Rockingham Motor Speedway

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Rockingham Motor Speedway [1]
Rockingham Motor Speedway.svg
The "oval" speedway (2001–2018)
Rockingham Motor Speedway - Road course.svg
International Super Sports Car Circuit (2001–2018)
LocationRockingham, Northamptonshire, England, United Kingdom
Time zoneGMT (UTC+0)
BST (April–October, UTC+1)
Coordinates52°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
Broke ground1999
Opened15 January 2001; 21 years ago (2001-01-15)
Closed24 November 2018; 4 years ago (2018-11-24)
Major eventsFormer:
CART
Rockingham 500 (2001–2002)
BTCC (2003, 2007–2018)
British GT (2001–2003, 2006–2018)
BRDC British F3 (2015–2018)
British F3 (2002–2003, 2007–2014)
BSB (2001–2003)
ASCAR (2001–2008)
EuroBOSS (2001)
Oval Circuit (2001–2018)[2]
Length1.479 miles (2.380 km)
Turns4
Banking3.5 – 7.9º
Race lap record0:25.217 (211.144 mph (339.803 km/h)) (United States Jimmy Vasser, Lola B02/00, 2002, CART)
International Super Sports Car Long Circuit (2001–2018)[3]
SurfaceTarmac
Length2.050 miles (3.299 km)
Turns13
Banking7.0º (turn 1)
Race lap record1:18.627 (United Kingdom Jack Harvey, Dallara F312, 2012, F3)
International Super Sports Car Circuit (2001–2018)
SurfaceTarmac
Length1.940 miles (3.122 km)
Turns12
Race lap record1:12.620 (Estonia Marko Asmer, Dallara F307, 2007, F3)
International Long Circuit (2001–2018)
SurfaceTarmac
Length2.560 miles (4.120 km)
Turns16
Race lap record1:32.880 (United Kingdom Tony Worswick, Jordan 194, 2001, F1)
International Short Circuit (2001–2018)
SurfaceTarmac
Length2.436 miles (3.920 km)
Turns14
Race lap record1:29.183 (Brazil Nelson Piquet Jr., Dallara F303, 2002, F3)
Superbike Circuit (2001–2018)
SurfaceTarmac
Length1.740 miles (2.800 km)
Turns13
Race lap record1:09.893 (Japan Yukio Kagayama, Suzuki GSX-R1000, 2003, BSB)
National Circuit (2001–2018)
SurfaceTarmac
Length1.700 miles (2.736 km)
Turns9
Lake Circuit (2001–2018)
SurfaceTarmac
Length0.670 miles (1.078 km)
Turns5
Handling Circuit (2001–2018)
SurfaceTarmac
Length0.970 miles (1.561 km)
Turns4

Rockingham Motor Speedway is a former racing motorsport venue in Rockingham, Northamptonshire, England, United Kingdom, near the town of Corby. It hosted professional and club races, as well as testing, track days, driver training, exhibitions and conferences. It claimed to be Europe's fastest racing circuit,[4] and was the first banked oval constructed in Britain since the closure of Brooklands in 1939.[5]

The venue entered administration in 2017 and hosted its final motor racing in November 2018.[6] In 2021, the facility was purchased by Constellation Automotive for £80million.[7]

History[edit]

Construction of Rockingham started late in 1999, with the opening meeting planned for May 2001.[8]

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.[9][8]

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.[9]

After the sale of the venue, Rockingham held a "super sendoff" to mark its final day as a racing circuit on 24 November 2018.[6] The circuit was sold to Rockingham Automotive Limited who used the facility for vehicle storage and logistics.[10] In mid-2021, Constellation Automotive who own brands such as Cinch and We Buy Any Car purchased the site.[11]

The circuit[edit]

Aerial of Rockingham Motor Speedway

Rockingham had 13 configurations of track, which could be used for anything from touring cars to motorcycles to rally cars. The circuit was 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 offered a total seating capacity of 52,000. The inner pit and paddock complex was accessed from the Rockingham Building via two pedestrian tunnels and there was a further spectator viewing area on top of the pit garages.[1]

The oval circuit[edit]

The 1.479 mi (2.380 km) American-style banked oval circuit was 60 ft (18.3 m) wide and had a maximum bank angle of seven degrees and comprised four very distinct corners. Rockingham's oval was unique in the UK and one of only two speedways in Europe (the other is Lausitzring). The oval circuit could 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 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. Since the event was just a week after the 11 September terrorist attacks and subsequent closing of US airspace, the event was in jeopardy. However, the logistics were worked out, with many of the teams stripping off their sponsors' logos ("livery") as a mark of respect for the victims of the attacks. The race distance was also shortened to 300 km. 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 (246.89 km/h) from Kenny Bräck at the wheel of 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 (338.91 km/h)) in the Player's Forsythe Racing Reynard-Cosworth. Carpentier became for first Canadian to ever hold the outright lap record at an English circuit.[8]

