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Oulton Park's "Britten's" chicane


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#1 nmansellfan

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Posted 30 March 2021 - 14:37

Like some others on TNF, I dabble with a bit of 'sim' racing (or play racing games, depending on how you view it).  Last week I was racing in the sim 'Iracing' at Oulton Park in a Radical SR8, which in real life is a two seater sports prototype type machine, weighs under 700kg, has a 380bhp V8 and a dollop of (but not too much) downforce.  The track in the sim is laser scanned, meaning it is accurate on screen to just a few mm compared to real life, in size / shape and altitude changes.  We raced on the config that follows the original 'International' layout, meaning the full circuit with the Shell Oils hairpin and without the Britten's and Knickerbrook chicanes.  Laptimes from the quick guys were well under 1m20sec, meaning - in the sim world - they were averaging more than 120mph per lap and approaching Knickerbrook at 165mph.

 

While peppering the Cheshire scenery with broken virtual Radicals, it lead me to wonder when the Britten's chicane was first added.  Many obviously know the sad event leading up to the Knickerbrook chicane's addition, but Britten's i'm not too sure when and why - other than a half remembered story I read somewhere that John Webb was testing a Mclaren Can-Am car in the early 70's and got air under the front wheels as he came over the top of Hill Top, leading to him deciding that a chicane needed to be added before a big shunt occured.

 

Can anyone corroborate my recollection or is it wide of the mark?


Edited by nmansellfan, 30 March 2021 - 15:10.


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#2 Dick Dastardly

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Posted 30 March 2021 - 16:15

Probably John Foulston, not John Webb, testing the McLaren....he owned Oulton, Brands & Snetterton in the 80s


Edited by Dick Dastardly, 30 March 2021 - 16:16.


#3 nmansellfan

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Posted 30 March 2021 - 16:35

Thanks, DD.  Yes definitely John Foulston rather than Webb.  Maybe the chicane was added later than I thought then, sometime between John F buying Oulton off John W in '86 and his accident at Silverstone in '87.


Edited by nmansellfan, 30 March 2021 - 16:39.


#4 nmansellfan

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Posted 30 March 2021 - 22:11

Well after an enjoyable evening's browsing on YouTube for evidence, I can deduce the chicane was added sometime between September '86 and April '87. So it may well have been Mr. Foulston who decided it was time to slow the cars down coming over the hill. Certainly by the mid-80s the heavy hitters that turned up for the libre races were really shifting by the time they got to Knickerbrook.

#5 jtremlett

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Posted 31 March 2021 - 06:46

According to this site https://www.racingci...ulton-park.html it was added in the 1970s.



#6 Stephen W

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Posted 31 March 2021 - 07:32

According to this site https://www.racingci...ulton-park.html it was added in the 1970s.

 

According to the above site "Foulston's/Britten's Chicane - named after two men involved at different times in the ownership of Oulton; John Foulston, who bought the Grovewood circuits in 1986, only to be killed testing an Indycar at Silverstone the following year, and John Britten, one of the partners of MotorSport Vision, current owners, who died following a battle with cancer in 2009."

 

According to the above site "Acknowledging the need to improve safety, a new chicane was introduced following the hairpin at Shell Oils Corner. Then, in 1975, more drastic action was taken with the creation of a new short circuit, which diverted off after Cascades to a tight right hander leading to Knickerbrook. Named the Fosters Circuit after long time circuit manager Ray Foster, it would become the main circuit used by cars for nearly 20 years."

 

Thus IF the "new chicane" was put in after Shell Oils Corner it must have been prior to 1975. Unfortunately in 1974 the hairpin was still called Esso Bend and there is no sign of a chicane in the circuit diagram published in the programmes. I suspect the Racing Circuits website have their wires crossed!  :wave: 



#7 70JesperOH

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Posted 31 March 2021 - 09:12

Well after an enjoyable evening's browsing on YouTube for evidence, I can deduce the chicane was added sometime between September '86 and April '87. So it may well have been Mr. Foulston who decided it was time to slow the cars down coming over the hill. Certainly by the mid-80s the heavy hitters that turned up for the libre races were really shifting by the time they got to Knickerbrook.

 

https://tentenths.co...391&postcount=3

 

According to the link above, chikane was added to Oulton Park by early 1987. Likely source the Autosport BTCC round 2 race report.

 

Jesper OH


Edited by 70JesperOH, 31 March 2021 - 09:15.


#8 nmansellfan

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Posted 31 March 2021 - 12:01

Thanks all.  I agree Steven, I think Racing Circuits do have their wires crossed (though it's still a great website) - the chicane definitely wasn't there in the late 70's and early 80's.  I watched this: https://youtu.be/1RYDy2ZKA1w from 1982 which had great camera shots of the far end of the circuit, still the original circuit line at that point.

 

Then I came across '"115press" channel on YT and he / she filmed  many races with a home video camera at Oulton through the eighties. This from 21st September 1986  https://youtu.be/f4jV5ZKIyGg was filmed at Island hairpin and the chicane entry and exit which would be visible from that point, is not there.

 

By the time they filmed this https://youtu.be/owX8J45D1jI for the 1987 Gold Cup the chicane was there.

 

Interestingly I've seen a post on TNF when using the search function that roughly corresponds with the statement on the Racing Circuits website where the poster mentioned the run up to Esso / Shell Oils was closed sometime in the 70's and reopened in the 80's, but trawling through videos on YT it looks like it was always in use during that time?


Edited by nmansellfan, 31 March 2021 - 12:27.