UK Motor Racing Calendar
The UK has a motor sport schedule that rivals anything in the world. There are large events of an international standing, such as the Formula One Grand Prix which is held each summer, along with domestic events for independent drivers and professional teams alike. All forms of motor racing are catered for, including rallying, motorbike racing, motocross, track racing and karting. The schedule of events tends to shift around in any given year, so it is always worth checking that a particular event is going to be held on the expected date. In addition, some events switch venues from time to time.
Spring Motor Racing Events
The British Superbike Championships kick off each year in early April. In recent years, the short indy circuit at Brands Hatch has been used to open the season, with the next race being held later in the month at Thruxton. The championship continues sporadically throughout the remainder of the spring and continues into the middle of October. As well as events at Oulton Park in late spring, the tour continues to Donnington Park by mid-summer with a seasonal finale which sees a return to Brands Hatch, where it all began. Each event in the calendar has a practice session before qualifying. There is also a warm up session for the riders and bikes before the actual racing.
Another multi-event racing contest which begins in early April is the British Rally Championship. This event commonly gets going with the North Wales Rally which is internationally respected for its organisation and challenging stages. The tough terrain of North Wales means that it is perfect for rallying. In 2014, the tour made a welcome return the Isle of Mann after a period of absence dating back some years.
Summer Motor Racing Events
One of the most famous sporting events in the world, let alone motorcycling, the Isle of Mann TT race is held each year in late May and early June. Run since 1907, the course is set out over the islands roads and safety concerns for both riders and spectators always make news every year. There are differing classes that riders can enter, ranging from the 50cc, or ultra-lightweight, class to the Senior TT race which is for bikes of 500cc. Because the event is held on an island, finding accommodation close the circuit is usually quite a headache, so booking in advance is highly advisable.
Each summer, the UK plays host to a Grand Prix race which is part of the FIA Formula One circuit. The long history of this event is only rivalled by the Italian Grand Prix and each year the race attracts more and more visitors. Over recent years, the UK Grand Prix has been held at Silverstone, although in the past it has also been run at Brand's Hatch and Brooklands. The 52 lap race is a test of driver skill and endurance with many notable contests being fought out over the years. Usually held in July, the British Grand Prix remains the highlight of the UK's motor racing calendar, with huge numbers of television viewers boosting the local audience across the globe.
Autumn Motor Racing Events
The highlight of the season, the British Touring Car Championship usually reaches its climax at a weekend event in the middle of October. In recent years the event has been held at Brands Hatch, one of the foremost motor racing circuits in the country and, in 2013, the championship was only decided there over the course of the weekend. Spectators can see touring car races over the weekend plus races from the Ginetta GT Supercup, the Renault Clio Cup and Formula Ford, too.
Held towards the end of September, the Vintage Sports-Car Club has been using the race track at Snetterton in Norfolk since 2012. With a two mile long circuit to use, the racing includes some vintage cars from a bygone era in racing action and on display. The event regularly attracts the best post-war cars which include former Grand Prix winners.
Winter Motor Racing Events
Held in late November, the World Rally Championship stops off in the UK each year in Wales. The 2014 event - like many others before it - has been revised by the tournament organisers to include three days of racing. The traditional start of the rally was Conwy, but this has now been moved to the attractive Colwyn Bay. Prior to 2000, the British part of the tour included stages in England and Scotland, but Wales' unique terrain means that it looks set to be the exclusive home for years to come.
With many multi-event motor racing seasons closed, the calendar is least full in winter. However, in winter months fans of motor sport can enjoy stage racing at Rockingham, Knockhill and Croft, near Darlington. In January, when there is very little actual racing in the UK, a trip to the Autosport International Show at Birmingham's NEC exhibition centre is well worth a visit.