The US-based series returned in September 2002. This was the last time Champ Cars raced at this facility. The race 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 .[12]

The International Super Sportscar Circuit (ISSC)[edit]

The ISSC was 1.940 mi (3.122 km) long and between 36 and 60 ft (11 and 18.3 m) wide, with a maximum bank angle of seven degrees at turn one. Rockingham's International Super Sportscar Circuit was used by the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship as well as for most other car race events. The circuit combined 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 ranged from 1m 24s in the BTCC to 1m 12s in British F3.

Wet handling facility[edit]

The site had a wet handling area with a kick plate which was used to simulate a variety of driving conditions including ice, rain and slippery wet leaves. These different road conditions were simulated at much slower speeds than in normal driving and in a fully controlled environment. The area was 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.

Layout configurations[edit]

Lap Records[edit]

Rockingham is Europe's fastest banked oval racing circuit, with the unofficial lap record for the 1.479 mi (2.380 km) oval set at 24.719 seconds by Tony Kanaan in his Lola B01/00 Champ Car on 22 September 2001 – an average speed of 215.397 mph (346.648 km/h). Rockingham was 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.[9] The fastest official race lap records at Rockingham Motor Speedway are listed as:

Category Time Driver Vehicle Event
Oval: 2.380 km (2001–2018)
Champ Car 0:25.217[9][13] United States Jimmy Vasser Lola B02/00 2002 Sure for Men Rockingham 500
Stock car racing 0:34.475[14] United Kingdom Ben Collins Chevrolet Monte Carlo 2003 6th Rockingham ASCAR round
Pickup truck racing 0:40.391[15] United Kingdom Michael Smith PickupSport Pickup 2.0 16v 2009 Rockingham Pickup Truck Racing round
International Super Sports Car Circuit: 3.122 km (2001–2018)
Formula Three 1:12.620[16][17] Estonia Marko Asmer Dallara F307 2007 Rockingham British F3 round
GT3 1:17.769[18] Denmark Marco Sorensen Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 2018 Rockingham British GT round
Formula 4 1:18.898[19] United Kingdom Lando Norris Mygale M14-F4 2015 Rockingham MSA Formula round
Formula BMW 1:20.978[20] United Kingdom Henry Surtees Mygale FB02 2007 Rockingham Formula BMW UK round
Formula Ford 1:21.633[21] United Kingdom Callum MacLeod Mygale SJ07 2007 Rockingham British Formula Ford round
GT2 1:22.872[22] United Kingdom Luke Hines Panoz Esperante GTLM 2006 Rockingham British GT round
NGTC 1:23.193[23] United Kingdom Gordon Shedden Honda Civic Type R (FK2) 2015 Rockingham BTCC round
GT4 1:23.642[18] Denmark Patrik Matthiesen Ginetta G55 GT4 2018 Rockingham British GT round
Super 2000 1:24.588[24] United Kingdom Jason Plato Chevrolet Cruze 2011 Rockingham BTCC round
BTC Touring 1:24.698[25] United Kingdom Tom Onslow-Cole BTC-T Vauxhall Vectra 2008 Rockingham BTCC round
SEAT Cupra Championship 1:48.334[26] Republic of Ireland Gavin Smith SEAT León Cupra R 2003 Rockingham SEAT Cupra Championship round
International Super Sports Car Long Circuit: 3.299 km (2001–2018)
Formula Three 1:18.627[27][28] United Kingdom Jack Harvey Dallara F312 2012 Rockingham British F3 round
LMP675 1:23.803[29] United Kingdom Mike Millard Rapier SR2 2013 Rockingham Britcar Endurance GT round
GT3 1:25.145[30][31] United Kingdom Phil Keen Porsche 911 (997) GT3-R 2012 Rockingham British GT round
GT4 1:31.164[30][32] United Kingdom Philip Glew Lotus Evora GT4 2012 Rockingham British GT round
International Short Road Course: 3.920 km (2001–2018)
Formula Three 1:29.183[33] Brazil Nelson Piquet Jr. Dallara F303 2003 Rockingham British F3 round
GT1 1:37.918[34] United Kingdom Colin Blower Ultima GTR 2003 Rockingham British GT round
Formula BMW 1:38.790[35] United Kingdom Matthew Howson Mygale FB02 2005 Rockingham Formula BMW UK round
Formula Ford 1:39.217[36] United Kingdom Tom Gaymor Van Diemen RF03 2003 Rockingham British Formula Ford round
BTC Touring 1:43.592[37] United Kingdom Alan Morrison BTC-T Honda Civic Type-R 2003 Rockingham BTCC round
Porsche Carrera Cup 1:44.345[34] United Kingdom Patrick Pearce Porsche 911 (996) GT3 Cup 2003 Rockingham British GT round
International Long Road Course: 4.120 km (2001–2018)
Formula One 1:32.880[38] United Kingdom Tony Worswick Jordan 194 2001 Rockingham EuroBOSS round
Formula Three 1:33.817[39] United Kingdom Robbie Kerr Dallara F302 2002 Rockingham British F3 round
GT1 (GTS) 1:41.536[40] United Kingdom Ian McKellar Saleen S7-R 2002 Rockingham British GT round
GT2 1:43.211[40] United Kingdom Tim Sugden Porsche 911 (996) GT3-R 2002 Rockingham British GT round
Superbike Course: 2.800 km (2001–2018)
BSB 1:09.893[41] Japan Yukio Kagayama Suzuki GSX-R1000 2003 Rockingham BSB round

