Rockingham Motor Speedway is a modern motorsport venue in England 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.
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.
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.
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 2022 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 Players 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, Scotlands 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.
Rockingham Motor Speedway's Main Grandstand
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.
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.
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). Källa: Wikipedia.