Rockingham Motor Speedway is a former racing motorsport venue in Rockingham, Northamptonshire, England, United Kingdom, near the town of Corby. It hosted professional and club races, as well as testing, track days, driver training, exhibitions and conferences. It claimed to be Europe's fastest racing circuit, and was the first banked oval constructed in Britain since the closure of Brooklands in 1939.
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 the sale of the venue, Rockingham held a "super send off" to mark its final day as a racing circuit on 24 November 2018. The circuit was sold to Rockingham Automotive Limited who used the facility for vehicle storage and logistics. In mid-2021, Constellation Automotive who own brands such as Cinch and We Buy Any Car purchased the site.
Rockingham had 13 configurations of track, which could be used for anything from touring cars to motorcycles to rally cars. The circuit was 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 offered a total seating capacity of 52,000. The inner pit and paddock complex was accessed from the Rockingham Building via two pedestrian tunnels and there was a further spectator viewing area on top of the pit garages.
The oval circuit
The 1.48 mile American-style banked oval circuit was 18.3 metres (60.0 ft) wide and had a maximum bank angle of seven degrees and comprised four very distinct corners. Rockingham's oval was unique in the UK and one of only two speedways in Europe (the other is Lausitzring). The oval circuit could 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 20–22 September 2001, 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. Since the event was just a week after the 11 September terrorist attacks and subsequent closing of US airspace, the event was in jeopardy. However, the logistics were worked out, with many of the teams stripping off their sponsors' logos ("livery") as a mark of respect for the victims of the attacks. The race distance was also shortened to 300 km. 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 of 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 Player's 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 was the last time Champ Cars raced at this facility. The race ran over the full distance of 500 km, Scotland's 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 was 1.94 miles long and between 18.3 and 11 metres wide, with a maximum bank angle of seven degrees at turn one. Rockingham's International Super Sportscar Circuit was used by the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship as well as for most other car race events. The circuit combined 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 ranged from 1m 24s in the BTCC to 1m 12s in British F3.
Wet handling facility
The site had a wet handling area with a kick plate which was used to simulate a variety of driving conditions including ice, rain and slippery wet leaves. These different road conditions were simulated at much slower speeds than in normal driving and in a fully controlled environment. The area was 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.
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 was 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 and a racing circuit.
|Champ Car||22 September 2001||Tony Kanaan||Lola B01/00||24.719sec (215.397 mph)|
Road course lap records
International Super Sports Car Circuit
Lap records around the International Super Sports Car Circuit
|British Formula Three||30 September 2007||Marko Asmer||Dallara-Mercedes F307||1m 12:620 (96.17 mph)|
International Super Sports Car Long Circuit
Lap records around the International Super Sports Car Long Circuit
|British Formula Three||10 June 2012||Jack Harvey||Dallara-Volkswagen F312||1m 18:627 (93.94 mph)|
Major racing results
|2001||Rockingham 500 +||Gil de Ferran||Reynard Motorsport Honda 01i|
|2002||Sure For Men Rockingham 500||Dario Franchitti||Lola Cosworth B2/00|
British Formula Three season
|2002||Green Flag British F3 Championship, Rd 17||Shinya Hosokawa||Dallara-Mugen-Honda F302|
|Green Flag British F3 Championship, Rd 18||Robbie Kerr||Dallara-Mugen-Honda F302|
