Knockhill Racing Circuit is a motor racing circuit in Fife, Scotland. It opened in September 1974 and is Scotland's national motorsport centre. The circuit is located in the countryside about 6 miles (10 km) north of Dunfermline. It is the only FIA approved circuit in Scotland.


The circuit opened in September 1974.[1] It was created by joining service roads to a nearby disused mineral railway, closed in 1951, which served Lethans Colliery. The first car race was held on 18 May 1975.[2]

Between 1974 and 1983 the circuit had several different owners which helped to steadily develop the circuit's facilities and attractions.[3][4] Derek Butcher became the owner in 1984[5] and since then Knockhill has been developed to a point where it is able to host rounds of most of the major British car and motorbike championships. The circuit hosted a round of the British Touring Car Championships for twelve years until the deal ended in 2002 with the promoters seeking infrastructure upgrades.[6] Knockhill made improvements and the touring car series returned to Knockhill in 2004 with ITV televising the event live.[7][8][9] The British Formula Three Championship and British GT Championship returned to Knockhill in May 2005.[9]

In 2008, Knockhill named a corner Leslie's Bend in the honour of race car driver David Leslie shortly after his death in a small jet aircraft-accident at Farnborough.[10]

In 2012, the circuit restarted racing and track days in the anti-clockwise direction.[11] It gained a licence for motorbikes and cars to compete in both directions, the first racing circuit to achieve this in the UK in modern times.[12] As of December 2021 the circuit has an FIA grade 3 licence, the only circuit in Scotland issued with a licence by the FIA at this time.[13]

The circuit

The circuit has three layouts, the 1.3-mile (2.1 km) International layout with 9 corners, the 1-mile (1.6 km) National layout with 10 corners and the 0.5-mile (0.80 km) tri-oval. On all layouts the circuit is 10 metres (33 ft) wide,[14] and has a total elevation change of 37 metres (121 ft).

A Porsche at the top of Duffus Dip

A lap of Knockhill, beginning at the start line (which unusually for a motor racing circuit is at a different point to the finish line. Whilst the start line is roughly in the middle of the pit straight, the finish line is situated slightly to the west, towards the final corner), first involves passing over the crest which marks the highest point of the circuit. The circuit then levels out and passes under the pedestrian bridge before a short braking zone preceding the first of the nine corners, Duffus Dip, a fast, blind apexed downhill right hand corner widely regarded as one of the most challenging corners in the United Kingdom. At the foot of this decline is a quick left hand corner named Leslie's[10] followed swiftly by a tricky braking zone, due to vehicles possibly still being unsettled from the levelling out of the track through Leslie's, for the next corner, a ninety degree right hand bend named McIntyre's.

A car in Renault Formula 1 colours at Clark's corner

After the exit of McIntyre's there is a short straight leading to the next corner, a shallow right hand corner named Butcher's. After this the track dips downward (reaching the lowest point of the circuit) before rising fairly steeply upwards towards another very challenging corner. The Chicane is a challenge because the second, right hand part of the corner is completely blind and drivers do not see the apex of the second part until after they have turned in and it is this combined with the presence of a sausage kerb on the inside of the track to deter corner cutting that results in vehicles often going through the chicane on two wheels (and occasionally off the ground completely). After a run down the short back straight comes the next corner, Clark's, a blind uphill right hander, frequently the scene of vehicles getting onto two wheels and/or running wide into the gravel located on the outside of the corner. Fairly quickly following this is a corner now named Hislop's but previously named Railway, in reference to the fact that it is this section of the track that runs along the location of the old railway line. This corner is a left handed kink taken at relatively high speeds.

Some Volkswagens at Taylor's hairpin

Then comes the second longest straight of the circuit, also named Railway, where vehicles often slipstream one another in preparation for the heaviest braking zone belonging to the ninth and final corner. Taylor's is a hairpin corner that is one of the tightest found anywhere in the UK. It has an uphill apex, is arguably the best overtaking point of the circuit and was previously known as the Real Radio Hairpin for sponsorship reasons. Upon exit from Taylor's vehicles accelerate hard on the part uphill pit straight towards the finish line.

