You’d think of Goodwood as the throaty home of burning-oil motor racing, but there’s change in the incoming cleaner air because 2023 saw the introduction of Goodwood Revival’s first ever sustainably-fuelled race; The Fordwater Trophy.
The inaugural Fordwater Trophy saw a grid of 30 pre-1966 Porsche 911s compete on Revival Saturday using sustainable fuel from a variety of suppliers. It was the first sustainable fuel-powered historic motor race of its kind, and some of the most famous drivers and notable faces in classic car racing took part, including Jenson Button, Tom Kristensen, Mark Webber and Goodwood’s very own Earl of March and Kinrara, Charlie March (Lord March) driving car number 44. After some sublime racing, Andrew Jordan and Matthew Holme crossed the line first to be cemented in Goodwood history.
The race marked a notable moment in the history of Goodwood and the sustainable road it's embarking upon. In order to take their place on the grid, competitors had to comply with the FIA’s advanced sustainable fuel requirements and use a fuel with a minimum of 70% advanced sustainable components. In essence this means that all 911s ran without a drop of fossil fuels in them.
On the preceding Friday a sustainable panel discussion took place where industry leaders, automotive media and drivers debated the role of fossil fuel alternatives in classic motor racing and racing in general. Panel members included Richard Tuthill, prolific Porsche specialist who oversaw the preparation of many of the partaking 911s, Anders Hildebrand, owner of Anglo American Oil Company, which is currently developing sustainable fuels and Emanuele Pirro, FIA Member and 5-time Le Mans winner. The panel and the race were the culmination of Goodwood’s year-long celebration of the 911, and most importantly for the synthetic future, Goodwood’s take on alternatively fuelled vehicles.
2023 in general was a big year for Goodwood with the celebration of 75 years of racing and 25 years of the Goodwood Revival. It was natural then, while celebrating the past for Goodwood to look to the future, and how its possible to keep celebrating the classic cars of the bygone years while committing to a sustainable future. Goodwood saw this as the year to publicly move towards reducing its impact and helping to further-develop sustainable fuel options.
Before the Fordwater Trophy, 2023 saw the Festival of Speed champion the future of mobility with the expansion of Electric Avenue and a growing number of alternatively fuelled vehicles, with 20% of the cars at the event running on alternative fuels. Hydrogen, electric and synthetic were all in the mix, with four-time F1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel driving ex-Nigel Mansell 1992 Williams FW14B and ex-Ayrton Senna 1993 McLaren MP4/8 cars on sustainable fuel as part of his ‘Race without Trace’ initiative. The 80th Members’ Meeting also saw cars running on alternative fuels.
Goodwood’s inclusion of synthetically-fuelled cars and electric cars has gone down exceptionally well with both spectators and partakers, with Revival’s Fordwater Trophy a real testament to how thrilling alternatively-fuelled motor
racing can be. With such revered names in the world of motor racing giving this new race their backing, it’s clear Goodwood’s on the right track. Before the race Lord March said: “I’m thrilled to have taken part in such an important race. The cars and drivers on the grid were spectacular but it also plays a crucial role in promoting the future of historic motor racing. Goodwood will continue to champion and advocate for the use of alternative energy sources and we can’t wait to see an even bigger presence of them at our events next year and beyond.”
In the wake of the Fordwater Trophy’s success, Goodwood has already announced it will be expanding the role of alternative fuels in the race list for Revival 2024 with the majority of cars set to be sustainably-fuelled.
There’s no doubt then that the future of classic car racing is in a safe pair of driving hands with Goodwood leading us into the world of alternative fuels and sustainability.