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Oval racing in Europe?


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#1 Flat Black 84

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 16:15

Please forgive my ignorance, but what oval circuits existed and continue to exist in Europe? I'm sure there were/are some, but damned if I know about them. Always seemed to me that Europe is the home of road/street courses to the exclusion of just about everything else.

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#2 kayemod

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 16:26

I think you're more or less correct. If you want true ovals, the only ones I can think of offhand are Rockingham in England, Lausitz in what used to be East Germany, and the one on the roof of the FIAT factory at Lingotto just outside Turin.

Edited by kayemod, 20 June 2012 - 12:34.


#3 Nev

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 16:28

I think you're more or less correct. If you want true ovals, the only ones I can think of offhand are Rockingham in England, Lausitz in what used to be East Germany, and the one on the roof of the FIAT factory at Lingotto just outside Milan.


There's always Brooklands of course .... one of the first if not THE first in the world (but you might have to drive through a few houses/shops to complete a circuit nowadays)

#4 alansart

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 16:28

There are Ovals in the UK that are not used for racing. Millbrook and Leyland for instance.

#5 Vitesse2

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 16:30

Sitges-Terramar, Monza, Miramas, Montlhéry ...

#6 Nev

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 16:35

Sitges-Terramar, Monza, Miramas, Montlhéry ...


Mallory Park if you take a short-cut past the Devil's Elbow?

How do you define a "true Oval"? Are there any? Does an oval have to be ovoid (egg-like)?

Edited by Nev, 19 June 2012 - 16:37.


#7 Jim Thurman

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 16:45

Please forgive my ignorance, but what oval circuits existed and continue to exist in Europe? I'm sure there were/are some, but damned if I know about them. Always seemed to me that Europe is the home of road/street courses to the exclusion of just about everything else.

Depends on what you're looking for...

Large, and historic, ovals have been covered well. Short track oval racing has been held in the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and France. Pretty much since the late 1940's/early 1950's. I also believe there has been short track oval racing in Scandanavia. Quite a short track oval scene in the UK and the Netherlands.

#8 jee

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 16:53

http://www.oasces.com/

#9 BRG

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 16:54

There are Ovals in the UK that are not used for racing. Millbrook and Leyland for instance.

The Millbrook oval is of course circular. Whilst the MIRA oval is triangular.

#10 Flat Black 84

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 16:56

Mallory Park if you take a short-cut past the Devil's Elbow?

How do you define a "true Oval"? Are there any? Does an oval have to be ovoid (egg-like)?


Definitions of just about anything are ticklish, but by oval I mean at least two straights and two large turns. Chicanes are right out.

Indy--two short chutes, two long straights and four turns--is certainly not ovoid, but is routinely classed as an oval. Similarly, Langhorne, which was almost circular, was classed as an oval. I suppose I would consider circular and even triangular courses as ovals.

#11 Flat Black 84

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 17:02

http://www.oasces.com/


Interesting. I wonder if stock car racing will transplant to the Occident any better than US football. They've apparently found at least a niche, though.

#12 David McKinney

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 17:10

No-one seems yet to have mentioned shorter courses as used for banger racing, speedway motorcycling etc. Some of them at least must fall into the oval definition, and there must be scores

#13 arttidesco

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 18:29

No-one seems yet to have mentioned shorter courses as used for banger racing, speedway motorcycling etc. Some of them at least must fall into the oval definition, and there must be scores


Aldershot and Mendip Raceways are a couple of paved short tracks I have visited in the last 12 months and then there was Oak Tree Arena which is a short oval grass track.

A few more test tracks :-

VW Testgelaender at Ehra-Lessien was one I always wanted to visit though it is not strictly an oval it is very interesting variation easily found on Google Earth.

Opel has a large test circle at Rodgau-Dudenhofen also easily visible on Google Earth.

There is also a 12 km test oval just outside Papenburg not sure who that one belongs to.

Nothing that comes close to the excitement of the trioval at Talledega or the history of Brooklands though :cool:


#14 kayemod

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 18:52

No-one seems yet to have mentioned shorter courses as used for banger racing, speedway motorcycling etc. Some of them at least must fall into the oval definition, and there must be scores


Perfectly true of course, but isn't that the case almost everywhere outside the Amazon basin? I was assuming that FB meant longer paved ovals, the ones built for turning left on at high speed, and I don't think we've ever had very many of those in Europe.

