Northampton

Rockingham Motor Speedway: Corby venue hosts final race

Rockingham Motor Speedway Image copyright Robert Laberge / Getty Images
Image caption The venue has hosted up to 52,000 fans and cost £45m to build

An oval motor racing track that sought to "break the mould" has hosted competitive racing for the last time.

Rockingham Motor Speedway in Corby, Northamptonshire, opened in 2001 and once hosted the British Touring Cars Championship (BTCC) and British GT.

But the venue, which can host 52,000 fans and cost £45m to build, has stopped hosting racing to become a "logistics hub" for the car industry in 2019.

The redevelopment will create 200 new jobs over the next 18 months.

It follows an announcement by the owners of the 1.5 mile (2.4km) track in August that it had been sold, prompting a change in "business operations" of the circuit.

A so-called "super send-off" for Rockingham took place on Saturday with a final day of racing at the circuit for various race classifications.


From steelworks to stadium

Image copyright Mark Thompson / Getty Images
Image caption Former Champ Car driver Dario Franchitti visited Rockingham while its construction was taking place
  • Rockingham Motor Speedway was built on the site of a former British Steel site in Corby at the turn of the millennium
  • When it was opened by the Queen in May 2001, it became the first new oval race track in the United Kingdom since Brooklands in Surrey closed in 1936
  • The track also claimed to be "Europe's fastest racing circuit", hosting Champ Car series racing in 2001 and 2002, but factors including poor ticket sales saw the event drop off the race calendar

Peter Hardman, the track's chief executive, said: "We have known for quite a while that things were going to change.

"There are a lot of tracks in the UK and it's a very hard business to sustain and Rockingham is a very expensive venue to keep operating."

Steve Slater, who worked at Rockingham in its first five years said there would be "mixed feelings" at seeing the venue end its time as a race track.

Image caption A so-called "super send-off" for Rockingham took place on Saturday with a final day of racing at the circuit for various race classifications

"It will be a sad day for motor sport generally," he said.

"This was an iconic venue which had the chance to break the mould in the UK, but never quite managed it.

"The Champ Car races in 2001 and 2002 redefined motor racing. It was an amazing sight, and an amazing sound."

Image copyright Robert Laberge / Getty Images
Image caption The Speedway once hosted the likes of the British Touring Cars Championship (BTCC) and British GT

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