Brooklands, the world’s first purpose-built racing circuit, is set to be restored to its former glory thanks to a lottery fund.
Opened in 1907, the 4.43-kilometre (2.75-mile) Surrey-based circuit was the brainchild of High F. Locke King in response to the British government putting a blanket 20mph speed limit on public roads: at a time when France was emerging as an automotive powerhouse, it was feared that the British industry would be left behind unless there was a facility to undertake high-speed testing.
The need for high speeds and adequate spectator viewing saw the circuit designed with a 100-foot width and with a banking of 30°. The track was made with uncoated concrete (it was too expensive to lay tarmac) and it was notoriously bumpy; it was not uncommon to see cars getting airborne while on the banking!
The track could hold almost 290,000 spectators in its heyday.
It has not been used for competitive races since the outbreak of World War II in 1939, and its legendary banking has since deteriorated over time.
Part of the old circuit layout is currently taken up by the Brooklands Museum housed inside the World War II hangar, but that will be moved and rebuilt in order for the entire circuit’s original layout to be restored and potentially used again for competitive racing.
Image via Kevin Parrott and Pre War Minor
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