The UK's Motor Racing Circuits
The United Kingdom has a long motor racing tradition. The country's first motor racing event took place in May 1902, and over the decades this sport has continued to gain in popularity and in supporters. In fact, the motorsports industry as a whole contributes more than £6 billion per year to the country's economy. Today, names like Donnington Park, Silverstone, and Cadwell Park have become part of the lexicon.
Donnington Park, Leicestershire
In 1933, Donnington Park became the first permanent motor racing circuit in the United Kingdom. Despite its initial success, the venue was acquired by the Ministry of Defence, which closed the circuit in 1939 and used it to store military vehicles during World War II. More than 4 decades passed until Donnington Park became a prime sports location again, and during the 1980s the circuit attracted record numbers of spectators with its hair-raising Formula One and World Championship events. The circuit is characterised by having two long straight sections, which are separated from each other by the infamous and hard to tackle "esses". Today, Donnington is home to exhibitions and music festivals in addition to BTCC, Moto GP, PickUp Truck Racing, WTCC, British F3, and Superleague Formula races.
Silverstone is a world-class motor racing venue and a favourite among the sport's top figures. The origins of this remarkable venue can be traced back to the early 1940s, when the circuit was built on a former RAF site. The initial layout (which consisted of three main runways) is still evident today, although significant modifications were made in the 1970s and 1990s. The latest modifications were geared towards transforming Silverstone into one of the world's fastest motor racing circuits, and in fact, several lap records have been broken here, including those accomplished by Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso. Nowadays, Silverstone hosts a large number of events that attract huge crowds to the area every year. The most popular races include British Grand Prix, FIA World Endurance Championships, European F2, Le Mans Series, and British Super Bike Championship events. More recently, Silverstone Circuit has become an approved Superleague Formula venue.
Anglesey, North Wales
Anglesey Circuit (also known to Welsh motor racing fans as Trac Mon) is Wales' premier motor racing venue and has been listed as one of the United Kingdom's top 100 attractions. Initially, this circuit featured an oval shape, which allowed riders to build up speed easily. However, in 2006, Anglesey Circuit underwent significant modifications to its layout. The most distinctive features of the new layout include two hairpin bends and a challenging mix of fast bends and tricky corners. Anglesey now has 4 different configurations that range between 4 and 11 turns. The track width was also modified, so Anglesey Circuit is now at least 12 metres wide at any given section. Anglesey now hosts BARC, BRSCC, MSA, and ACU events. In 2009, the venue won an Anglesey Tourism award in the Tourism and Environment category in recognition of its contribution to green racing and to the Energy Efficient Motor Sport initiative.
Since the 19th century, Aintree has been associated with some type of racing or another. The original racecourse was built in 1829, and it soon became a famous venue for a number of sports, including horse racing, golf, and of course motor racing. Aintree Circuit opened to the public in 1954, and for nearly a decade it was home to five British Grand Prix and to eleven Formula One events. Despite the circuit's partial closure in 1964, Aintree will be forever remembered by motor racing enthusiasts for being one of the world's top Formula One GP venues. The circuit's layout now features a quick succession of curves, bends, and fast corners, which make it ideal for the celebration of motorcycle racing, track days, and car sprinting events. In addition, a number of charity events are held at Aintree Circuit every year.
Cadwell Park, Lincolnshire
Cadwell Park was created in 1934, although the circuit had been used for motor racing purposes well before that, as the family that owned the land in which it was built consisted of avid motorbike riders. The track was enlarged twice (1953 and 1962), and it now consists of 2.25 miles of undulating and challenging terrain. The track's steep gradients and constant rhythm changes are Cadwell Park's most notorious characteristic. Initially, this venue hosted a number of BrisCa Formula One and British F3 races, but subsequently the circuit's width was deemed insufficient, so Cadwell Park is currently used for private events and bike track days.