Classic Tracks are at Goodwood on the 3rd of July, so read on to learn how to drive this circuit, by our Chief Instructor, Mark Hales.
With thanks to MogMag, in which this article was first published
The shell building at Goodwood
Home to the Members Meeting and the Revival, Goodwood was formerly known as RAF Westhampnett, constructed during the second world war as a satellite airstrip for RAF Tangmere. If you have time on your hands when you are in Sussex drop in to the museum at RAF Tangmere- it is wonderful. The period feel, beautiful Sussex location and challenging track all make Goodwood a hugely popular venue.
The circuit held its first race meeting on the 18th of September 1948, and Stirling Moss won the 500cc race in his Cooper.
St Mary’s and Lavant are wonderful corners and should be part of the experience of any classic car driver. Goodwood is still an active airfield, so don’t be surprised if you see a Tiger Moth coming in to land over you as you are circulating around the track!
The track is 2.367 miles long, and the seven turns took Nick Padmore only 1 minute and 17.09 seconds to complete at the 2016 Revival, earning him the outright lap record and the Bruce McLaren trophy. At an average speed of 111.16 mph in his Lola T70 it is unlikely that a Morgan is ever going to equal this! The lap record for a Morgan is held by Keith Ahler’s SLR who lapped in 1 minute 33.6 seconds at an average speed of 90.4 mph during the 2012 Revival.
With thanks to Mark Hales, who kindly agreed to share his experience of this circuit.
Driving Goodwood well depends a great deal on the cambers of the circuit and knowing how they will affect your car and its grip. The first corner, Madgwick is fast and longer than it looks with a blind entry. Exit speed is vital here, as it leads onto one of the fastest sections of the course. There is a dip in the middle which can throw you wide and force you to lift, and there’s a bump just as you exit onto the top straight. Hold it too tight too early though and the car will wash wide. As always, it’s a compromise depending on car capability, tyres and grip. Experiment with care.
Fordwater is flat-out for the majority of cars in the dry, but bear in mind the bumps that lead to the downhill section after the apex. It’s tempting to aim early and then find the nose edging wide towards the grass. Once again, experiment, but do it carefully.
No name lies at the top section’s end and is approached at high speed, but how high will affect where you enter St Mary’s, the left hander which immediately follows. There’s a dip on the exit here too and that will push you onto the grass just when you thought it was all over. Main thing is to try and ensure you are far enough to the right in between the two, then you can aim slightly later for St Mary’s.
Lavant is two, maybe three corners and it keeps on bending to the right. There is very little run-off to the left, and you don’t want to run out of road in the middle of the sequence. Stay a bit wider on entry and concentrate on the last section until you know what your car will allow you to do. A good exit is important in maximising exit speed onto the long Lavant straight, so named but which has at least two bends along its length.
Woodcote consists of two bends, both right-handers and a bit like Lavant the second one is the most important. Too much speed into the first part and you will run wide onto the grass left of the exit. Aim further round the sequence and concentrate on getting the power on smoothly for the brief blast up to the chicane.
The chicane used to be brick, then changed to polystyrene for the Revival and is now water-filled bags, in order to deter clipping it. Beware! It has a strange tendency to flip cars upside down. Once again, it’s the left handed exit that’s important, so don’t try and take too much speed into the right hander. Just concentrate on a settled exit for the long drive past the pits and back up to Madgwick.