#15 Amphicar

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 18:54

I suppose (at a stretch) the pre-war Avus track might be classed as an oval....

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#16 GrzegorzChyla

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 19:08

Kielce racetrack in Poland also has an oval variant:

Kielce Racetrack Oval 'Mała Pętla'

It is 1 km long and in 1980s was used for speedway style races of 4 Fiats 126p.
It is not banked.
It is called 'Mała Pętla' - 'a small loop'

#17 kayemod

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 19:11

I suppose (at a stretch) the pre-war Avus track might be classed as an oval....


I'd let it in, but it fails on FB's "two large turns" stipulation.


#18 Jim Thurman

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 19:21

Interesting. I wonder if stock car racing will transplant to the Occident any better than US football. They've apparently found at least a niche, though.

There has been "stock car" racing in Europe and the UK going back many years. See post #7

Edited by Jim Thurman, 19 June 2012 - 19:24.


#19 Jim Thurman

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 19:24

No-one seems yet to have mentioned shorter courses as used for banger racing, speedway motorcycling etc. Some of them at least must fall into the oval definition, and there must be scores

David, I did in post #7 http://forums.autosp...a...t&p=5778847

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#20 Flat Black 84

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 20:05

I suppose (at a stretch) the pre-war Avus track might be classed as an oval....

Posted Image


A stretch is right! Avus looks like two drag strips connected by hairpins more than an "oval". Interesting layout, but what I have in mind has a higher turn-to-straight ratio.

#21 Flat Black 84

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 20:07

No-one seems yet to have mentioned shorter courses as used for banger racing, speedway motorcycling etc. Some of them at least must fall into the oval definition, and there must be scores


By "banger," do you mean stock cars of some sort?

#22 AAGR

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 20:45

Has anyone mentoned Nardo yet ? It isn't a circular race track, but many endurance speed records have been set there.

And what about the Ford-Europe testing complex at Lommel in Belgium ?





#23 AAGR

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 20:47

I think you're more or less correct. If you want true ovals, the only ones I can think of offhand are Rockingham in England, Lausitz in what used to be East Germany, and the one on the roof of the FIAT factory at Lingotto just outside Milan.


'Just outside Milan' ? It's actually in the city of Turin ....

#24 Amphicar

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 20:49

I'd let it in, but it fails on FB's "two large turns" stipulation.

Well one of them (the NordKurve) was pretty big...and scary:

Posted Image

and, although I described Avus as pre-war, it survived the hostilities and hosted the 1959 German Grand Prix - scary banking included:

Posted Image

Brickyard? Schmickyard! and while we're on Adolf's greatest hits - what about the Norisring, the mad whirligig that the DTM cars
take around the crumbling remains of the Nuremburg Rally reviewing tribune?

Posted Image

OK not really an oval in the letter of the law but close in spirit.



#25 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 21:02

Oval tracks in Britain and Europe? There have been hundreds, mostly small ones, lots still exist but check out my website
DEFUNCT STOCK CAR TRACKS
for details of a over 140 that no longer function/exist, and what's become of them.

Many were also speedway and/or greyhound tracks, others were purpose built - there was one such bespoke track at Neath in Wales surfaced with crushed coal (seriously!) and some were at best oval...ish (check out Gelsenkirchen in Germany for a perfect example).




#26 Flat Black 84

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 21:26

Oval tracks in Britain and Europe? There have been hundreds, mostly small ones, lots still exist but check out my website
DEFUNCT STOCK CAR TRACKS
for details of a over 140 that no longer function/exist, and what's become of them.

Many were also speedway and/or greyhound tracks, others were purpose built - there was one such bespoke track at Neath in Wales surfaced with crushed coal (seriously!) and some were at best oval...ish (check out Gelsenkirchen in Germany for a perfect example).


That's quite a website.

So "oval" racing, at least in the UK has been fairly vibrant. It's interesting how road racing the the Formula series have almost totally obscured the history and reality of European oval racing, except for the specialist.

PS--What about board tracks? In the US in the 20s and early 30s they were quite the rage. I'm guessing there were a few board tracks in Europe as well.

#27 David McKinney

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 21:41

David, I did in post #7

I should have said no-one's "listed" them - which Simon Lewis now effectively has


#28 David McKinney

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 21:42

What about board tracks? In the US in the 20s and early 30s they were quite the rage. I'm guessing there were a few board tracks in Europe as well.

