Yesterdays Tracks

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff member
Premium Contributor
In the post war years scores of former airfields and areas of waste land were converted into motor racing tracks. By the end of the 60's many of these had closed leaving the ones that we are more familier with today. Thanks to Google Maps it's still possible to see where some of these tracks were and this thread is dedicated to those circuits that are gone and in some cases forgotton in the UK.


1) Brooklands - The mother of not just UK race tracks but the first purpose built race circuit in the world. As you can see from the picture much of Brooklands circuit remains intact however there are several gaps in the circuit caused by the construction of houses and access roads. Thankfully the remaing sections of track are now subject to preservation orders which should keep them safe from further construction however the chances of the track being returned to it's full 2.75 mile former glory are 0.

2) Aintree Race Circuit - Jim Clark remains the only British driver to have won the British GP at every track where it's been held. The full international circuit no longer exists (it was last used in 1964) but as you can see from the arial photo the smaller club circuit still exists. The club circuit hasn't really been used since the 1980s and there is some doubt about weather the race course owners will re-develop it or grass it over. The full F1 circuit ran clockwise with the start finish line and the pits to the left of the picture.

3) Hengrove Park This was the site of the former Bristol Whitchurch airport. It was used as an air transport field during WW2 and after it was returned to private ownership in 1946 quickly fell out of favour as an airport due to the lack of ability for expansion. As a result the airport was closed and re-opened as Whitchurch circuit and it held F2 and F3 races in the early 50s. Part of the track (and the old airport runway) are clearly visible in this picture.

4) Birmingham Superprix circuit - No I haven't got a thing for roundabouts but if you look closely this is the only part of the F3000 Birmingham Superprix track that survives today. Ok so it wasn't a purpose built race circuit but it's one of the only street circuits (if not the only one) used in the UK. The concrete area within the round about marks the cutaway that tightened the corner instead of forcing the cars to take the full roundabout. Search on Youtube for footage of the late 80's races will reveal many familiar names from 90's F1.

5) Crystal Palace - This circuit was last used for racing in 1974 however it was used for a 2 day historic meeting every year until 2000. The track also had a role in the original Italian Job where the Mini's were filmed being tested before going to Italy. Part of the track is visible in this picture as a road around the national sports centre.

Besides these tracks there were numerous RAF bases that held races around their access roads and main runways.

If anyone knows of anymore in the UK share the pictures here. I will do another thread for tracks outside the UK in a while.
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
This link might be of interest as it shows some old tracks which are still in use today (including some hill climbs). C_a_T might like, in particular, the track at Hethel...

http://www.tvrspeedchampionship.co.uk/Venues.html

Let's hope we don't have to add Donington to the list of "retired" race track of the next few years :(
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
Just thought I would add in Gamston in Nottinghamshire which held two non-Championship races in 1950.
 
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