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 01I
2002 Sure For Men Rockingham 500 Scotland Dario Franchitti Lola B02/00

+ Race shortened due to lack of practice. [12][42]

British Formula Three season[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
2016 BRDC British F3 Championship Rd.7 United Kingdom Lando Norris Tatuus-Cosworth F4-016
BRDC British F3 Championship Rd.8 Australia Thomas Randle Tatuus-Cosworth F4-016
BRDC British F3 Championship Rd.9 United Kingdom Ricky Collard Tatuus-Cosworth F4-016
2017 BRDC British F3 Championship Rd.4 United Kingdom Enaam Ahmed Tatuus-Cosworth F4-016
BRDC British F3 Championship Rd.5 United States Cameron Das Tatuus-Cosworth F4-016
BRDC British F3 Championship Rd.6 United Kingdom Ben Hingeley Tatuus-Cosworth F4-016

British Touring Car Championship[edit]

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
2014 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 22 Northern Ireland Colin Turkington BMW 125i M Sport
Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 23 Northern Ireland Colin Turkington BMW 125i M Sport
Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 24 England Rob Austin Audi A4
2015 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 22 England Mat Jackson Ford Focus ST
Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 23 Scotland Gordon Shedden Honda Civic Type R
Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 24 England Jason Plato Volkswagen CC
2016 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 22 Scotland Gordon Shedden Honda Civic Type R
Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 23 England Sam Tordoff BMW 125i M Sport
Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 24 Republic of Ireland Árón Smith Volkswagen CC
2017 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 22 England James Cole Subaru Levorg GT
Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 23 England Ashley Sutton Subaru Levorg GT
Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 24 England Andrew Jordan BMW 125i M Sport
2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 19 England Adam Morgan Mercedes-Benz A-Class
Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 20 England Ashley Sutton Subaru Levorg GT
Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 21 Northern Ireland Chris Smiley Honda Civic Type R

[43][44]

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.

[45][46][47]

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. The two day event rapidly grew to be one of the favourite events on the British stage rally calendar. For several years it was a round of the MSN (Motor Sports News) Circuit Rally Championship. The 2018 Rockingham Stages was the last competitive motorsport event to be held at the Speedway.

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
2013 Paul King Fiona Scarrett Ford Escort RS
2014 David Tinn Marc Fowler Proton Satria Neo Millington
2015 David Tinn Giles Dykes Proton Satria Neo Millington
2016 Rhys Yates Tom Woodburn Ford Fiesta R5
2017 William Hill Richard Crozier Ford Fiesta R5
2018 Paul King Alicia Miles Ford Escort RS

[48]

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 was operational 357 days a year and the majority of events that took place at the venue were not motorsport competitions. Events ranged from manufacturer product launches to dealer training, track days and testing, and corporate and experience days.

The City Auction Group holds an auction weekly at the circuit.

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

The venue had 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
  • Japfest 2

Media appearances[edit]

Television[edit]

Magazines and newspapers[edit]

The Telegraph and Fiat held a track day at Rockingham in 2012 and published a number of articles featuring the circuit.[citation needed] Autosport's Caterham SP300R video review was made on the ISSC[citation needed], 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[citation needed]. 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[citation needed]. 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[citation needed].

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

A panorama of Rockingham