Rockingham Motor Speedway

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This article is about a race track in England. For the former NASCAR track in Rockingham, North Carolina, see Rockingham Speedway.
Rockingham Motor Speedway [1]
Rockingham Motor Speedway.svg
The "oval" speedway
Rockingham Motor Speedway - Road course.svg
The road courses
Location Northamptonshire, England
Coordinates 52°30′54″N 0°39′27″W / 52.51500°N 0.65750°W / 52.51500; -0.65750Coordinates: 52°30′54″N 0°39′27″W / 52.51500°N 0.65750°W / 52.51500; -0.65750
Opened 2001
Major events Champ Car World Series
BTCC
British Superbikes
British F3
Pickup Truck Racing
British GT Championship
Oval Circuit
Length 1.47 mi (2.38 km)
Turns 4
Banking 3.5 – 7.9º
Lap record 0:24.719 [2] (Brazil Tony Kanaan, LolaFord, 2001, CCWS)
International Super Sports Car Long Circuit [3]
Surface Tarmac
Length 2.05 mi (3.299 km)
Turns 13
Banking 7.0º (turn 1)
International Super Sports Car Circuit
Surface Tarmac
Length 1.94 mi (3.12 km)
Turns 12
Banking 7.0º (turn 1)
National Circuit
Surface Tarmac
Length 1.70 mi (2.74 km)
Turns 9
Lake Circuit
Surface Tarmac
Length 0.67 mi (1.08 km)
Turns 5
Handling Circuit
Surface Tarmac
Length 0.97 mi (1.56 km)
Turns 4
Rally Stage
Surface Gravel
Length 0.62 – 1.23 mi (1.00 – 1.98 km)
Turns 15 (approx)

Rockingham Motor Speedway is a modern motorsport venue in England and Europe's fastest racing circuit,[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]

Located in Northamptonshire, Rockingham falls under the control of two local authorities. The main entrance is in Corby but the actual track is situated in East Northamptonshire.[citation needed]

Rockingham is easily accessible from the A1, M1, A14, A43 and A6116, and is located 30 minutes from Leicester, Peterborough and Northampton.

The nearest railway station is Corby, which is two miles from the circuit and runs an hourly direct service to London St Pancras International.

The Circuit[edit]

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.[1]

The Oval Circuit[edit]

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.[4]

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 .[5]

The International Super Sportscar Circuit (ISSC)[edit]

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[edit]

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.

Rockingham Motor Speedway's Main Grandstand

History[edit]

Construction of Rockingham started late in 1999, with the opening meeting planned for May 2001.[4]

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.[2][4]

After almost ten years of planning and 23 months of construction work, Rockingham opened for business on Monday 15 January 2001. It was formally opened by the Queen on 26 May 2001.[2]

Records[edit]

Oval lap records[edit]

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 and a racing circuit.[2]

Series Date Driver Car Time
Champ Car 22 September 2001 Brazil Tony Kanaan Lola-Ford B1/00 24.719sec (215.397 mph)

[2]

Road Course Lap Records[edit]

International Super Sports Car Circuit[edit]

Lap records around the International Super Sports Car Circuit

Series Date Driver Car Time
British Formula Three 30 September 2007 Estonia Marko Asmer Dallara-Mercedes F307 1m 12:620 (96.17 mph)

[6]

International Super Sports Car Long Circuit[edit]

Lap records around the International Super Sports Car Long Circuit

Series Date Driver Car Time
British Formula Three 10 June 2012 England Jack Harvey Dallara-Volkswagen F312 1m 18:627 (93.94 mph)

[7]

Major Racing Results[edit]

CART Championship[edit]

Gil de Ferran on his way to victory in the 2001 Rockingham 500.
Year Race Driver Constructor
2001 Rockingham 500 + Brazil Gil de Ferran Reynard Honda 01i
2002 Sure For Men Rockingham 500 Scotland Dario Franchitti Lola Cosworth B2/00

+ Race shortened due to lack of practice. [5][8]

British Formula Three season[edit]

British Touring Car Championship[edit]

