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.