How Rolex helped preserve the golden age of motorsport

It’s almost impossible for us plebs to experience the thrill of driving a classic sports car around a racetrack. If you want to experience the vicarious thrill of driving a mid-20th century sports car, I highly recommend watching Formula 1 World Champion and Rolex testimonial Jenson Button complete a few laps in a for Race prepared Jaguar Lightweight E-Type spins festival of speed. “Turn left to go right,” says Button, perfectly summing up the sheer lawlessness of classic cars – unencumbered by modern ECUs, traction and stability controls, and a host of electronic nannies that can turn even the most hopeless drivers into bonafide racer.

That’s what makes the Goodwood Revival such a spectacle. Not only is there a pretty good chance that a perfectly preserved million-dollar remnant of the past could turn into a scrap heap in a second and rotate all the way to driving Valhalla, but it’s also one of the few places where You will see a collection of some of history’s most coveted cars being driven to the absolute limit. It’s arguably motoring’s most glorious era, captured in a week. That’s why Rolex has supported the Goodwood Revival annually for the past 18 years as the event’s Official Timekeeper.

This year happened to be a big one. Ferrari celebrated its 75th anniversary and gave the world the privilege of watching some very rare Ferrari California 250 GT SWBs compete in one of the most thrilling GT races in recent memory. Certainly if you’re the owner of said 250 GT SWBs – which are often considered to be among the most beautiful cars in the world and can set you back a cool $30 million (2.39 billion rupees) at a prestigious auction. It was also the 100th anniversary of the Austin 7, so everyone wore period-accurate outfits, and rightly so. This is actually a prerequisite for participation in the Goodwood Revival.

It’s one of the few things that sets the Goodwood Revival apart from any concours, or classic car rallies, in the world. Putting aside the societal mores of the time, one must soak up the spirit, embrace the technology and celebrate the fashion of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. It’s also a great place to learn the art of classic car maintenance – because the natural home of a vintage or classic racing car and its owner is in a tool shed, where endless tedious hours are spent repairing these cars and restoring them to their original condition restore condition. And while your family has moved to another city and your children have grown up, you have the satisfaction of owning an immaculately restored Austin Healey.

Rolex’s foray into the privateering world of motorsport dates back to the 1930s, so the brand is no stranger to the smell of motor oil and the sight of fast cars. Over the past century, Rolex has supported mammoth motorsport events such as the Daytona 24 Hours (which produced the brand’s flagship chronograph) and the Le Mans 24 Hours, as well as the World Endurance Championship.

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