Editor's Blog

Full throttle fun at Goodwood

Thundering towards the final corner at 90mph, engine roaring, heart in mouth, I was struck by the thought that I was just one wrong move, one wrong turn away from a very sticky end. And the car I was driving was more than 50 years old…

I was at Goodwood Motor Circuit to try out their latest corporate activity, the Revival Racing Experience. It’s basically the chance to get behind the wheel of a classic car and go full throttle around the historic circuit, which remains totally unchanged since its heyday. All the cars date from pre-1966 in an unabashed celebration of flat out, wheel-to-wheel racing.

The cars are the stars, obviously, but the whole experience is a riot of 60s colour and style from start to finish. We were greeted in the Jackie Stewart Pavilion by a cast of period characters, including Viv the spiv and a pair of glammed-up pit girls, before a 60s school dinner inspired bowl food lunch with treacle tart and trifle to finish.

After lunch we had a run through the rules and regs before heading onto the track for the grid walk, our first chance to get up close and personal with the motors themselves. I know virtually nothing about cars other than how to drive them, but even I could tell that these were some serious pieces of engineering. And they looked very impressive and shiny in the sunshine too.

Grid walk over, it was time to go for a spin. You’re accompanied by an instructor on all drives, so I hopped in a cream-coloured Lotus Cortina with David on hand to guide me through the mysteries of driving half a century ago.

We pulled out from the pit lane and eased up through the gears, as David explained the best way to take the corners, which luckily have handy on-track instructions. It’s quite difficult to go wrong, thankfully, and so I gained in confidence with every turn, slowly building in momentum until on the third and final lap, I found myself really flying.

Having never driven classic cars before, I was amazed at the difference from modern driving, and how much character old cars have. The steering on a Jaguar Mark 2 is more like a barge than the cars I’m used to. And the pedals seemed to be up somewhere near my knees, making braking and changing gear an act of physical contortion. However all that is forgotten in the face of the sheer thrill of driving these classic cars at high speeds around a track that has played such a huge role in the history of UK motor racing.

In a nice touch, all the cars are fitted with cameras, so you can take home a 360 degree video of your on-track efforts as a memento of the day.

The combination of flat-out exhilaration with pit lane luxury and 60s style is undoubtedly a winning one, perfect for incentives and team building. Our group of nine was small enough that we were each able to try out all of the cars, but it would work well groups of up to around 20.

All too soon it was over, and it was time to say goodbye to Viv the spiv and his terrible jokes and hit the road home in my own, suddenly-disappointing Honda Jazz. However, we were thankfully sent on our way with a bulging goodie bag - and a whole lot of high-octane memories.

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