Historic motor sport fans gathering for the Goodwood Revival 2015 on 11 – 13 September 2015 will be swept up on a fascinating journey back to the 1950s and 60s courtesy of BMW Group Classic. The Earl of March’s estate in the southern English county of West Sussex will host a celebration of the car and motorcycle races held at the Goodwood Motor Racing Circuit between 1948 and 1966. And the mood of that era is rekindled not only by the sporting contests involving historic cars and bikes, but also by the authentic ambience permeating the event. The 1960s-style March Motor Works garages, for example, provide the backdrop for classic models from the BMW, MINI, Rolls-Royce and BMW Motorrad brands, some of which will also be joining the action on the track.
The Goodwood Revival is one of the world’s best-known racing events for historic cars and motorcycles. Every year since 1998 a selection of classic vehicles have locked horns on the historic circuit in an annual Goodwood showdown. Many are piloted by popular and successful drivers and riders, who come together with the assembled public to renew fond acquaintances with legendary grand prix racers, touring and sports cars, Formula Junior cars and racing machines from the 1950s and 60s. The authenticity of the starting fields, drivers and team members kitted out in attire to match, along with visitors sporting outfits likewise inspired by the style of the times, makes the Goodwood Revival a hugely evocative occasion for historic motor sport aficionados.
Memories of Bruce McLaren: Formula One driver, team founder and fan of the classic Mini.
One of the highlights of this year’s event is the parade in memory of Formula One driver and team founder Bruce McLaren (1937 – 1970). The parade will bring together an array of historic vehicles which played a major role in McLaren’s racing career. The New Zealander was recruited by the works team run by British designer and team boss John Cooper in 1958, having made a name for himself as a rising young talent. The following season, aged just 22, McLaren became the youngest driver so far to win a Formula One race. A year later he finished runner-up in the World Championship behind his team-mate Jack Brabham – and this successful duo also played their part in paving the way into motor sport for the classic Mini. McLaren and Brabham both drove a classic Mini away from the track, and, bowled over by its driving talents, they supported John Cooper in his endeavours to develop a more powerful version of the new small car. This included completing a number of test runs with relevant prototypes. The Mini Cooper duly came onto the market in 1961, followed two years later by the Mini Cooper S which, in 1964, recorded the first of its three overall victories in the Monte Carlo Rally.
Getting together on the track: Adrian van Hooydonk and Prince Leopold of Bavaria.
The historic Mini Cooper awaiting visitors to the Goodwood Revival 2015 recalls the talent that was already apparent at an early stage in the small British car’s life. The experienced touring car driver and BMW Group Classic ambassador Prince Leopold of Bavaria will be at the wheel for the two St. Mary’s Trophy races for close-to-series sports cars from the 1960s. Among his rivals on the track will be Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design, driving his own BMW 1800 TI/SA. This was the model that spearheaded the assault of BMW’s “New Class”, unveiled in 1961, on touring car racing. A pair of twin-barrel carburettors and a compression ratio raised to 10.5:1 helped its four-cylinder engine develop output of 130 hp. Only 200 examples of this special edition of the successful mid-size car – purpose-built for racing – were produced.
Showrooms and garages, 1960s-style.
More classics on two and four wheels can be admired in the March Motor Works garages. Here, visitors are transported back to the mid-1960s and acquainted with a signature feature of the London cityscape. The façades of the buildings housing the faithfully recreated workshops and showrooms for BMW cars and motorcycles and classic Mini and Rolls-Royce models have adopted the style of a London mews (rows of houses grouped around a small square, originally built as royal stables but later also used by craftsmen and traders who set up their workshops behind the garage doors on the ground floor and added living quarters above them). In the 1960s, London mews gained additional popularity as studios for fashion designers and artists and have frequently been used for photo and film shoots.
The buildings set up for the Goodwood Revival 2015 reconstruct the scenario of a BMW dealership c. 1965, when BMW was busy introducing its Blue Ribbon Service in Great Britain. Carried out by specially trained mechanics, these certified service programmes helped to fuel confidence in the quality and reliability of BMW models. This forward-looking element of customer care will be demonstrated here using cars including a BMW 2000 CS and a BMW 1600 Convertible.
The presence of the MINI and Rolls-Royce brands in the March Motor Works garages represents a tribute to Harold Radford & Co. The London-based dealer and body manufacturer made its name by producing high-quality conversions for the classic Mini, as well as Rolls-Royce and Bentley models. For example, Radford endowed the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud with a larger boot and came up with a full tailgate, special bumpers and an exquisite interior replete with wood and leather for the classic Mini.
A fixture of BMW Group Classic’s presence at the Goodwood Revival is its Oktoberfest-style catering for guests. And, true to form, a selection of Bavarian specialities will once again be served this year as a nod to the origins of the BMW brand.