Year Race Driver Car
2002 Green Flag British F3 Championship, Rd 17 Japan Shinya Hosokawa Dallara-Mugen-Honda F302
Green Flag British F3 Championship, Rd 18 England Robbie Kerr Dallara-Mugen-Honda F302
2003 Green Flag British F3 Championship, Rd 15 Brazil Nelson Piquet, Jr. Dallara-Mugen-Honda F303
Green Flag British F3 Championship, Rd 16 England Jamie Green Dallara-Mugen-Honda F303
2007 Lloyds TSB Insurance British F3 Championship, Rd 21 Estonia Marko Asmer Dallara-Mercedes F307
Lloyds TSB Insurance British F3 Championship, Rd 22 Germany Maro Engel Dallara-Mugen-Honda F307
2008 British F3 Championship, Rd 7 Finland Atte Mustonen Dallara-Mercedes F308
British F3 Championship, Rd 8 Sweden Sebastian Hohenthal Dallara-Mercedes F308
2009 Cooper Tires British F3 Championship, Rd 5 England Nick Tandy Mygale-Mercedes M-08 F3
Cooper Tires British F3 Championship, Rd 6 Sweden Marcus Ericsson Dallara-Mercedes F309
2010 Cooper Tires British F3 Championship, Rd 13 France Jean-Éric Vergne Dallara-Volkswagen F310
Cooper Tires British F3 Championship, Rd 14 England Daniel McKenzie Dallara-Mercedes F310
Cooper Tires British F3 Championship, Rd 15 Brazil Felipe Nasr Dallara-Volkswagen F308
2011 Cooper Tires British F3 Championship, Rd 22 Brazil Pietro Fantin Dallara-Volkswagen F308
Cooper Tires British F3 Championship, Rd 23 Australia Scott Pye Dallara-Mercedes F308
Cooper Tires British F3 Championship, Rd 24 Denmark Kevin Magnussen Dallara-Volkswagen F308
2012 Cooper Tires British F3 Championship, Rd 9 Malaysia Jazeman Jaafar Dallara-Volkswagen F312
Cooper Tires British F3 Championship, Rd 10 England Harry Tincknell Dallara-Volkswagen F312
Cooper Tires British F3 Championship, Rd 11 England Jack Harvey Dallara-Volkswagen F312
2014 Cooper Tires British F3 Championship, Rd 1 Race 1 United Kingdom Sam MacLeod Dallara-Mercedes F312
Cooper Tires British F3 Championship, Rd 1 Race 2 United Kingdom Sam MacLeod Dallara-Mercedes F312
Cooper Tires British F3 Championship, Rd 1 Race 3 United Kingdom Matt Rao Dallara-Mercedes F312
Year Race Driver Car
2003 Green Flag MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 9 England Matt Neal Honda Civic Type-R
Green Flag MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 10 France Yvan Muller Vauxhall Astra Coupé
2007 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 4 Italy Fabrizio Giovanardi Vauxhall Vectra
Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 5 Italy Fabrizio Giovanardi Vauxhall Vectra
Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 6 England Jason Plato SEAT León
2008 HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 4 Scotland Gordon Shedden Honda Civic
HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 5 England Mat Jackson BMW 320si
HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 6 England Matt Neal Vauxhall Vectra
2009 HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 25 England Stephen Jelley BMW 320si
HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 26 England Jason Plato Chevrolet Lacetti
HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 27 England Stephen Jelley BMW 320si
2010 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 4 England Matt Neal Honda Civic
Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 5 England Jason Plato Chevrolet Cruze
Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 6 England Matt Neal Honda Civic
2011 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 22 England Jason Plato Chevrolet Cruze LT
Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 23 Scotland Gordon Shedden Honda Civic
Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 24 England James Nash Vauxhall Vectra
2012 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 22 England Jason Plato MG6 GT
Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 23 Scotland Gordon Shedden Honda Civic
Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 24 Scotland Gordon Shedden Honda Civic
2013 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 22 England Andrew Jordan Honda Civic
Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 23 England Rob Austin Audi A4
Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 24 England Andrew Jordan Honda Civic

[9]

British Superbike Championship[edit]

Year Race Rider Manufacturer
2001 2001 British Superbike Championship Rd.23 England Sean Emmett 996cc Ducati 996
2001 British Superbike Championship Rd.24 England Michael Rutter 750cc Kawasaki ZX-7RR
2002 2002 British Superbike Championship Rd.13 England Michael Rutter 996cc Ducati 996 RS
2002 British Superbike Championship Rd.14 England Michael Rutter 996cc Ducati 996 RS
2003 2003 British Superbike Championship Rd.13 + Japan Yukio Kagayama 999cc Suzuki GSX-R1000
2003 British Superbike Championship Rd.14 Japan Yukio Kagayama 999cc Suzuki GSX-R1000

+ Qualification cancelled due to dangerous track conditions, grid decided by championship positions.

[10][11][12]

Other Events[edit]

The Rockingham Stages[edit]

On 12 December 2004, the first Stage Rally, the Rockingham Stages, was held at the venue. This was jointly promoted by Middlesex County Automobile Club and Thame Motorsport Club.

Year Overall Winner co-driver Car
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

[13]

Oval Racing[edit]

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.

Other Activities[edit]

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.

Filming[edit]

Television[edit]

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[edit]

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.

Education[edit]

The Learning Grid Rockingham Festival in the first week of July promotes science and engineering to school pupils.

Shows and Exhibitions[edit]

The venue has a sizeable showground area which has hosted the following shows:

  • The French Car Show
  • The Site Equipment Demonstration (SED) Show
  • Greenfleet
  • The LCV Show
  • Stobart Fest

References[edit]

External links[edit]


A panorama of Rockingham