international racing series, including the World Sportscar Championship, World Touring Car Championship, European Touring Car Championship, FIA GT Championship, and British Touring Car Championship. It has been awarded to races within a championship, and as a standalone event on various occasions. From 2013, It was announced that the Tourist Trophy would be awarded as part of the 6 Hours of Silverstone in the FIA World Endurance Championship, the first time it has been awarded as part of a sportscar world championship since 1964.

Goodwood Nine Hours

1952 Peter Collins/Pat GriffithAston Martin DB3 [6] 16 August.
1953Parnell/ThompsonAston Martin [7] 22 August.
1955 P. Walker/R.D.Poore Aston Martin DB3S [8] 20 August.

Goodwood has, over the years, played host to many famous drivers: Mike Hawthorn and Graham Hill had their first single seat races there, Roger Penske visited in 1963, and Jim Clark and Jack Sears competed in 1964. [3] The accident that ended Stirling Moss's International career happened at St. Mary's Corner in 1962. [3]

Mike Hawthorn British racecar driver

John Michael Hawthorn was a British racing driver. He became the United Kingdom's first Formula One World Champion driver in 1958, whereupon he announced his retirement, having been profoundly affected by the death of his teammate and friend Peter Collins two months earlier in the 1958 German Grand Prix. Hawthorn also won the 1955 24 Hours of Le Mans, but was haunted by his involvement in the disastrous crash that marred the race. Hawthorn died in a road accident three months after retiring; he was allegedly suffering from a terminal illness at the time.

Graham Hill British racing driver

Norman Graham Hill was a British racing driver and team owner from England, who was twice Formula One World Champion. He is the only driver ever to win the Triple Crown of Motorsport—the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Indianapolis 500 and the Monaco Grand Prix. He also appeared on TV in the 1970s on a variety of non-sporting programmes including panel games. He liked painting in his spare time.

Roger Penske racecar driver

Roger Searle Penske is an American businessman and entrepreneur involved in professional auto racing and formerly a professional auto racing driver himself. He is most famous for his ownership of Team Penske, DJR Team Penske, the Penske Corporation, and other automotive-related businesses.

Donald Campbell demonstrated his Bluebird CN7 Land Speed Record car at Goodwood in July 1960 at its initial public launch, and again in July 1962, [9] before being shipped to Australia—where it finally broke the record in 1964. The car was a 30-foot-long (9.1 m) Bristol Siddeley turbine-powered 4,500 hp (3,400 kW) streamliner, with a theoretical top speed of 450 to 500 miles per hour (720 to 800 km/h). The laps of Goodwood were effectively at "tick-over" speed, because the car had only four degrees of steering lock, with a maximum of 100 mph (160 km/h) on the straight on one lap.

Donald Campbell English racecar driver and land & water speed record holder

Donald Malcolm Campbell, was a British speed record breaker who broke eight absolute world speed records on water and on land in the 1950s and 1960s. He remains the only person to set both world land and water speed records in the same year (1964). He died during a water speed record attempt at Coniston Water in the Lake District, England.

Bristol Siddeley 1959-1968 aircraft engine manufacturer in the United Kingdom

Bristol Siddeley Engines Ltd (BSEL) was a British aero engine manufacturer. The company was formed in 1959 by a merger of Bristol Aero-Engines Limited and Armstrong Siddeley Motors Limited. In 1961 the company was expanded by the purchase of the de Havilland Engine Company and the engine division of Blackburn Aircraft. Bristol Siddeley was purchased by Rolls-Royce Limited in 1966.

Goodwood saw its last race meeting for over 30 years in 1966, because the owners did not want to modify the track with chicanes to control the increased speeds of modern racing cars. The last event was a club meeting organised by the British Automobile Racing Club on 2 July 1966. [10]

A chicane is a serpentine curve in a road, added by design rather than dictated by geography. Chicanes add extra turns and are used both in motor racing and on roads and streets to slow traffic for safety. For example, one form of chicane is a short, shallow S-shaped turn that requires the driver to turn slightly left and then slightly right to continue on the road, requiring the driver to reduce speed. The word chicane is derived from the French verb chicaner, which means "to create difficulties" or "to dispute pointlessly", "quibble".

The British Automobile Racing Club (BARC) is one of biggest organising clubs for auto racing in the United Kingdom.


The circuit claimed the life of McLaren-founder Bruce McLaren in a testing accident on 2 June 1970.

The accident happened on Lavant Straight, when a rear bodywork failure on McLaren's M8D car caused it to spin and leave the track, hitting a structure on the infield at over 100 mph while travelling sideways.


Goodwood is noted for its annual Festival of Speed and Goodwood Revival events.

Goodwood Festival of Speed

The Goodwood Festival of Speed is an annual hill climb, held in late June or early July not on the circuit, but in the nearby grounds of Goodwood House. It features historic and modern motor-racing vehicles. In 2010, the event had over 176,000 visitors over four days. [11]

Goodwood Revival

Following the success of the Festival of Speed hill climb, racing returned to the Goodwood circuit in 1998. [3] The Goodwood Revival is a three-day festival held each September for the types of cars and motorcycles that would have competed during the circuit's original period, 1948–1966. Historic aircraft help to complete the vintage feel. In 2008, a crowd of 68,000 people attended the event on the main Sunday - 9,000 more than in 2007.[ citation needed ] The track is now used for classic races, track days, and try-out days. Nearly everyone dresses up in vintage outfit from mods and rockers to racing drivers and just smart period clothes.

Other events

In 2009, the Mongol Rally, a charity fundraising car rally to Mongolia, moved its starting point from Hyde Park, London to Goodwood. Entrants are on show to the public in the paddock before beginning the rally with a parade lap of the circuit.[ citation needed ]

The National Finals of the Greenpower schools electric car racing challenge takes place at Goodwood each year. The Greenpower challenge is a nationwide series of electric vehicle endurance races for schools, who build their own 24 volt single-seater racing cars. [12] There is also a corporate version of the race, featuring teams like Lola, Jaguar Land Rover, Bentley Motors and Prodrive. [13]

The 'Breakfast Club' was introduced in March 2006. This is a semi regular free to enter, and open-to-all monthly gathering of drivers and riders who come to view each other's cars, bikes etc. Each meeting is themed with striking examples of the days theme paraded on the start finish straight. [14]

The circuit also hosted the 1982 UCI Road World Championships for cycle racing, notable for the men's professional race, which saw a late breakaway by the American rider Jacques Boyer being closed down by a pack led by Boyer's teammate (and future triple Tour de France winner and double Road World Champion) Greg LeMond. [15]

The circuit was used as a filming location in the series Downton Abbey . [16] [17]

See also

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  2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 March 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2011.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
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  6. Motor Sport, September 1952, Pages 397-399.
  7. Motor Sport, September 1953, Page 478.
  8. Motor Sport, September 1955, Pages 538, 516.
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  14. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 10 August 2011. Retrieved 8 August 2011.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  15. Thomas, Steve (29 September 2013). "Chasing down the American dream: The story of the 1982 worlds". Cycling Central . Archived from the original on 1 February 2015. Retrieved 16 June 2014.

Coordinates: 50°51′34″N0°45′33″W / 50.85944°N 0.75917°W / 50.85944; -0.75917