|2003||Green Flag British F3 Championship, Rd 15||Nelson Piquet Jr.||Dallara-Mugen-Honda F303|
|Green Flag British F3 Championship, Rd 16||Jamie Green||Dallara-Mugen-Honda F303|
|2007||Lloyds TSB Insurance British F3 Championship, Rd 21||Marko Asmer||Dallara-Mercedes F307|
|Lloyds TSB Insurance British F3 Championship, Rd 22||Maro Engel||Dallara-Mugen-Honda F307|
|2008||British F3 Championship, Rd 7||Atte Mustonen||Dallara-Mercedes F308|
|British F3 Championship, Rd 8||Sebastian Hohenthal||Dallara-Mercedes F308|
|2009||Cooper Tires British F3 Championship, Rd 5||Nick Tandy||Mygale-Mercedes M-08 F3|
|Cooper Tires British F3 Championship, Rd 6||Marcus Ericsson||Dallara-Mercedes F309|
|2010||Cooper Tires British F3 Championship, Rd 13||Jean-Éric Vergne||Dallara-Volkswagen F310|
|Cooper Tires British F3 Championship, Rd 14||Daniel McKenzie||Dallara-Mercedes F310|
|Cooper Tires British F3 Championship, Rd 15||Felipe Nasr||Dallara-Volkswagen F308|
|2011||Cooper Tires British F3 Championship, Rd 22||Pietro Fantin||Dallara-Volkswagen F308|
|Cooper Tires British F3 Championship, Rd 23||Scott Pye||Dallara-Mercedes F308|
|Cooper Tires British F3 Championship, Rd 24||Kevin Magnussen||Dallara-Volkswagen F308|
|2012||Cooper Tires British F3 Championship, Rd 9||Jazeman Jaafar||Dallara-Volkswagen F312|
|Cooper Tires British F3 Championship, Rd 10||Harry Tincknell||Dallara-Volkswagen F312|
|Cooper Tires British F3 Championship, Rd 11||Jack Harvey||Dallara-Volkswagen F312|
|2014||Cooper Tires British F3 Championship, Rd 1 Race 1||Sam MacLeod||Dallara-Mercedes F312|
|Cooper Tires British F3 Championship, Rd 1 Race 2||Sam MacLeod||Dallara-Mercedes F312|
|Cooper Tires British F3 Championship, Rd 1 Race 3||Matt Rao||Dallara-Mercedes F312|
|2016||BRDC British F3 Championship Rd.7||Lando Norris||Tatuus-Cosworth F4-016|
|BRDC British F3 Championship Rd.8||Thomas Randle||Tatuus-Cosworth F4-016|
|BRDC British F3 Championship Rd.9||Ricky Collard||Tatuus-Cosworth F4-016|
|2017||BRDC British F3 Championship Rd.4||Enaam Ahmed||Tatuus-Cosworth F4-016|
|BRDC British F3 Championship Rd.5||Cameron Das||Tatuus-Cosworth F4-016|
|BRDC British F3 Championship Rd.6||Ben Hingeley||Tatuus-Cosworth F4-016|
British Touring Car Championship
|2003||Green Flag MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 9||Matt Neal||Honda Civic Type-R|
|Green Flag MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 10||Yvan Muller||Vauxhall Astra Coupé|
|2007||Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 4||Fabrizio Giovanardi||Vauxhall Vectra|
|Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 5||Fabrizio Giovanardi||Vauxhall Vectra|
|Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 6||Jason Plato||SEAT León|
|2008||HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 4||Gordon Shedden||Honda Civic|
|HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 5||Mat Jackson||BMW 320si|
|HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 6||Matt Neal||Vauxhall Vectra|
|2009||HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 25||Stephen Jelley||BMW 320si|
|HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 26||Jason Plato||Chevrolet Lacetti|
|HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 27||Stephen Jelley||BMW 320si|
|2010||Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 4||Matt Neal||Honda Civic|
|Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 5||Jason Plato||Chevrolet Cruze|
|Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 6||Matt Neal||Honda Civic|
|2011||Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 22||Jason Plato||Chevrolet Cruze LT|
|Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 23||Gordon Shedden||Honda Civic|
|Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 24||James Nash||Vauxhall Vectra|
|2012||Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 22||Jason Plato||MG6 GT|
|Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 23||Gordon Shedden||Honda Civic|
|Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 24||Gordon Shedden||Honda Civic|
|2013||Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 22||Andrew Jordan||Honda Civic|
|Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 23||Rob Austin||Audi A4|
|Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 24||Andrew Jordan||Honda Civic|
|2014||Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 22||Colin Turkington||BMW 125i M Sport|
|Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 23||Colin Turkington||BMW 125i M Sport|
|Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 24||Rob Austin||Audi A4|
|2015||Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 22||Mat Jackson||Ford Focus ST|
|Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 23||Gordon Shedden||Honda Civic Type R|
|Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 24||Jason Plato||Volkswagen CC|
|2016||Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 22||Gordon Shedden||Honda Civic Type R|
|Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 23||Sam Tordoff||BMW 125i M Sport|
|Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 24||Árón Smith||Volkswagen CC|
|2017||Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 22||James Cole||Subaru Levorg GT|
|Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 23||Ashley Sutton||Subaru Levorg GT|
|Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 24||Andrew Jordan||BMW 125i M Sport|
|2018||Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 19||Adam Morgan||Mercedes-Benz A-Class|
|Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 20||Ashley Sutton||Subaru Levorg GT|
|Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rd 21||Chris Smiley||Honda Civic Type R|
British Superbike Championship
|2001||2001 British Superbike Championship Rd.23||Sean Emmett||996cc Ducati 996|
|2001 British Superbike Championship Rd.24||Michael Rutter||750cc Kawasaki ZX-7RR|
|2002||2002 British Superbike Championship Rd.13||Michael Rutter||996cc Ducati 996 RS|
|2002 British Superbike Championship Rd.14||Michael Rutter||996cc Ducati 996 RS|
|2003||2003 British Superbike Championship Rd.13 +||Yukio Kagayama||999cc Suzuki GSX-R1000|
|2003 British Superbike Championship Rd.14||Yukio Kagayama||999cc Suzuki GSX-R1000|
+ Qualification cancelled due to dangerous track conditions, grid decided by championship positions.
The Rockingham Stages
On 12 December 2004, the first Stage Rally, the Rockingham Stages, was held at the venue. This was jointly promoted by Middlesex County Automobile Club and Thame Motorsport Club. The two day event rapidly grew to be one of the favourite events on the British stage rally calendar. For several years it was a round of the MSN (Motor Sports News) Circuit Rally Championship. The 2018 Rockingham Stages was the last competitive motorsport event to be held at the Speedway.
|2004||John Stone||Lee Carter||MG Metro 6R4|
|2004||John Stone||Lee Carter||MG Metro 6R4|
|2005||Steve Simpson||Mark Booth||Hyundai Accent WRC|
|2006||Steve Simpson||Simon Hunter||Hyundai Accent WRC|
|2007||Steve Simpson||Simon Hunter||Hyundai Accent WRC|
|2008||Steve Simpson||Simon Hunter||Hyundai Accent WRC|
|2009||Steve Simpson||Simon Hunter||Hyundai Accent WRC|
|2010||Tony Racey||Paul Heath||Subaru Impreza|
|2011||Pete Rayner||Aron Rayner||Ford Escort Mk.II|
|2012||Paul King||Alicia Miles||Ford Escort RS|
|2013||Paul King||Fiona Scarrett||Ford Escort RS|
|2014||David Tinn||Marc Fowler||Proton Satria Neo Millington|
|2015||David Tinn||Giles Dykes||Proton Satria Neo Millington|
|2016||Rhys Yates||Tom Woodburn||Ford Fiesta R5|
|2017||William Hill||Richard Crozier||Ford Fiesta R5|
|2018||Paul King||Alicia Miles||Ford Escort RS|
From 2001 to the end of 2007, Rockingham organised and funded American-style Stockcar racing on the oval. Originally known as ASCAR, the series changed name to "Days of Thunder", and then to SCSA (Stock Car Speed Association), before re-branding to the MAC Tools V8 Trophy for its final season in 2007. All cars were UK variants of the American "ASA National-Tour" Howe Racing chassis, running with either Ford, Chevrolet or Pontiac bodies. A change of circuit ownership for 2006 saw the end of promotion and funding for the series, and low grids in 2007 led the organising club (BRSCC) to amalgamate it with a road course series, and eventually to the demise of both championships before the end of 2008.
