Rockingham Motor Speedway
The "oval" speedway
The road courses
|Major events||Champ Car World Series
Pickup Truck Racing
British GT Championship
|Length||1.47 mi (2.38 km)|
|Banking||3.5 – 7.9º|
|Lap record||0:24.719  ( Tony Kanaan, Lola–Ford, 2001, CCWS)|
|International Super Sports Car Long Circuit |
|Length||2.05 mi (3.299 km)|
|Banking||7.0º (turn 1)|
|International Super Sports Car Circuit|
|Length||1.94 mi (3.12 km)|
|Banking||7.0º (turn 1)|
|Length||1.70 mi (2.74 km)|
|Length||0.67 mi (1.08 km)|
|Length||0.97 mi (1.56 km)|
|Length||0.62 – 1.23 mi (1.00 – 1.98 km)|
Rockingham Motor Speedway is a modern motorsport venue in the UK and Europe's fastest racing circuit, hosting corporate driving days, driver training, conferencing & exhibitions, vehicle manufacturing events, track days, testing, driving experiences and motorsport. It is also the only intermediate oval in the UK and unique in its quadrilateral shape.
- 1 The Circuit
- 2 History
- 3 Records
- 4 Major Racing Results
- 5 Other Activities
- 6 Filming
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Rockingham has 13 configurations of track, which can be used for anything from touring cars to motorcycles to rally cars. The circuit is overlooked by the 6280 seat Rockingham Building, a steel-framed, glass-fronted grandstand building containing suites, offices, bars and kitchens, and by four grandstands. Together the building and grandstands offer a total seating capacity of 52,000. The inner pit and paddock complex is accessed from the Rockingham Building via two pedestrian tunnels and there is a further spectator viewing area on top of the pit garages.
The Oval Circuit
The 1.48 mile American-style banked oval circuit is 18.3 metres wide and has a maximum bank angle of 7 degrees and comprises four very distinct corners. Rockingham's oval is unique in the UK and one of only two speedways in Europe. The oval circuit can also be converted to a road course layout for events by positioning temporary chicanes and curves both on the main area and apron of the circuit.
Over the weekend of 20–22 September 2001, the fastest racing series in the world made their debut at Rockingham Motor Speedway – the Champ cars came to England for the first time to contest the Rockingham 500, a round of the CART (Championship Auto Racing Teams) Fedex Championship Series. For various reasons the race distance was shortened to 300 km and victory was snatched on the exit of Turn Four of the last lap by Gil de Ferran driving the Marlboro Team Penske Honda –powered Reynard 01i at a race average speed of 153.41 mph from Kenny Bräck at the wheel the Team Rahal Lola-Ford Cosworth B1/00, and the Newman-Haas Racing Lola-Toyota B1/00 driven by Cristiano da Matta. The fastest lap, and therefore outright lap record was set by Patrick Carpentier in 25.551secs (210.59 mph) in the Player’s Forsythe Racing Reynard-Cosworth. Carpentier became for first Canadian to ever hold the outright lap record at an English circuit.
The US-based series returned in September 2002. This would be last time Champ Cars raced at this facility. This time ran over the full distance of 500 km, Scotland’s Dario Franchitti took the chequered flag in his Team KOOL Green Lola-Honda, beating Cristiano da Matta by just 0.986 of a second .
The International Super Sportscar Circuit (ISSC)
The ISSC is 1.94 miles long and between 18.3 and 11 metres wide, with a maximum bank angle of 7 degrees at turn 1. Rockingham's International Super Sportscar Circuit is used by the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship as well as for most other car race events. The circuit combines long straights, sweeping high-speed bends (including the infamous Turn 1 and Gracelands) with a lower speed, highly technical infield layout. Average lap speeds around the circuit range from 1m 24s in the BTCC to 1m 12s in British F3.
Wet Handling Facility
The site has a wet handling area with a kick plate which is used to simulate a variety of driving conditions including ice, rain and slippery wet leaves. These different road conditions are simulated at much slower speeds than in normal driving and in a fully controlled environment. The area is designed to give drivers a greater understanding of the latest ABS, traction control and crash mitigating technologies, and the way that they affect vehicle control.
Of all the motor racing circuits which have existed in England, just three have been purpose-built with a view to racing cars upon them. Construction at the first, Brooklands in Surrey, commenced in 1906, and the circuit opened in 1907. Construction at the second, Oulton Park in Cheshire, was completed in 1953. Construction of Rockingham started late in 1999, with the opening meeting planned for May 2001.
Rockingham Motor Speedway was constructed on a British Steel works brown field site as a banked oval with the intention of bringing the American oval racing across the Atlantic for the first time. The opportunity was taken to use the infield for further circuits.
