Goodwood Circuit

Coordinates: 50°51′34″N 0°45′33″W / 50.85944°N 0.75917°W / 50.85944; -0.75917
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Goodwood Circuit
Full Circuit (1952–present)
LocationGoodwood, Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom
Time zoneGMT (UTC+0)
BST (April–October, UTC+1)
Coordinates50°51′34″N 0°45′33″W / 50.85944°N 0.75917°W / 50.85944; -0.75917
FIA Grade4 (Restricted)
Broke ground1947
Opened18 September 1948; 75 years ago (1948-09-18)
ArchitectFrederick Gordon-Lennox
Major eventsCurrent:
Goodwood Festival of Speed (1993–2019, 2021–present)
Goodwood Revival (1998–2019, 2021–present)
Goodwood Members Meeting
RAC TT (1958–1964)
Full Circuit (1952–present)
Length3.862 km (2.400 miles)
Race lap record1:09.914[1] (Nick Padmore, Arrows A11, 2020, Time trial)
Original Circuit (1948–1951)
Race lap record1:28.000 (Giuseppe Farina, Alfa Romeo 159, 1951, F1)

Goodwood Circuit is a historic venue for both two- and four-wheeled motorsport in the United Kingdom. The 2.367-mile (3.809 km)[2] 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.[3]

Approaching the chicane from Woodcote

History 1948–1966[edit]

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.[4] 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.[5] The winner of the first race was P. de F. C. Pycroft, in his 2,664 c.c. Pycroft-Jaguar, at 66.42 mph (106.89 km/h).[6] Stirling Moss won the 500cc race (later to become Formula 3),[4] followed by Eric Brandon and "Curly" Dryden, all in Coopers.

Black and white picture showing dark colours car in a pits area.
The Goodwood Circuit pits in 2008

Goodwood became famous for its Glover Trophy non-championship Formula One race, the Goodwood Nine Hours sports car endurance races run in 1952, 1953 and 1955, and the Tourist Trophy sports car race, run here between 1958 and 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).

The original circuit layout featured a fast left-hand curve between the Woodcote corner and the start-finish line, with the pit lane on the infield side of the curve's exit.[7] Increasing car speeds made organisers aware of the dangers of a fast car losing control at this curve, and after Giuseppe Farina won the 1951 Goodwood Trophy race in his Alfa Romeo 159 at over 95 mph (153 km/h), the curve was replaced with a chicane in 1952.[8][9] At first, the chicane was made using straw bales and boarding, before brick walls were constructed in 1953. Despite a number of accidents this brick chicane survived until the circuit's closure for racing in 1966, before it was rammed and destroyed in the mid-1970s by a transporter belonging to Team Surtees that was leaving the circuit after a test session. When the circuit was restored in the late 1990s, the chicane was remade using polystyrene blocks.[7]

Goodwood has, over the years, played host to many famous drivers: Mike Hawthorn and Graham Hill had their first single seat races here, Roger Penske visited in 1963, and Jim Clark and Jack Sears competed in 1964.[4] The accident that ended Stirling Moss's international career happened at St. Mary's in 1962.[4]

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,[10] before the car was 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 mph (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.

Goodwood saw its last race meeting for over 30 years in 1966, because the owners did not want to modify the track with more chicanes to control the increased speeds of modern racing cars. The last event of the era was a club meeting organised by the British Automobile Racing Club on 2 July 1966.[11] The lap record was a 1 minute and 20.4 seconds set by both Jackie Stewart and Jim Clark, in the 1965 Glover Trophy, the final formula one race at the circuit.[12][13]

Goodwood Nine Hours[edit]

Year Date Drivers Vehicle Laps completed Notes
1952 16 August Peter Collins/Pat Griffith Aston Martin DB3 283 [14]
1953 22 August Reg Parnell/Eric Thompson Aston Martin DB3S 297 [15]
1955 20 August Peter Walker/Dennis Poore Aston Martin DB3S 309 [16]


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 his McLaren M8D Can-Am car caused it to spin and leave the track, hitting a bunker.[17][18][19] The car would go on to win the opening event of that year's Can-Am Championship.[20]


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

Goodwood Festival of Speed[edit]

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 4 days.[21]

Goodwood Revival[edit]

Following the success of the Festival of Speed hill climb, racing returned to the Goodwood circuit in 1998.[4] 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[edit]

Goodwood Festival of Speed hillclimb layout

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.[22] There is also a corporate version of the race, featuring teams like Lola, Jaguar Land Rover, Bentley Motors and Prodrive.[23]

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 day’s theme paraded on the start finish straight.[24]

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.[25]

The circuit was used as a filming location in the historical drama series Downton Abbey.[26]

In May 2019 the track was added into Gran Turismo Sport as a free update.[27][28]

In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Festival of Speed, members and Revival meetings were cancelled and replaced by an event called Speedweek combining elements from all three events.[29][30][31][32]

Race Lap Records[edit]

The all-time outright lap record is 1:09.914, set by Nick Padmore in an Arrows A11, during the 2020 Goodwood Speedweek timed shootout event. The fastest official race lap records at the Goodwood Circuit are listed as:

Category Time Driver Vehicle Event
Full Circuit: 3.862 km (1952–present)
Group 7 1:18.217[33] Nick Padmore Lola T70 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed
Formula One 1:20.400[34] Jackie Stewart[a]
Jim Clark[a]
BRM P261[a]
Lotus 25[a]
1965 Sunday Mirror Trophy
Group 4 1:20.800[35] Jim Clark Lotus 30 1965 Goodwood International - Lavant Cup
Formula Two 1:22.200[36] Denny Hulme Brabham BT18 1966 Sunday Mirror Trophy
Sports car racing 1:23.800[37] Bruce McLaren Zerex Special 1964 RAC Tourist Trophy
Group 3 1:26.256[38] Emanuele Pirro AC Cobra Le Mans Coupé 2017 Goodwood 75th Members' Meeting
Original Circuit: 3.830 km (1948–1951)
Formula One 1:28.000[39] Giuseppe Farina Alfa Romeo 159 1951 Goodwood Trophy
Voiturette 1:39.000[40] Stirling Moss HWM 51 1951 Madgwick Cup
Sports car racing 1:39.600[41] Stirling Moss Jaguar C-type 1951 Goodwood Sportscar race

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Both drivers took the same lap time independently.


