Goodwood Revival 2017 – everything you need to know about the world's greatest classic car show

Goodwood Revival 2017
The St Mary's Trophy is one of the best races of the weekend Credit: Geoff Pugh 

The Goodwood Revival is a weekend of motorsport like nothing else on the planet. Currently underway on the famous Goodwood Estate – which also hosts the Festival of Speed in summer and exclusive Members' Meeting in spring – the Revival is a celebration of classic racing, focused firmly on the era between 1948 and 1966. 

It was during this time that the Goodwood Circuit enjoyed its golden years, beginning when it hosted Britain's first post-war motor race and ending when racing cars became too fast for the track itself. 

You don't see this kind of thing anywhere else Credit: Michael Cole /Corbis Sport 

Unlike the Festival of Speed, the Revival takes place at the Circuit rather than in the immediate surrounds of Goodwood House. More importantly, the event operates a dress code – attendees are expected to come in period garb. By bringing many hundreds of 1948-66 cars to the circuit, and many thousands of people dressed to match, the Revival creates a unique spectacle. 

How do I buy Goodwood revival tickets and how much do they cost?

The short answer to all of these questions is "sorry, you're too late". The circuit's capacity is limited and tickets sell out extremely quickly – you can sign up to be alerted when 2018's tickets go on sale. There are no more general admission tickets available for 2017. 

Don't try sneaking in Credit: Geoff Pugh 

You cannot buy tickets at the gate. Tickets are only available in advance. You are extremely unlikely to be able to enter the Goodwood Revival if you turn up without a valid ticket!

When is the 2017 Goodwood Revival and where does it take place?

The dates for 2017's Goodwood Revival are Friday 8 September, Saturday 9 September and Sunday 10 September. Most of the racing takes place on the Saturday and Sunday, though pretty much all the weekend's competitors will be taking advantage of practice sessions on the track on Friday. Saturday and Sunday then have seven races each. 

The Revival takes place at Goodwood's historic racing circuit. This is around a mile south of Goodwood House, which is where the Festival of Speed takes place, and two miles south of Goodwood Racecourse – home to a different type of racing, using a different sort of horsepower. The Goodwood Estate itself is located in Westhampnett, near Chichester in West Sussex, England.

RAF Westhampnett was a Royal Air Force station built as a satellite airfield for nearby RAF Tangmere. The motor racing circuit is based on the airfield's perimeter road, which was paved one year after a particularly wet winter made it difficult to move aircraft. And while Tangmere is now defunct, Goodwood lives on as an airfield within the circuit. 

How to get to Goodwood Revival – and how to avoid the traffic

Goodwood is in one of the prettiest parts of Sussex, known for its rural beauty, unspoilt woodland and narrow, winding lanes. Several times a year, however, Lord March invites hundreds of thousands of people to his enormous garden – and most of them drive. 

The result is some of the most spectacular congestion outside of Shanghai. Despite attempts by the organisers to control the traffic, attendees can expect to spend a reasonable amount of time stuck in a queue if they choose to drive. It's nowhere near as bad as the Festival of Speed, but you should still factor in at least an hour.

Don't miss the Settrington Cup, a fiercely competitive race between youngsters in pedal cars Credit: Michael Cole /Corbis Sport 

Most people will be heading to Goodwood from the broad direction of the M25. Heading anticlockwise, the most straightforward route involves the A3; clockwise and you might be better off coming down the M23 through Crawley and Horsham. 

Whichever way you arrive will involve traffic but due to the nature of the Revival, much of the traffic will be delightful. If, however, you'd rather leave your car at home, you can take a direct coach from towns and cities in the south of England (go to the 'Goodwood Revival Fanzone' for more information) or ordinary public transport.

Fifties motorcycles make for thrilling racing Credit: Michael Cole /Corbis Sport 

The nearest train station is Chichester, which is around 90 minutes from London Victoria. From here, bus no. 902 will run every half hour from 0700 to 2200. Taxis could be somewhat expensive if the traffic is bad, but can drop you off at one of the gates of the Revival.