It doesn't follow...


#29 Jim Thurman

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 21:53

That's quite a website.

So "oval" racing, at least in the UK has been fairly vibrant. It's interesting how road racing the the Formula series have almost totally obscured the history and reality of European oval racing, except for the specialist.

PS--What about board tracks? In the US in the 20s and early 30s they were quite the rage. I'm guessing there were a few board tracks in Europe as well.

No, since Brooklands and Montlhery are the only European ovals that either pre-date or were concurrent with the U.S. board track era, there was no motivation for the creation of large board ovals there.

#30 kayemod

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 21:57

'Just outside Milan' ? It's actually in the city of Turin ....


Well, that all depends on how you define "just outside...", but you're right of course. No wonder I sometimes get lost in Italy.


#31 wenoopy

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 06:14

Don't forget the 9 kilometre Grenzlandring circuit in Germany. This was an anti-clockwise oval circuit using ring roads around the village of Wegberg near the borders of Belgium and the Netherlands and was used in the early 1950's for international(?) 500 cc Formula 3 races and I think national German Formula 2 races also. John Cooper held the lap record at one stage at 103 or 106 mph in a streamlined Cooper-Norton 500cc.

Stu

#32 Cirrus

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 07:10

Nestling by the M3, only about 5 miles from Brooklands is this oval...

https://maps.google....l...mp;t=h&z=15

#33 David McKinney

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 08:12

The famous Chobham test track :)

#34 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 08:46

No, since Brooklands and Montlhery are the only European ovals that either pre-date or were concurrent with the U.S. board track era, there was no motivation for the creation of large board ovals there.

There was also the matter of less cheaply-available timber(required in massive quantities) and of course the damper climate in northern Europe is less kind on untreated timber.

#35 alansart

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 08:54

Renault have the Aubevoye Test Track SE of Rouen. Not sure if it's ever been used for racing.

http://www.satellite...eer.com/id/9038

#36 Amphicar

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 09:21

Incidentally, why is the shorter layout at Brands Hatch called the Indy Circuit? It isn't an oval nor does it (to me) seem to resemble the Brickyard very much. Is it perhaps because it was the layout used when the USAC cars raced at Brands in 1978? Was that layout called something else before Rick Mears and his buddies came-a-calling?

#37 alansart

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 09:23

Incidentally, why is the shorter layout at Brands Hatch called the Indy Circuit? It isn't an oval nor does it (to me) seem to resemble the Brickyard very much. Is it perhaps because it was the layout used when the USAC cars raced at Brands in 1978? Was that layout called something else before Rick Mears and his buddies came-a-calling?


It was named the "Indy Circuit" after the USAC Indycars came over in the 70's. Before that I think it was just called the "Short" or "Club" circuit.


#38 Stephen W

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 09:35

It was named the "Indy Circuit" after the USAC Indycars came over in the 70's. Before that I think it was just called the "Short" or "Club" circuit.


It seems to be consistantly referred to as the Club Circuit in the old MSA Blue Books prior to the USAC visit.


#39 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 10:21

It seems to be consistantly referred to as the Club Circuit in the old MSA Blue Books prior to the USAC visit.


And even the USAC boys were disappointed that they didn't get to run on the GP circuit instead. :|

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#40 john winfield

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 10:44

And even the USAC boys were disappointed that they didn't get to run on the GP circuit instead. :|


It seemed such a disappointing decision at the time. We used to feel cheated if the F3s were on the short circuit; surely the Indy cars were worthy of a run on the GP track? I used to think the F5000s were wasted on the short circuit too.
Was it a commercial decision by John Webb (?) who, unsure of likely crowd size, preferred to group all action and spectators in the Brands bowl, rather than risk spreading them too thinly out in the country? Imagine, it could have happened to the BOAC 500/1000; Pedro and the others would have become dizzy....
I could understand the choice of track for the Indy cars if the short circuit hadn't included Druids, the tightest corner of all. The GP circuit would have let them stretch their legs a bit.