The circuit was operational 357 days a year and the majority of events that took place at the venue were not motorsport competitions. Events ranged from manufacturer product launches to dealer training, track days and testing, and corporate and experience days.
The City Auction Group holds an auction weekly at the circuit.
The Learning Grid Rockingham Festival in the first week of July promotes science and engineering to school pupils.
The venue had a sizeable showground area which has hosted the following shows:
- The French Car Show
- The Site Equipment Demonstration (SED) Show
- The LCV Show
- Stobart Fest
- Japfest 2
- Fifth Gear
- Wheeler Dealers
- Saturday Night Takeaway
- The Grand Tour
- Top Gear
Magazines and newspapers
The Telegraph and Fiat Punto held a track day at Rockingham in 2012 and published a number of articles featuring the circuit. Autosport's Caterham SP300R video review was made on the ISSC, and Car Magazine did a track test on the Nissan GT-R vs Porsche 911 Turbo in 2012 and a McLaren supercar group test in 2010. Car Dealer magazine reviewed the BMW M5 at Rockingham and compared it with a Mercedes E63 AMG, a Lexus ISF, a Porsche Panamera and an Infiniti M35h. The circuit also features on the Pistonheads website with videos showing the Caterham SP300 R and the new Astra VXR. Chris Harris on Cars showcased the BAC Mono.
- "International Super Sportscar Circuit". Archived from the original on 14 December 2011. Retrieved 11 March 2012.
- "Rockingham". Retrieved 31 May 2022.
- "Event Details - 15th/16th October - Rockingham". Timing Solutions.
- "Rockingham – Europe's fastest racing circuit". Rockingham Motor Speedway. Archived from the original on 16 December 2016. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
- Fox, Norman (29 July 2000). "Herbert drive to put Rockingham on map". The Independent. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
- "Rockingham Motor Speedway: Corby venue hosts final race". BBC News. 24 November 2018. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
- "Cinch owner buys Rockingham Motor Speedway for £80 million". Autocar. Retrieved 25 August 2022.
- Peter Swinger, "Motor Racing Circuits in England : Then & Now" (Ian Allan Publishing, ISBN 0 7110 3104 5, 2008)
- "About Rockingham". Archived from the original on 4 July 2013. Retrieved 1 May 2013.
- "Rockingham: Ex-racetrack used to store thousands of vehicles". BBC. Retrieved 25 August 2022.
- "BCA and Cinch owner buys up Rockingham Motor Speedway". Car Dealer Magazine. Retrieved 25 August 2022.
- "2002 Sure for Men Rockingham 500K". ChampCarStats.com.
- "Circuits - Rockingham". British F3 International Series. Archived from the original on 23 February 2010. Retrieved 3 March 2010.
- "Harvey wins in style at Rockingham". Formula3.co. Archived from the original on 1 October 2015.
- "2001 Rockingham 500K". ChampCarStats.com.
- "Results". TouringCars.net. Archived from the original on 2 May 2013.
- "Results". BTCC.net.
- "Motorcycle Racing Online - British Superbike race winners 1987 to 1992". Motorcycle Racing Online.
- "British Superbikes". LineOne.net. Archived from the original on 23 July 2018. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
- "Archive for the 'Motorcycles' Category". Motorsport Winners. Archived from the original on 25 March 2013. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
- "Rockingham Stages". rockinghamstages.co.uk.
- "PressReader.com - Digital Newspaper & Magazine Subscriptions". www.pressreader.com. Retrieved 27 April 2022.
- Rockingham.co.uk – Rockingham official site
- Pickup Truck Racing
- Rockingham satellite image Google Maps
- MSN Circuit Rally Championship
- Middlesex County Auto Club