Castle Combe Circuit History

History of Castle Combe Circuit

(Reproduced from the Castle Combe Circuit Website – here)

Castle Combe Circuit opened just 18 months after Silverstone in the summer of 1950, making it one of the longest established circuits in the UK. Until 1999, the circuit followed it’s original layout, around the perimeter of the old air base. In that first year, a young Stirling Moss won a race and over the next few years, names like Mike Hawthorn, Colin Chapman, Les Leston, Roy Salvadori and John Surtees thrilled huge crowds.

By the 60’s, several planning constraints had seen the circuit become run down and although the old Brands Hatch company, Motor Circuit Developments tried hard to develop meetings in the early 70’s with Formula 5000 and other major events, planning problems prevented long term development. However in 1976, the circuit lease was obtained by the current owners and the long road to developing the circuit as a modern national racing venue began. Nigel Mansell, Ayrton Senna, and David Coulthard all won races in the 70’s and 80’s, and by the 90’s, the circuit hosted rounds of most of the national championships.

Today, the circuit boasts modern facilities for competitors and spectators, and the resurfaced and now reshaped circuit providing what is generally recognised as providing the closest circuit racing in British motorsport.

Castle Combe Sporting Highlights
1950 Circuit opens. Stirling Moss wins 2.5 litre race
1952 John Surtees wins 500cc Motorcycle race
1953 Ken Wharton wins in BRM V16
1955 Last F1 race in Wiltshire. Harry Schell wins in Vanwall
1962 Mike Hailwood wins 250cc race on legendary 250cc Honda Four
1965 First 100mph lap. Chris summers in Lotus 24 Chevy
1971 Future World Champions Alan Jones & Jody Scheckter on F3 podium
1972 Barry Sheene wins 125cc race
1976 Nigel Mansell wins Formula Ford race
1982 Ayrton Senna wins Formula Ford 2000 race
1985 Damon Hill finished 6th in Formula Ford race
1989 Carl Fogarty stars in motorcycle meeting
1989 David Coulthard wins Formula Ford race
1995 First 2 day race meeting
1997 First 130mph lap establishes new outright lap record
1999 New corners increase circuit length to 1.85 miles
2000 Circuit celebrates 50th Year Anniversary
2001 F3 returns to Castle Combe Circuit after 25 years
2003 Three times F1 world champion Nelson Piquet watches his son race in F3 at the circuit
2004 First ever two day motorcycle meeting at the circuit, Castle Combe Superbike Grand National draws record crowds
2005 Handful of local residents force the local council to issue a noise nuisance order, effectively preventing the running of the British F3 & GT Championships
2006 Castle Combe launch it’s own Racing Club and run the British round of the World Superside Championship, our first ever World Championship event
2007 The circuit’s championships averaged their highest grid numbers
2008 Circuit runs its first ever 2 day classic meeting as forerunner to 2009 Classic Week

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