#41 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 10:50

It seemed such a disappointing decision at the time. We used to feel cheated if the F3s were on the short circuit; surely the Indy cars were worthy of a run on the GP track? I used to think the F5000s were wasted on the short circuit too.
Was it a commercial decision by John Webb (?) who, unsure of likely crowd size, preferred to group all action and spectators in the Brands bowl, rather than risk spreading them too thinly out in the country? Imagine, it could have happened to the BOAC 500/1000; Pedro and the others would have become dizzy....
I could understand the choice of track for the Indy cars if the short circuit hadn't included Druids, the tightest corner of all. The GP circuit would have let them stretch their legs a bit.


By contrast they all seemed to feel comfortable at Silverstone - wasn't it Al Unser who said you could run off the track at some points and 'keep spinning for a week before you hit anything"?

#42 wenoopy

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 10:55

Hockenheim :

The original circuit before the A6 Autobahn was built across the Western end of it. Developed as a test track by Mercedes from an older track, in the late 1930's.

It was used post-war for the German motor-cycle GP on a number of occasions and was described as having 2 long straights, with a 'U-bend' at the Western end and the familiar Ostkurve without chicanes at the other end. John Surtees won the 1960 500 cc GP there on an MV and his fastest lap was at 125.23 mph for the 4.78 miles, slower than the 1957 record of Bob McIntyre of 129.55 mph on a Gilera, when the all-enveloping front fairings were still permitted.

I'm not sure if this would constitute an 'oval' depending on the sharpness of the westend bend. Was it ever used for cars in this earlier form?

Stu

#43 Spaceframe

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 10:57

Depends on what you're looking for...

Large, and historic, ovals have been covered well. Short track oval racing has been held in the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and France. Pretty much since the late 1940's/early 1950's. I also believe there has been short track oval racing in Scandanavia. Quite a short track oval scene in the UK and the Netherlands.

Roskilde Ring was an oval circuit. The original short circuit consisted of two straights, one of them with a slight right kink, linked by two banked left-turns. The bankings were notorious for being slippery in the wet, as huge advertisings were painted onto the tarmac all over the banked turns.

The original circuit was only in use from 1955 until 1958 (I think there was dirt track racing even before 1955) as an extension was built for 1957, more than doubling the length of the circuit from the original 670 metres (0.416 miles) to 1.4 kilometres (0.870 miles).

The two F1 races held at the circuit (in 1961 and 1962) were held at the full circuit, which incidentally also had banked turns, although it could no longer be called an oval, as there now was a proper right turn onto the original back straight.

Edited by Spaceframe, 20 June 2012 - 10:58.


#44 David McKinney

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 11:02

Cars raced at Hockenheim as early as 1938. The circuit was described as a shortened version of the course used for motorcycle racing (since 1932), so I don't know if the car circuit would have been oval...

#45 Amphicar

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 11:11

I don't think it is ever used as such, even for karts but there is an oval layout at the Three Sisters circuit near Wigan (or if Rob's driving, just outside Bolton):

Posted Image

#46 Spaceframe

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 11:11

Cars raced at Hockenheim as early as 1938. The circuit was described as a shortened version of the course used for motorcycle racing (since 1932), so I don't know if the car circuit would have been oval...

I think the circuit map

http://www.the-fastl...many/index.html

indicates that the 1938-63 configuration classifies as an oval.

#47 DogEarred

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 11:28

It seemed such a disappointing decision at the time. We used to feel cheated if the F3s were on the short circuit; surely the Indy cars were worthy of a run on the GP track? I used to think the F5000s were wasted on the short circuit too.
Was it a commercial decision by John Webb (?) who, unsure of likely crowd size, preferred to group all action and spectators in the Brands bowl, rather than risk spreading them too thinly out in the country? Imagine, it could have happened to the BOAC 500/1000; Pedro and the others would have become dizzy....
I could understand the choice of track for the Indy cars if the short circuit hadn't included Druids, the tightest corner of all. The GP circuit would have let them stretch their legs a bit.


It turned out to be quite a procession, with only one real overtake in the whole race. Far too short & twisty a circuit.

#48 Peter Leversedge

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 11:59

Lots of 1/4 mile dirt oval tracks in Australia & New Zealand

#49 alansart

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 12:23

I don't think it is ever used as such, even for karts but there is an oval layout at the Three Sisters circuit near Wigan (or if Rob's driving, just outside Bolton):

Posted Image


It would be a very small oval.

I also believe I drew that map :)


#50 Geoff E

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 13:25

Posted Image

Google maps http://maps.google.c...r...077162&z=14