Events and facilities

The circuit hosts different events throughout the year, with the main points usually being the annual rounds of the British Touring Car Championship and British Superbike Championship. There are also lesser events such as the monthly meetings of the Scottish Motor Racing Club, Knockhill Motor Sports Club and Super Lap Scotland and regular trackdays for cars and bikes.[15] Some events are exclusive to the circuit, such as legend racing and the Scottish Formula Ford Championship races.[citation needed] Highlights of these events are televised as part of a show on Motors TV.[16] The circuit has on-site parking for 3,000 cars located in the areas south of Taylor's hairpin, Hislop's, Clark's and the Chicane.[6]

Knockhill offers a range of motorsport facilities. In addition to the main circuit it has a concrete rally stage to the south of the hairpin, a 500-metre long karting circuit located east of the main paddock area, a skid pan to the east of the karting circuit and an offroad course located to the north of the main circuit. There is also another offroading course in the main circuit's infield, which is now used for Rallycross events following its re-profiling in 2019.[17]

The main circuit offers track-driving experiences using a choice of Ferrari F430, Aston Martin Vantage, Legend race car, Honda Civic Type Rs and Audi-powered, Van Diemen single-seater formula cars.[15] The rally stage can be used for a rally driving experience in modified Ford Fiestas, the skid pan for a skid-control driving experience in a number of different cars, and the offroad course using a Jeep Wrangler. The circuit offers motorsport taster days for people with disabilities,[18] as well as a driving experience for those too young to legally drive on the public roads using Ford Fiestas.[19]

In popular culture

The circuit was the location for Kaiser Chiefs' "Hole in My Soul" music video, part of their Stay Together album,[20] and appears in several video games, including Project CARS 2, Colin McRae: Dirt and some of the games in the TOCA series. It appeared on television in Episode 7 of Series 8 of the British motoring programme Top Gear[21] and the first episode of Idris Elba: No Limits.[22] The track also appeared in The Grand Tour presents: Lochdown, where the track is featured in a series of time trials performed by the presenters.[23]

Lap records

The official race lap records at the Knockhill Circuit are listed as:

Category Time Driver Vehicle Event
Clockwise Circuit: 2.0389 km (1974–present)
British Sprint Championship 0:41.880 Heather Calder Gould GR55 2018 Knockhill British Sprint Championship round
Formula Three 0:47.039[24] Ryan Lewis Dallara F305 2005 Knockhill British F3 round
BSB 0:47.126[25] Rory Skinner Kawasaki ZX-10RR 2022 Knockhill BSB round
Formula 4 0:48.356[26] Ugo Ugochukwu Tatuus F4-T-421 2022 Knockhill British F4 round
GT1 (GTS) 0:49.972[27] Thomas Erdos[28] Saleen S7-R 2002 Knockhill British GT round
GT3 0:50.675[29] David Ashburn Porsche 911 (997) GT3-R 2010 Knockhill British GT round
NGTC 0:50.876[30] Ashley Sutton Infiniti Q50 BTCC 2020 Knockhill BTCC round
Formula BMW 0:51.124[31] Marcus Ericsson Mygale FB02 2007 Knockhill Formula BMW UK round
GTO 0:52.002[27] Tim Sugden[32] Porsche 911 (996) GT3-R 2002 Knockhill British GT round
Super Touring 0:53.024[33] Laurent Aïello Nissan Primera GT 1999 Knockhill BTCC round
BTC Touring 0:55.334[34] Yvan Muller BTC-T Vauxhall Astra Coupe 2001 Knockhill BTCC round
Group 5 (Sports 2000) 0:57.000[35] Richard Robarts Lola T294 1975 RAC Knockhill
Anti-Clockwise Circuit: 2.0389 km (1974–present)
British Sprint Championship 0:42.940 Heather Calder Gould GR55 2018 Knockhill British Sprint Championship round
TCR Touring Car 0:51.691[36] Josh Price Honda Civic Type R TCR (FK2) 2018 Knockhill TCR UK round

See also


  1. ^ Knockhill's Grade 3 licence expired 22 May 2022.


