Goodwood Goes Sustainable


Chris Pollitt

There’s a lot of uncertainly about the future of the classic car and with it, the internal combustion engine. And while it is tempting to sit here and type out a million reasons why neither are actually going anywhere, we’ll spare you. Normally we wouldn’t though, as it is an important topic. However, the people behind the iconic, legendary, ‘always penned in the calendar, never pencilled’ Goodwood Revival have done some serious heavy lifting when it comes to preserving what we love. How? Well, the 2024 Revival races will be powered, in their entirety, by synthetic, sustainable fuel. No liquified dinosaurs will be harmed in the making of next year’s event.

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Racers in 2024 will be required to use a fuel which has a minimum of 70% advanced sustainable components, in accordance with the FIA’s current requirements for sustainable fuel. Serving as a drop-in fuel, no modification is required to the cars and there is no compromise on race performance. In fact, Goodwood’s first sustainably-fuelled winner came in the Rudge-Whitworth Cup at the 2023 Revival, as the 1925 Bentley Speed Model with the driver pairing of Ben Collings and Gareth Graham crossed the line ahead of competitors running on standard fuel.

Following on from the success and positive reaction to the 2023 Revival’s sustainable fuel propelled Porsche 911 race, with drivers like Max Chilton and Mark Webber, the step to power every race this way seems logical. It’s also a massive, massive thing in terms of much-needed audience, awareness and messaging. Areas where sustainable fuel has suffered. 2024 should be the snowflake that soon gathers momentum into a massive snowball of talk, information and demand for this new fuel. And that’s exactly what’s needed.

Sebastian Vettel, who drove his ex-Nigel Mansell 1992 Williams FW14B and ex-Ayrton Senna 1993 McLaren MP4/8 on sustainable fuel at the 2023 Goodwood Festival of Speed, said: “It was clear to me at the Festival of Speed that the team at Goodwood share my love of motor racing. I enjoyed sharing my ‘Race Without Trace’ initiative with the fans at the Festival of Speed and having the opportunity to show that sustainable fuels are a fantastic way to ensure a possible future pathway for the sport that we love. It’s great that Goodwood is leading the way in promoting the use of sustainable fuels at historic racing events.” 

Jenson Button, 2009 Formula 1 World Champion who raced in the Fordwater Trophy at the 2023 Goodwood Revival, said: “It was great to be a part of the Fordwater Trophy which brought together classic cars and the very latest in sustainable fuel technology. What’s so exciting about these fuels is that they can guarantee the future of historic racing, enabling us to enjoy combustion engine cars for years to come.”

Rowan Atkinson, regular competitor and avid supporter of Goodwood, said: “I used synthetic fuel in my racing Jaguar at Goodwood this year and found it to be not just as good as the pump petrol used previously but in performance terms, superior to it in every way. It’s perhaps unsurprising that if you synthesise a fuel from first principles, you’re going to make a better product than that produced by just applying heat and pressure to some black gunk you dig out of the ground.”


The Duke of Richmond, founder of the Festival of Speed and Goodwood Revival, said: “Goodwood has an illustrious motorsport history and one which we are delighted to continue with the announcement that at next year’s Revival, all of our races will run on sustainable fuel. I am proud that we are the first to be mandating the use of sustainable fuels at the event, and would like to thank all of the participating owners, drivers and preparers for their support.”

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With the world watching, there will be no better way to champion sustainable fuels and to demonstrate their function, their ability and their cleanliness. This is the shot in the arm this emerging technology needs, and it will hopefully not only serve to interest, engage and excite, but also quash the opinions of naysayers and those who think the internal combustion is dead. It’s not. It has a long, fast, high-revving life ahead of it, and the 2024 Goodwood Revival will do so, so much to drive that fact home.

Goodwood Revival, Friday 6 – 8 September 2024.


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