  1. ^ "Classic Formula 1 car breaks Goodwood lap record at Speedweek". Express & Star. Wolverhampton, England. 19 October 2020. Retrieved 2 March 2021.
  2. ^ "Goodwood Track Guide". Motorsport Circuits UK. Archived from the original on 23 July 2018. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  3. ^ "Goodwood Festival of Speed Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 March 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Goodwood Revival Meeting". About Unisys. Unisys. Archived from the original on 25 November 2005. Retrieved 7 December 2005.
  5. ^ Motor Sport, October 1948, Pages 331-333, 344.
  6. ^ Do You Remember?, Goodwood Programme, Whit Monday Meeting, Monday 7 June 1965, Pages 8-11.
  7. ^ a b Nye, Doug (6 October 2015). "Goodwood's chicane hasn't always been so forgiving..." The Goodwood Estate Company. Retrieved 17 September 2021.
  8. ^ "Goodwood: Circuit history". Retrieved 2 March 2021.
  9. ^ Nye, Doug (31 August 2018). "Meet the car that caused Goodwood to install a chicane". The Goodwood Estate Company. Retrieved 17 September 2021.
  10. ^ Redman, Peter (2013). Goodwood Anecdotes. Chichester, UK: IM Publications. pp. 233–240. ISBN 978-1-906715-05-2. Archived from the original on 8 May 2019. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  11. ^ Goodwood Motor Circuit Programme, Saturday 2 July 1966.
  12. ^ "Goodwood - Doug Nye - the Story Behind Goodwood's Extraordinary Joint Lap Record".
  13. ^ "[Video] Celebrating Goodwood's lap record | GRR".
  14. ^ "Goodwood By Lamplight". Motor Sport. Vol. XXVIII, no. 9. September 1952. pp. 397–399.
  15. ^ "Aston Martins Trounce Jaguars in Goodwood "Nine Hours"". Motor Sport. Vol. XXIX, no. 9. September 1953. p. 478.
  16. ^ "Aston Martin Hat-Trick in B.A.R.C. 9-Hour Sports-Car Race". Motor Sport. Vol. XXXI, no. 9. September 1955. p. 538.
  17. ^ "McLaren team honour founder Bruce McLaren 50 years on from his death". 2 June 2020. Retrieved 2 March 2021.
  18. ^ "Bruce's death: Courage in the face of adversity". McLaren. 24 May 2016. Retrieved 2 March 2021.
  19. ^ "'The first essential is enthusiasm'". McLaren. 2 June 2020. Retrieved 2 March 2021.
  20. ^ "Bruce McLaren". McLaren. 2 May 2017. Retrieved 2 March 2021.
  21. ^ "Moving Motor Show back in 2011". Auto Express News. Dennis Publishing. 12 July 2010. Retrieved 14 November 2010.
  22. ^ "Goodwood host car racing for the future with the 2011 Greenpower National Final". Retrieved 2 September 2012.
  23. ^ "Greenpower : Corp Challenge". Archived from the original on 2 September 2011. Retrieved 13 June 2011.
  24. ^ "Breakfast Club at Goodwood | Free to All Motorsport Event". Archived from the original on 10 August 2011. Retrieved 8 August 2011.
  25. ^ 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.
  26. ^ Leyfield, James (1 July 2015). "Downton Abbey cast film final series at Goodwood race track in new-look pictures". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  27. ^ "The "Gran Turismo Sport" May Update: The Historic Goodwood Motor Circuit Joins the Lineup!". 29 May 2019.
  28. ^ Errington, Tom (30 May 2019). "Gran Turismo Sport game adds Goodwood track in latest update". Autosport. Retrieved 2 March 2021.
  29. ^ "Goodwood announces Speedweek – a pioneering new event this autumn". Retrieved 2 March 2021.
  30. ^ "Goodwood SpeedWeek to be held in October". Retrieved 2 March 2021.
  31. ^ "Updated: What is SpeedWeek?". Retrieved 2 March 2021.
  32. ^ Lickorish, Stephen (17 July 2020). "New Goodwood Speedweek event announced". Autosport. Retrieved 2 March 2021.
  33. ^ "Goodwood". Retrieved 15 October 2022.
  34. ^ "1965 Goodwood F1". Retrieved 15 October 2022.
  35. ^ "Goodwood International - Lavant Cup 1965". Retrieved 15 October 2022.
  36. ^ "1966 Goodwood British F2". Retrieved 15 October 2022.
  37. ^ "Tourist Trophy 1964". Retrieved 15 October 2022.
  38. ^ "Graham Hill Trophy full race | 75MM". Retrieved 15 October 2022.
  39. ^ "1951 Goodwood F1". Retrieved 15 October 2022.
  40. ^ "1951 Goodwood Voiturette". Retrieved 15 October 2022.
  41. ^ "Goodwood September [2nd Handicap Sports] 1951". Retrieved 15 October 2022.

External links[edit]