The UK has a long and illustrious history in the world of motor racing, dating back to the very first days of the sport. In fact, the first motor race ever run was between Ashton-Under-Lyne and Old Trafford. The event was held on 30th August 1867 and involved two steam carriages owned by Isaac Watt Boulton and Daniel Adamson respectively. It is perhaps unsurprising, then, that the UK is home to as many venues of immense historical value and nostalgia as it is. For the ardent fan of motor racing such bounty means there are many significant venues to make a pilgrimage to.
Speedy Silverstone: The UK’s premiere motor racing venue
Of course, if you’re thinking about visiting the most prestigious venues, look no further than Silverstone. Established as a racing circuit in 1948 (after The Royal Automobile Club leased the land from the Air Ministry), Silverstone has seen a number of huge events take place; from Moto GP and classic car shows, to the UK leg of the Formula One Grand Prix, numerous racers, renowned across the world, have been inspired by the thrills of Silverstone. In fact Max Mosley, former FIA president and one of the most famous names in Formula One, first developed a love for motor racing after his wife was gifted tickets to an event at Silverstone while he was still at University. Not content to just view the action from the sidelines, Mosley competed in dozens of races himself between 1966 and ’67 before forming The London Racing Team, a move that paved the way for his subsequent career.
If classic cars and races around hay bales are part of Silverstone, and motor racing’s, relatively ancient history, then Max Mosley is very much at the forefront of more recent events. His ambitions, influences, and innovations have helped to change the face of Formula One almost beyond recognition, and a tour of the UK’s most nostalgic racing spots isn’t complete without seeing where he took his first tentative steps in the sport.
Other historic racing circuits to be found in the UK
From motorcycle experiences, historic sports car races, and motorsport marshalling sessions, to saloon and sports car races, The British Superkart Grand Prix, and Owners’ Club meets, Donington Park is one of the UK’s most exciting motorsport venues; indeed, it was the country’s first permanent park circuit, opening in 1933. Whether you merely wish to spectate, or are more keen on taking part in the action, Donington is renowned across the racing world. Meanwhile, located in Weybridge, Surrey, on the site of the original motor racing circuit, Brooklands Museum offers something a little more nostalgic. As well as supercar visits and historically themed days there are also classic car shows. There are very few motor racing fans that won’t have heard of the Goodwood Revival or the Festival of Speed; and they’re just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the events that are held at this classic circuit.
The most important thing to consider when planning a daytrip to any of these fantastic venues – or any of the UK’s other amazing circuits and museums – is what you’d like to see, how far you’re able to travel, and the time of year. The UK is home to such a diverse program of events that it really pays to do your research. Ask yourself whether you are into classic cars, or a fan of the supercar experience? Are you looking to sit back and watch a race, or experience the history of the sport? You could probably fill your calendar with events and opportunities if you really want to and, let’s face it, why wouldn’t you?
From Donington Park to Silverstone, and Brands Hatch to Snetterton and beyond, the UK is blessed with some of the finest motor racing venues to be found anywhere in the world; no wonder sporting fans from far and wide flock to the UK in their droves to experience the roar of engines, screech of tyres, and the thrill of every race. Jam-packed with historic sites, museums, and exciting, operational racetracks, the UK is perhaps the world’s premiere venue for motor racing, so get out there and enjoy it!