World’s oldest racetrack, Brooklands, receives funding boost in restoration bid

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The world’s oldest racetrack, Brooklands, has been handed a £5m ($7.7m) grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund in the UK to aid its restoration and upkeep.

The circuit first opened back in 1907 in the UK, two years before the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and played host to the first ever 24 hour motor race the same year. The picture accompanying this piece comes from a race held at the track in 1926.

Brooklands was also established as an airfield and military production centre during the First World War, but the racing track ceased to host racing in 1939 upon the outbreak of the Second World War.

Although the remains of the circuit are still traceable, the most notable attraction on site now is a Mercedes-Benz driving centre as the track has largely fallen into disrepair.

However, the old circuit could soon be given a fresh lease of life thanks to this grant – even if it won’t be playing host to any racing – as part of the “Brooklands Aircraft Factory & Race Track Revival Project”.

“This support from Lottery players is a real vindication of the museum’s vision of bringing a wartime temporary aircraft assembly building back to life as the only place in the country dedicated to showing how aircraft are designed and built,” Brooklands Museum director Alan Winn said.

“This unique exhibition – coupled as it is with a new home for our live aircraft, new workshops and stores, and the restoration of the Finishing Straight of the Race Track to its 1939 appearance – will give visitors of all ages an unmatched immersive and imaginative experience.

“We are now really looking forward to working with our consultants, contractors and volunteers to turn this fantastic vision into an exciting reality.”

Although a small British racetrack may not seem too important in the grand scheme of global motorsport, it is crucial for modern-day racing to remember its roots – something that this grant and the renovation of Brooklands will hopefully aid.

BREAKING: John Force taken to hospital after Phoenix eliminations crash

Photo courtesy NHRA
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16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force has been taken to a local hospital for evaluation and examination following a wicked crash with fellow Funny Car driver Johnnie Lindberg.

The crash occurred during the quarterfinals of Sunday’s final eliminations in the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix.

Force was headed for a win when the engine on his Peak Chevrolet Camaro blew up just as it crossed the finish line, destroying the body. Lindberg, meanwhile, lost traction about one-third of the way down-track, but then got back into the gas to try and catch Force.

Force appeared to lose control of the body-less car and went across from the left lane he was in to the right-hand lane, where he hit the retaining wall in front of Lindberg.

Lindberg tried to avoid Force, but couldn’t. To make matters worse, the body on Lindberg’s car then came off and Force’s and Lindberg’s cars got tangled up in Lindberg’s parachute, sending both chassis’ into the left retaining wall.

Lindberg emerged from his Funny Car under his own power and was checked at the medical center before heading back to his pit.

Force, meanwhile, was helped out of his mangled wreck by the NHRA Safety Safari and was transported by ambulance to the hospital due to the severity of the impact.

Even though Force will be credited with the round win, he obviously will not be able to continue for the remainder of the eliminations.

To add insult to injury, NHRA officials charged Force with oiling down the racetrack, his third of the season in just the first two races. That will cost him 15 points in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series standings and a fine of $4,000.

Here are several posts from social media, including video of the incident from NHRA:

This is the second time Force has had an engine explode and the body blew off in the last two weeks. He also wrecked during the qualifying Feb. 9 for the season-opening Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, California. Here’s the video of that wreck:

MORE: John Force taken to hospital as a precaution after Funny Car motor explodes.

We’ll update Force’s condition when it becomes available.

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