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Goodwood (Chichester, West Sussex)

An image of Goodwood (Chichester, West Sussex)

The Circuit

Unlike other racing circuits around the UK, Goodwood has only one circuit for both track and testing days, so all driving experiences will take place here. Impressively enough, Goodwood is the only one in the world to have kept to its original form since it hosted its first motoring events in the 40s.

The circuit at Goodwood, which is roughly around 2.5 miles in length, may look straightforward and simple to navigate around, but don’t be fooled by the appearance of this short-circuit track. Iconic racer Sir Stirling Moss commented on how challenging the circuit can be with its double apexes, few short straights and fast bends that are guaranteed to push any skilled driver’s abilities to the limit.

Although there are few corners at Goodwood, participants should ease off the accelerator when they reach certain areas of the track and be prepared to brake right down at corners like Madgwick. Watch out for fast bends, especially at Fordwater, and needless to say, St Mary's should not be taken lightly as this is the corner where Sir Stirling Moss lost control of his Lotus in 1962.

For the fast and furious among you, your much-awaited chance to step on the accelerator is at Lavant Straight; but remember to stay vigilant as you approach Woodcote corner and try to place yourself in a suitable position to tackle a chicane before you reach the finish line.

It may also be helpful to bear in mind that certain areas of the track may be bumpy due to it being an ‘old-school’ circuit, so don’t panic if you suddenly get lifted in the air. Stay focused as you tackle the rest of the obstacles at Goodwood circuit.

Facilities

Goodwood circuit is especially popular among motor racing fans and car enthusiasts due to the wide range of iconic cars available to drive. From the Lamborghini Gallardo to the F2000 single seater race cars, participants can step in to the world of a racer on the famous Goodwood tracks.

The circuit is based near Chichester in West Sussex and is convenient to get to – it is only 60 miles’ drive from London or a one hour and 40 minutes train journey from London Victoria to Chichester. You can also take the coastal service which runs from Brighton and Portsmouth and once there, you can easily catch a bus or taxi to the venue.

If you are planning to stay a night or two to make the most of your driving experience, Goodwood Hotel is just a stone’s throw away from all the action. Alternatively, there are lots of other hotels scattered near the venue so you can enjoy your experience with zero hassle.

Spectators will be spoilt for choice for the best viewing positions at Goodwood. Some of the areas where you can comfortably view your loved ones in action include the top canopy near Madgwick corner, selected areas at the Richmond Lawn and a large area of the circuit outfield. There is also a wheelchair viewing area across the pitlane for added convenience.

Onsite cafes are available so hungry spectators, or drivers looking to top up their energy levels before burning some rubber on the tracks, can stock up on snacks and beverages throughout the day. For those celebrating special occasions, top-class restaurants are located conveniently close to the circuit so you won’t need to travel far to enjoy a birthday or romantic lunch or dinner.

If you’re not a fan of public transport and have travelled to the circuit by car, parking spaces can be found in the tarmac area of Parc Ferme, the area on the grassland and at the Aircraft Maintenance car park. Onsite marshals in the area will let you know where to park if spaces are full in designated areas.

There is a no smoking policy in most of the grounds of the circuit but smokers are welcome to light up outside the Jackie Stewart Pavilion. A sand bucket is provided to prevent littering around the circuit.

History

It is believed that Silverstone is the most popular circuit in Formula One racing in the UK; but when it comes to the history of British motor racing, the tracks of Goodwood oozes historical significance and has played host to many legendary races and events.

At a time of misery and hardship during World War II, the British population were devastated when Brooklands (the first purposely constructed motor race circuit) organised its last ever race in 1939. It was only after the end of WWII that motor racing resumed its activities when the Junior Car Club organised an event at Goodwood circuit.

The Formula Three race, held in September 1948, marked the first motor racing competition to take place - in the UK - after the war. The first post-war racing event organised at Silverstone circuit was to be held a month later in October 1948.

It was legendary racing icon, Sir Stirling Moss, who won the 1948 500cc race in a Mini Cooper. He was one of the most notorious racers of his era, and was often referred to as ‘the greatest driver never to win the World Championship’ by motor racing fans.

Although Sir Stirling Moss won 212 races and bagged 16 Formula One Grand Prix victories throughout his successful career, he retired from motor racing in 1962 after crashing his Lotus at St Mary’s Corner in the Glover Trophy. The crash at Goodwood circuit left him in a coma for a month but he remained a dedicated and respected figure in the motor racing industry, even till this day.

As well as being famous for hosting the first post-war race in the UK and witnessing many classic events, Goodwood was also known for its nine-hour endurance races in the 50s and the Tourist Trophy from the late 50s to the early 60s. Sadly, the owners refused to make changes to the tracks to coincide with speeding regulations and the last race in Goodwood took place in 1966.

It would take over 30 years, in 1998, to reintroduce motor racing at Goodwood again with the three-day Revival Festival; it is a shorter version of the notorious nine-hour endurance races of the past and is a yearly event. The tracks have also been reopened for testing and driving experiences on selected days.

At the glorious Goodwood racing circuit, we have put together a selection of driving days that are guaranteed to set every motor sport fan’s hearts racing. It’s time to prepare for an exhilarating drive of your life!

You won’t see 4x4s or Hummers at the notorious venue of Goodwood; instead, we offer car fanatics the opportunity to take control in the driving seat of supercars, such as the Ferrari 308QV or the Lamborghini Gallardo, on the very tracks once graced by legendary drivers like Mike Hawthorn.

We don’t just stop at providing supercars driving days; as Goodwood circuit has helped shaped the history of British motor racing, we’ve also put together the classic cars experience to take you back to the very beginning of racing. Choose from a collection of cars (including a Jaguar E Type, Aston Martin DB4 and a Lotus Cortina, to name a few) before taking to the tracks and recreating the moments of your favourite drivers.

Speaking of favourite drivers, did you know that Mike Hawthorn and Graham Hill had their first single seat races at Goodwood? For those who have always wanted to become an F1 racer, you can get a step closer to your dream with our F2000 Single Seater package; soak in all the joy and glory as you whizz past spectators with speeds of up to 100mph!

Alas, Goodwood circuit wouldn’t be complete without the presence of the small but fiery Mini Coopers hurtling around the circuit. Many iconic racers have claimed victories while driving in Mini Coopers so we’ve created an impressive list of Mini Cooper S experiences for you to select from. It is also worth noting that passenger rides will be included in some of the driving packages we offer. Professional instructors, who are familiar with the Goodwood circuit, will help you to create a memorable experience as they zoom down Lavant Straight or skilfully spin the car around Woodcote corner while you sit back and enjoy the ride.

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