Photographer: Jayson Fong/Goodwood Revival

This Is What Vintage Car Racing Heaven Looks Like

Each September for three days, tens of thousands of car lovers gather in West Sussex, England, to celebrate the glory of British auto racing at the Goodwood Revival. Many wear period dress, such as military uniforms and floral dresses, but the real stars are the daring drivers who push midcentury cars around a vintage race track. The beautiful, brightly hued machines charm even the most reticent onlooker. Here are a few of the best.

(Corrects spelling of car brand and driver names in slides 4, 7 and 8.)
  1. Vintage Cars Relive the Glory Days

    Vintage Cars Relive the Glory Days

    The Goodwood Revival (Sept. 9–11 this year) has been held annually since 1998 as a cornerstone of the automotive calendar. The revival has three main components: races of vintage cars made from the 1930s to 1966; a race for WWII airplanes; and the main grounds area where more than 100,000 gather dressed up to celebrate the cars. The street shops, road signs, police uniforms, and facilities are all made to look in tune with the era.

    Photographer: Jayson Fong/Goodwood Revival

  2. So Do the People

    So Do the People

    During the course of the weekend, no modern vehicles are allowed within the circuit perimeter. The idea is that, along with everyone dressed in period-style dresses, suits, shoes, and hats, the feel will be authentic to the era.

    Photographer: Amy Shore/Goodwood Revival

  3. Historic Track

    Historic Track

    The Goodwood Circuit course is a former RAF airfield used during WWII that was converted to a racetrack by the Earl of March in 1948. It’s located a short drive south of London, in West Sussex.

    Photographer: Jayson Fong/Goodwood Revival

  4. Star Power

    Star Power

    The entrants to the races are mostly Grand Prix cars, GT cars, and racing Formula Junior cars. There are also historic wagon-style cars from the same era. Popular vintage brands that race during the revival include Lotus, Ferrari, Cooper, Lancia, Maserati, Lola, Bugatti, and Talbot Lago.

    Photographer: Amy Shore/Goodwood Revival

  5. Old Friends, Again

    Old Friends, Again

    Enthusiasts from all over Europe attend the event, many of whom bring their own prized cars and know many of the people they'll see along the way.

    Photographer: Amy Shore/Goodwood Revival

  6. Time to Revel

    Time to Revel

    Each day of the revival has roughly seven races, which gives plenty of time for visitors to drool over the cars. AC Cobras and Jaguar E-types abound, as do the multimillion-dollar Ferrari 250 GTOs that dominated the race tracks during the 1960s.

    Photographer: Amy Shore/Goodwood Revival

  7. Two Wheels, Too

    Two Wheels, Too

    Motorcycles play a big part in the Goodwood celebrations. Old British brands such as Norton have races and displays just like the cars from the same era.

    Barry Sheene, one Britain’s greatest motorcycle racers, was an enthusiastic competitor at the early Goodwood Revival meetings. This year the track celebrates his memory (he died in 2003) with a two-part Barry Sheene Memorial Trophy. Sheene’s nephew Scott Smart was one of the leading competitors.

    Photographer: Amy Shore/Goodwood Revival

  8. Push!


    Former pro racer Sir Jackie Stewart often attends and competes in the Revival. Sir Stirling Moss, Phil Hill, Sir Jack Brabham, Tom Kristensen, and Derek Bell have also been regulars. Moss won the first race on the circuit in 1948. He drove a Cooper single-seat special. Each star driver is helped by a team of jumpsuit-clad crew members (seen here), who guide the cars from the pits to the starting lines.

    Photographer: Jayson Fong/Goodwood Revival

  9. Big Bucks

    Big Bucks

    This year the festival honored Sir Jack Brabham, the Australian racing driver and Formula One champion in 1959, 1960, and 1966, along with 14 F1 cars from 1966. Elsewhere,the Kinrara Trophy race features a lineup of Ferraris, Aston-Martins, and Jaguars worth more than $100 million all told.

    Photographer: Jayson Fong/Goodwood Revival

  10. For the Win

    For the Win

    Nick Fennel took his Lotus-Climax 25 open-top driver to win a sixth successive victory in the Glover Trophy race for early 1960s 1.5-litre Grand Prix cars.

    Photographer: Drew Gibson/Goodwood Revival

  11. Better Be Quick

    Better Be Quick

    Tickets for the event are relatively inexpensive (less than $100), but they must be bought far in advance from the Goodwood website. They sell out within days every year.

    Photographer: Jayson Fong/Goodwood Revival

  12. Spot of Sun

    Spot of Sun

    Heavy rain was the main feature of the morning’s races at the Goodwood Revival, but front-runners proved undaunted, slithering and sliding throughout the race. And there were spots of some sun, as in this photo. Vintage cars such as these can be surprisingly durable and sporty in inclement weather, like rain—if you know how to handle their nonautomatic transmissions and nonpower steering and braking systems, that is.

    Photographer: Jayson Fong/Goodwood Revival

  13. In the Pits

    In the Pits

    The event has been taking place since 1998, when motor racing returned to Goodwood for the first time since the closure of the Earl of March's Motor Circuit in 1966. Before that (from 1948 to 1966), the Goodwood circuit was the center of British motor racing and had such world-famous races as the Glover Trophy for Grand Prix cars.  


    Photographer: Jayson Fong/Goodwood Revival

  14. World-Record Porsche

    World-Record Porsche

    At a Bonhams auction Saturday afternoon, a original 1956 Porsche 550 Spyder set a world record by selling for £4,593,500 ($6.1 million). Said Bonhams Director James Knight: “The top lot of the auction is an icon of 1950s sports car design. … [It] is so original that you could travel back in time 60 years and find it in much the same condition. It’s exactly how a 550 would have looked, smelt, and felt like when James Dean famously purchased his example back in 1955."

    Photographer: Adam Beresford/Goodwood Revival

  15. Start Them Young

    Start Them Young

    Young Henry Dark won the Setterington Cup. The boy was in a class of his own among the junior racers who pedaled identical Austin J40s. He finished a clear eight car lengths ahead of the next finisher.

    Photographer: Nick Dungan/Goodwood Revival

  16. Here Comes the Sun

    Here Comes the Sun

    The third and final day of the Goodwood Revival was sunny—certainly as God intended. "Glorious Goodwood," fans call it. And with scenery such as this Ferrari 250 racer, it's a name not without merit.

    That morning, Lola driver Andrew Hibberd took the win in the Chichester Cup. Pole-sitter Stuart Roach had appeared set for victory aboard his Alexis Mk2, only to retire from the lead with less than a minute to run in the 20-minute race. The field comprised 30 drivers in 21 different makes of car, with 2012 winner Joe Colasacco claiming second place in his Stanguellini-Fiat coupe.

    Photographer: Drew Gibson/Goodwood Revival