With the 2021 race season now picking up speed we move onto the 4th race of the season at Oulton Park Circuit in Cheshire on the 3rd July. As I have become a huge fan over the past few months I have been looking into the history of the circuit and wanted to share my TOP 10 interesting facts….
FACT 1: In the early 18th Century the Oulton Estate comprised of a manor house and gardens surrounded by Cheshire farmland, by the end of the century the farmland was converted into a park and this is now the site of Oulton Park.
FACT 2: During the second world war Oultons Parks grounds were used as a staging camp for the US army and general Patton was based here prior to the Normandy Landings in 1944.
FACT 3: General Pattons PT instructor, the Heavyweight Champion of the World, Joe Louis, gave exhibition bouts in the valley at Deer Leap.
FACT 4: By the early 1950s the UK had several motor racing circuits but the Northwest seemed to have been forgotten. The members of the Mid-Cheshire Car Club took it upon themselves to develop the track which was completed in 1953 at just 1.5 miles long.
FACT 5: The first meeting took place on the 8th August but the RAC would not allow spectators to attend as they wanted the first meeting to be successfully completed before opening to the public. However, 3,000 Mid-Cheshire Club Members and their guests attended as spectators, this was followed by a second meeting in October where 40,000 spectators attended.
FACT 6: By 1954 the track had grown to 2.23 miles and by the next year had been further extended to the full track size of 2.76 miles long but can be adapted to the ‘Fosters Circuit’ which is just 1.6 miles long.
FACT 7: In August 1954 the circuit saw international racing begin and the tradition of the Gold Cup Event began which attracted many F1 teams and drivers. The Gold Cup quickly became known as a real test of man and machine. Stirling Moss went on to win the cup five times!
FACT 8: Blaster Bates, a British demolition expert and his colleague were removing tree stumps with dynamite close to a corner of the circuit with dynamite. After the first blast, a couple ran off at speed from behind a nearby bush. On closer investigation Blaster Bates and his friend discovered some ladies’ underwear in the brook which resulted in Knickerbrook Corner being given its name!
FACT 9: In 2004 the circuit was acquired by MotorSport Vision (MSV) who have given the circuit new life along. MSV, headed by ex F1 racer Jonathan Palmer has completely turned the circuit around.
FACT 10: In 2007 all of the circuits marshaling stations were re-designed with protective cages. This was to prevent situations similar to the events of 2006 when cars had collided with marshaling posts.
Written by: Vicki Crawte, Managing Director