Brooklands is a former circuit near the town of Weybridge in Surrey, England. Having opened in 1907, it is generally regarded as the first purpose-built race track in the world. The track hosted two 'RAC Grands Prix', in 1926 and 1927. Due to demands of the war effort, and bomb damage, the circuit has been unusable since 1939.
The circuit was primarily a banked oval, with a slight dogleg on one side giving it something of a kidney shape. Cars entering the pits, or finishing a race, drove straight ahead at the dogleg, entering the aptly-named Finishing Straight.
Brooklands was the dream of Hugh F. Locke King, a wealthy businessman who became convinced that the UK needed a high speed track to enhance its auto industry. At the time, close to 50% of the world's car production was in France. He laid out the track over much of his inherited estate, located about 15 miles SW of London.
Construction started in 1906. The track was designed by Sir Henry Capel Lofft Holden, a senior officer in the Royal Artillery, along with being an engineer and auto enthusiast. His design called for two large banked corners, a long back straight (the Railway Straight) and a very slight right-hand dogleg in the other straight, giving the track a kidney shape. The surface was 100 feet (30.5 meters) wide, and made of uncoated concrete, due to problems with asphalt on banked turns at the time.
As mentioned, the track was primarily two long banked curves, with a back straight (Railway Straight) arcing slightly to the left, and a front straight with a gentle right dogleg. A car wishing to finish a race or enter the pits, went straight ahead at the dogleg, at a divide called The Fork. This straight was called the Finishing Straight, and at it's end bisected the northeast banked curve, so that the section before the Finishing Straight entered was called the Members Banking, and the section after was called the Home Banking. The point where the Finishing Straight re-entered the track was a fairly tight left hand bend, but that bend itself had a moderate banking, this making it less likely for cars to enter into traffic at low speeds.
The far southwest curve was known as the Byfleet Banking, and actually had the larger radius of the two curves.
The Members and Home curve reached a maximum banking at the top of the curve of 26.5 degrees, and the Byfleet banking reached a maximum of 25 degrees. The track was designed as 2.75 miles (4.426 km), but where the cars actually ran was measured as 2.767 miles (4.453 km).
Grand Prix Circuit
For the two Grand Prix races held in 1926-27, a slightly altered circuit was used. Every lap had the cars going straight at the Fork, and on the Finishing Straight the cars would encounter a pair of left-right-left chicanes, comprised of hay bales. The start/finish line was in between the two chicanes. After that the cars all made the sharp left onto the Home Banking. When the track was measured for the Grands Prix, the length was determined to be 2.616 miles (4.210 km), suggesting that the long track was longer than was determined, 20 years before.
In 1930, a new configuration, known as the ""Mountain Circuit", was created. The cars drove down the Finishing Straight in the usual direction, then made a sharp right, so they were technically traveling the wrong way on the Members Banking. Upon reaching the Fork, the cars made a very sharp right onto the Finishing Straight. The circuit was measured at 1.168 miles (1.880 km).
International Trophy Circuit
In 1936, the organizers developed the International Trophy Circuit. This was identical to the Grand Prix Circuit, except that the cars went around the traffic island at the Fork, before traveling down the Finishing Straight, essentially adding a chicane. No lap distance for this circuit was measured.
In 1937 Brooklands unveiled the closest thing it ever had to a true road circuit. This configuration used the Members and Home banking and part of the Railway Straight, but no other part of the oval. The start/finish line was on the Campbell Straight, parallel to and a few yards to the right of the Finishing Straight. After traveling about 2⁄3 of the length of the Finishing Straight, it made a hard, 150 degree right. A short straight led to the Banking Bend, a slightly wider 150 degree left, that put the cars on the Home Banking. After following the Home and Members banking around, and covering about half of the Railway Straight, the cars made an increasing-radius almost 180 degree left, known as the Railway Turn. A moderate straight (Soloman's Straight) led two a double-apex right called the Aerodrome Curve. Then a similar length straight (Sahara Straight) running next to the River Wye, led to a tight, 90 degree left (Howe's Corner) and after a short, unnamed straight, led into a sweeping 60 degree left, called Fork Bend. This led to a short straight that crossed the Finishing Straight, just after the Fork. A gentle, flat-out left led back onto the Campbell Straight. The course measured 2.267 miles (3.648 km) and was very popular among both drivers and spectators. Had the track survived the war, this could have been a venue for the modern British Grand Prix.
The following is a list of Formula One World Championship events held at the Brooklands circuit:
|Year||Event||Winning Driver||Winning Constructor|
|1926||I RAC Grand Prix|| Louis Wagner
|1927||II RAC Grand Prix||Robert Benoist||Delage|
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