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Meet the man who brought 1950s Nürburgring nostalgia to Goodwood

With period signage, accurate lighting, appropriately miserable weather, and an assembly of Formula 1 cars that actually raced in the 1957 season, the only thing really missing from the magical Nürburgring pit lane recreation at this year’s Goodwood Revival was the aroma of bratwurst in the air…

Fangio fights back

One of the most exciting motor races of all time, the 1957 German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring was a heart-in-mouth affair, during which Juan Manuel Fangio set nine lap records in his Maserati 250F, en route to a stunning comeback victory and that year’s drivers’ title.

“Goodwood’s always looking for anniversaries to celebrate,” says Peter Russell of The Period Garage, the man behind the nostalgic pit lane recreation, “and looking at the 1957 Formula 1 season, which celebrates its 60th anniversary at the Revival this year, we simply had to choose the Nürburgring.” That decision was made in January, immediately after which Russell started extensively researching and collecting as many images as possible from that race — something that proved harder than you might think.

Research, research, research

“There are lots of photographs from the race,” comments Russell, “but finding them of the pits was bloody difficult!” Luckily, a generous Nürburgring enthusiast in Germany was able to provide a raft of rare images, many in colour, for Russell to use for reference. “I decided on a particular photograph with Fangio parked in the pits mid-race, right under the Benzin logo — his heart must have been racing at that point, as he had it all to do…”

Details include the guttering, the various sponsor banners, the period-correct no smoking signs, the Nürburgring insignia, and the distinct curved lamps, which Russell realised were unique to the circuit and handcrafted from scratch. “I thought they’d be wasted, but where it’s been dark and grey, they look really fantastic.”

Because it’s worth it…

The cherry on the proverbial cake for Russell was seeing the selection of 1957 Grand Prix cars — including Fangio’s 250F from that very race at the Nürburgring — housed inside the pit boxes. “It’s great to see the cars in a theatrical context,” he concludes. “Of course, you can’t recreate everything, but you can certainly give it a flavour.” Speaking of, we’ve just seen someone wandering around wearing lederhosen and eating a bratwurst. Or are we dreaming? That’s Goodwood… 

Photos: Rémi Dargegen for Classic Driver © 2017 

Classic Driver is reporting live from the 2017 Goodwood Revival, kindly supported by Credit Suisse. You can find all our coverage in our regularly updated overview.