  1. ^ Owner of unique Knockhill racing circuit recalls early years as it celebrates 40th anniversary Daily Record 25 April 2014. Retrieved 14 November 2015
  2. ^ Johnston, Tim (20 May 2000). "Knockhill party bikes to a close Motorsports". Glasgow Herald. Retrieved 29 December 2021.
  3. ^ Hunston, Hugh (15 October 1979). "Knockhill revival". Glasgow Herald. p. 18. Retrieved 21 February 2015.
  4. ^ Douglas, Derek (2 December 1980). "Revival plan for racing track". Glasgow Herald. p. 9. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  5. ^ Barry, Maggie (25 April 2014). "Owner of unique Knockhill racing circuit recalls early years as it celebrates 40th anniversary". dailyrecord. Retrieved 10 July 2019.
  6. ^ a b "Knockhill is on track to keep pole position". The Scotsman. 8 January 2003. Retrieved 29 December 2021.
  7. ^ "Knockhill all set for return of Touring Cars". The Scotsman. 12 February 2004. Retrieved 29 December 2021.
  8. ^ "ITV to broadcast live from Knockhill". The Scotsman. 16 March 2004. Retrieved 4 January 2022.
  9. ^ a b "Knockhill revving up for the season". The Scotsman. 25 March 2005. Retrieved 29 December 2021.
  10. ^ a b "Knockhill Announce Special Tribute to David Leslie" (Press release). Knockhill Racing Circuit. 9 April 2008. Retrieved 14 October 2016.
  11. ^ "British Superbike Championship To Run Knockhill Circuit in New Direction in 2014". 11 February 2014.
  12. ^ McGill, Jim (22 March 2012). "Motorsport: New direction for Knockhill". The Scotsman. Retrieved 4 January 2022.
  13. ^ "List of FIA licensed circuits" (PDF). Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile. 23 December 2021. p. 6. Retrieved 29 December 2021.
  14. ^ Kennouche, Sofiane (19 November 2015). "The story behind Knockhill: Scotland's race track". The Scotsman. Retrieved 29 December 2021.
  15. ^ a b Allan, Matt (1 April 2016). "Knockhill set for the new racing season". The Scotsman. Retrieved 29 December 2021.
  16. ^ "Scottish Championship Car Racing – Mallard Productions". Mallard Productions. 31 October 2015. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  17. ^ "Rallycross comes back to Knockhill | Knockhill Racing Circuit". Retrieved 9 April 2022.
  18. ^ "Disability motorsport's talent search". BBC News. 16 October 2015.
  19. ^ "Teenage Driving Experiences | Teen Drive | Teen Rally Driving". Knockhill Racing Circuit. Retrieved 9 April 2022.
  20. ^ Barry, Maggie (29 August 2016). "Kaiser Chiefs burn the rubber at Knockhill Racing Circuit". Daily Record. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  21. ^ "BBC One - Top Gear, Series 8, Episode 7".
  22. ^ "Rally Driving". IMDb. 6 July 2015.
  23. ^ Sanderson, Ginny (30 July 2021). "Here's when you can watch The Grand Tour's 'Lochdown' Scotland special". Retrieved 3 August 2021.
  24. ^ "2005 Knockhill British F3 - Round 6". Retrieved 25 June 2022.
  25. ^ "2022 Bennetts British Superbike Championship - Round 4 Race 2 - Classification" (PDF). Retrieved 25 June 2022.
  26. ^ "2022 ROKiT F4 British Championship Certified by FIA Round 18 - Classification" (PDF). Retrieved 31 July 2022.
  27. ^ a b "British GT Championship Knockhill 2002". Retrieved 13 October 2022.
  28. ^ "Thomas Erdos". Retrieved 13 October 2022.
  29. ^ "British GT Championship 2010 Knockhill Classification". Retrieved 13 October 2022.
  30. ^ "BTCC 2020 » Knockhill Round 11 Results". Retrieved 25 June 2022.
  31. ^ "TOCA - Round 9 - Knockhill - 2007 Formula BMW UK Championship Round 17 - Classification - Amended". Retrieved 27 July 2022.
  32. ^ "Tim Sugden". Retrieved 13 October 2022.
  33. ^ "BTCC 1999 » Knockhill Round 19 Results". Retrieved 25 June 2022.
  34. ^ "BTCC 2001 » Knockhill Round 14 Results". Retrieved 25 June 2022.
  35. ^ "RAC Knockhill 1975". Retrieved 13 October 2022.
  36. ^ "TCR UK 2018 » Knockhill Round 4 Results". Retrieved 25 June 2022.

External links