Alternatively, it's around an hour's tricky walk from Chichester station to the circuit's main entrance.

What exactly is the Goodwood Revival – what's happening there?

The atmosphere of the Revival is an attraction in itself – it's not every day that you see thousands of people merrily dressed in clothes from 70 years ago. 

Goodwood Motor Circuit owes its existence to the airfield, so it should come as no surprise that there will be some vintage planes present. In keeping with the estate's traditional vibes, Goodwood Aerodrome waives landing fees to light aircraft built before 1966.

Aviation remains a significant part of the Goodwood Estate Credit: Geoff Pugh 

'Over the Road' is a small event that takes place on the car park side of Claypit Lane. This used to be free but now is a ticketed event – attendees will need to have a valid entry ticket to the Goodwood Revival to access 'Over the Road'. Here, an endless array of classic cars are parked in a static display (the Revival Car Show in association with Smith & Williamson) along with shopping and dining options not found in the main festival.

Expect plenty of retail experiences across the Revival site, of course, almost all of which will be based on Britain's motorsport heritage. And every year, the Bonhams classic car auction makes headlines as historic models change hands for enormous sums. It's impossible to be bored at the Revival – we've been media partners for the event several years running, and have yet to cover everything.

The racing – Goodwood's spirit lives on

Of course the main attraction is the racing. Friday is the official practice day for the Revival weekend, which means that nearly all the cars present at the event will be being tested on the circuit at some point. At the end of the day, in twilight, the first race of Revival 2017 will take place, with just two closed-cockpit GT cars battling in fading light. 

Saturday sees seven races in total. The first is the Chichester Cup, which involves rear-engined Formula Juniors. The second is the Madgwick Cup, which is a 20-minute-long race involving prototypes of less than three litres that raced between 1955 and 1960. 

Then comes the Barry Sheene Memorial Trophy, Part 1. This is the first installment of a motorcycle race between two riders, each astride a machine from the Sixties. Don't worry if you miss this – they'll have another go on Sunday. 

The spirit of early racers lives on. Only the helmets change Credit: Geoff Pugh 

After the motorbikes is the St Mary's Trophy, Part 1, a race between saloon cars from the Fifties. For many, this is the highlight of the Revival weekend, and as with the Barry Sheene bikes these cars will be out again on Sunday. 

The Goodwood Trophy follows, as Grand Prix and Voiturette cars from the Thirties, Forties, and Fifties roar around the track. Then comes the Whitsun Trophy, the fastest race of the weekend – expect GT40s, Lolas and McLarens here. Saturday's final race is the Freddie March Memorial Trophy, a 20-minute sample of some of the endurace racing hosted at Goodwood during the early Fifties.

The glory days Credit: Geoff Pugh 

Sunday sees another seven races. The Brooklands Trophy starts things off, with cars from before 1939 piercing the silence of a Sussex Sunday morning. Then, the Grand Prix cars of the late Fifties roar around the track for the Richmond Trophy, the second race of the day. Both the Barry Sheene Memorial Trophy and the St Mary's Trophy return for the final time, followed by an hour-long closed-cockpit GT battle in the form of the Royal Automobile Club TT Celebration. 

As the afternoon draws on, early Sixties Grand Prix cars race in the Glover Trophy. Then, just as the sun begins to set on another Goodwood Revival, World Championship sports cars and production racing cars from 1955 and 1960 take to the track for the Sussex Trophy.

How to dress and faces to watch out for

The Goodwood Revival is a unique event and, as such, it attracts enthusiasts from all walks of life. Previous attendees include Sir Stirling Moss, David Gandy, Rowan Atkinson, Sir Chris Hoy, Derek Bell, Martin Brundle, Jay Kay, Nick Mason, Chris Evans – and many more.

The Goodwood Revival can be wet, but it's always a delight Credit: Geoff Pugh 

How to dress for the Goodwood Revival is a question best left to our friends on the fashion desk, but if in doubt, pick your favourite car from 1948 to 1966, and dress as if you're driving it there.