Oval lap records
Rockingham is Europe's fastest banked oval racing circuit, with the lap record for the 1.47 miles (2.37 km) oval set at 24.719 seconds by Tony Kanaan in his Lola-Ford Champ Car on 22 September 2001 – an average speed of 215.397 miles per hour (346.648 km/h). Rockingham is the first purpose-built banked oval in the UK since Brooklands in 1907. It has an all-seating capacity of 52,000, and has both an oval (North American style), and a road circuit (most common in European countries).
|Champ Car||22 September 2001||Tony Kanaan||Lola-Ford B1/00||24.719sec (215.397 mph)|
Road Course Lap Records
International Super Sports Car Circuit
Lap records around the International Super Sports Car Circuit
|British Formula Three||30 September 2007||Marko Asmer||Dallara-Mercedes F307||1m 12:620 (96.17 mph)|
International Super Sports Car Long Circuit
Lap records around the International Super Sports Car Long Circuit
|British Formula Three||10 June 2012||Jack Harvey||Dallara-Volkswagen F312||1m 18:627 (93.94 mph)|
Major Racing Results
|2001||Rockingham 500 +||Gil de Ferran||Reynard Honda 01i|
|2002||Sure For Men Rockingham 500||Dario Franchitti||Lola Cosworth B2/00|
British Formula Three season
British Touring Car Championship
British Superbike Championship
+ Qualification cancelled due to dangerous track conditions, grid decided by championship positions.
The Rockingham Stages
|2004||John Stone||Lee Carter||MG Metro 6R4|
|2004||John Stone||Lee Carter||MG Metro 6R4|
|2005||Steve Simpson||Mark Booth||Hyundai Accent WRC|
|2006||Steve Simpson||Simon Hunter||Hyundai Accent WRC|
|2007||Steve Simpson||Simon Hunter||Hyundai Accent WRC|
|2008||Steve Simpson||Simon Hunter||Hyundai Accent WRC|
|2009||Steve Simpson||Simon Hunter||Hyundai Accent WRC|
|2010||Tony Racey||Paul Heath||Subaru Impreza|
|2011||Pete Rayner||Aron Rayner||Ford Escort Mk.II|
|2012||Paul King||Alicia Miles||Ford Escort RS|
From 2001 to the end of 2007, Rockingham organised and funded American-style Stockcar racing on the oval. Originally known as ASCAR, the series changed name to "Days of Thunder", and then to SCSA (Stock Car Speed Association), before re-branding to the MAC Tools V8 Trophy for its final season in 2007. All cars were UK variants of the American "ASA National-Tour" Howe Racing chassis, running with either Ford, Chevrolet or Pontiac bodies. A change of circuit ownership for 2006 saw the end of promotion and funding for the series, and low grids in 2007 led the organising club (BRSCC) to amalgamate it with a road course series, and eventually to the demise of both championships before the end of 2008.
The circuit is operational 357 days a year and the majority of events that take place at the venue are not motorsport competitions. Events range from manufacturer product launches to dealer training, track days and testing, and corporate and experience days.
Fifth Gear have recorded many items for the TV show at Rockingham including:
- Lexus LFA Hot Lap
- Nissan GTR
- Tiff sideways in the Porsche GT3 RS
- Audi S5 v BMW 335i Shoot-Out
- Audi TT DSG v Audi TT Manual Shoot-Out
- Ford vs Ford
- Nissan GTR vs Mitsubishi EVO FQ 400
- Dukes of Hazard v Starsky & Hutch Shoot-Out
Wheeler Dealer also filmed an item on the Jaguar XJ8 and Top Gear came to Rockingham for the Alfa Romeo challenge. The recent PlusNet TV Advert was filmed on the oval and it is also the location where Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, 'Beat The Boys' contest was filmed.
Magazines and Newspapers
The Telegraph and Fiat Punto held a track day at Rockingham in 2012 and published a number of articles featuring the circuit. Autosport's Caterham SP300R video review was made on the ISSC, and Car Magazine did a track test on the Nissan GT-R vs Porsche 911 Turbo in 2012 and a McLaren supercar group test in 2010. Car Dealer magazine reviewed the BMW M5 at Rockingham and compared it with a Mercedes E63 AMG, a Lexus ISF, a Porsche Panamera and an Infiniti M35h. The circuit also features on the Pistonheads website with videos showing the Caterham SP300 R and the new Astra VXR. Chris Harris on Cars showcased the BAC Mono.
The Learning Grid Rockingham Festival in the first week of July promotes science and engineering to school pupils.
Shows and Exhibitions
The venue has a sizeable showground area which has hosted the following shows:
- The French Car Show
- The Site Equipment Demonstration (SED) Show
- The LCV Show
- Stobart Fest
- Peter Swinger, “Motor Racing Circuits in England : Then & Now" (Ian Allan Publishing, ISBN 0 7110 3104 5, 2008)
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