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Unusual uses for motor racing tracks/venues


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#1 Graham Clayton

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Posted 01 August 2021 - 04:58

In the aftermath of the terrible floods that decimated large parts of Western Germany a couple of weeks ago, the Nurburgring pit paddock was used as a central storage/marshalling area for emergency vehicles and recovery machinery and equipment, while some of the buildings were being used as collection centres for donations to help those people who lost all of their possessions.

What other unusual uses have motor racing tracks/venues been used for? There are already threads for music concerts held at motor racing venues and cycling events held at motor racing venues, so I would like them not to be mentioned.



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#2 Ray Bell

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Posted 01 August 2021 - 05:06

We've seen before that Donington Park was used by the army during WW2 for their transport divisions' needs...

 

Penrith Speedway also became an army base during that war.



#3 Derwent Motorsport

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Posted 01 August 2021 - 07:19

Rockingham is now a huge car storage place. 50k cars at £1 a day - much better earner than racing!



#4 Vitesse2

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Posted 01 August 2021 - 08:06

Brooklands was used for military motorcycle training during the Great War. Its other use as an airfield and the expansion of the existing aircraft factories meant it became an important site during WW2. As Ray says, Donington Park was used by the army during and after WW2 - there are some photos and information on pages 1 and 2 of the Starkey's Bridge thread.

 

Crystal Palace Park was used as a temporary refugee camp during 1940 and remained in military hands until almost the end of the war.

 

Montlhéry was taken over by the French army in 1939 and used for (at least) motorcycle training - a motorised machine gun unit was based there too. It was later used as an internment camp for gypsies. After liberation it was a US Army vehicle depot, a fate which also befell Monza.

 

Monza had been rebuilt between 1938 and 1941; these pictures were taken during a victory parade by the South African 6th Armoured Division, being reviewed by General Mark Clark, who was C-in-C 15th Army Group, of which the 6th Armoured was a component. The local motor club's records had also been stored there, as had some of Alfa Romeo's racing cars.

 

6_SA_Arm_Div_Monza_Parade.jpg

 

gen-clark.png?w=768

 

When US troops arrived at the Nürburgring in 1945 there was a Wehrmacht field hospital on site and the famous Sporthotel was filled with refugees; pedestrian tunnels under the track were used as ad hoc bomb shelters by the local inhabitants. The buildings were also used to store some of the books and manuscripts from the library of the University of Bonn.



#5 Izzyeviel

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Posted 01 August 2021 - 11:26

Belle Island is right on the US-Canada border... i like to think its a border post when not used by Indycar. Surely the only track in the world thats on a border?

 

Cleveland was an actual airport, montreal & Albert park are actual parks, Avus was a pukka motorway, all i can think of at the moment. There must be some good ones somewhere.


Edited by Izzyeviel, 01 August 2021 - 11:30.


#6 absinthedude

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Posted 01 August 2021 - 12:52

Belle Island is right on the US-Canada border... i like to think its a border post when not used by Indycar. Surely the only track in the world thats on a border?

 

Cleveland was an actual airport, montreal & Albert park are actual parks, Avus was a pukka motorway, all i can think of at the moment. There must be some good ones somewhere.

 

In the iron curtain days would AVUS not have straddled the East/West Berlin border?



#7 Izzyeviel

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Posted 01 August 2021 - 12:57

No idea!



#8 Ray Bell

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Posted 01 August 2021 - 19:18

The thread, however, is about what circuits have been used for after they've become circuits...

 

AVUS was a motorway before it was a circuit..



#9 Alan Lewis

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Posted 01 August 2021 - 19:21

In the iron curtain days would AVUS not have straddled the East/West Berlin border?


I think the original AVUS did, but the post-war layout was shortened.

#10 Alan Lewis

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Posted 01 August 2021 - 19:25

The former RAF Ouston in Stamfordham hosted racing in the 1960s and was subsequently transferred to the army. It is now called Albemarle Barracks and hosts the Royal Horse Artillery (coincidentally, my grandfather's regiment in WWII).

#11 lcbulldog

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Posted 01 August 2021 - 19:29

Texas World Speedway (TWS), in College Station was used as a dump for flooded vehicles after Hurricane Harvey in 2017.  Now it is becoming a housing development.



#12 Tim Murray

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Posted 01 August 2021 - 20:07

My understanding is that the AVUS was built as a race- and test track, opening in 1921. It was a toll road, so the public could pay to use it, but it wasn’t fully incorporated into the autobahn network until 1939/40.

In spite of what many reference works say, none of the circuit was ever in what became the Soviet zone, then East Berlin, after WW2, and was shortened post-war for other reasons. More details here:

http://www.kolumbus....snellman/t2.htm

#13 D-Type

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Posted 01 August 2021 - 20:51

Haa race tracanywhere been used for Covid testing or vaccinations?



#14 BRG

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Posted 01 August 2021 - 20:57

They are using Sandown Park in Esher as a vaccination centre.  But that is a track for gee-gees.



#15 Librules

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Posted 01 August 2021 - 21:07

They are using another Sandown Park (horse and motor racing tracks) near Melbourne in Australia for Covid jabs as well. The facility is used for a lot of display-type shows, the most recent being a caravan & camping show which was very well patronised (all that Covid cash due to the inability to leave the country). The overflow car park was the track itself.

#16 Vitesse2

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Posted 01 August 2021 - 21:11

Haa race tracanywhere been used for Covid testing or vaccinations?

You could get jabbed at Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the 500 weekend. And get a free t-shirt to prove it!

 

https://www.nbcbosto...dy-500/2393727/

 

Probably the case at a few other US race meetings too.



#17 Dick Dastardly

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Posted 01 August 2021 - 21:31

Was the Silverstone Medical Centre used as a temporary hospital during the early days of Covid in Spring 2020? I seem to think that it was offered, but don't know whether the offer was taken up. 



#18 Myrvold

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Posted 01 August 2021 - 21:32

Does Norisring count?



#19 KBY191

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Posted 01 August 2021 - 22:17

US rockers Guns 'n' Roses played at Melbourne's Calder Park in 1993 in what turned out to be an epic disaster with poor planning and extreme weather.

 

https://www.museumof...es-calder-park/



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#20 Stephen W

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 06:42

Curborough sprint course is used for all sorts of "events" including cycle racing and radio controlled model aircraft racing.

 

Harewood hillclimb has been used for cycle racing and downhill gravity racing.

 

Oulton Park has hosted Tractor-pulling!



#21 NewMrMe

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 07:09

Thruxton, which is a working airfield as well as  a circuit, is where the Hampshire Air Ambulance is based.

 

Not quite a circuit being used for alternative uses, but more of a story relating to what was there before. The final scenes of Terminator 2 were filmed at an abandoned steelworks. Those were later demolished and are now the site of Fontana/Auto Club Speedway.



#22 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 08:54

They are using Sandown Park in Esher as a vaccination centre.  But that is a track for gee-gees.

Sandown Pk in Victoria is used for both 1hp racing as well as hundreds of horsepower.



#23 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 09:08

Going the other way. The used up clay pughole on Torrens Rd Brompton SA was aquired to be used as a soccer ground..

BUT because of the soil, and the lack of light it was abandoned for that. That and it held water like a bottle when it rained

So it became a speedway, from 1949 to 1979. A very succesfull place under Art Gallery owner [and speedcar competitor] Kym Bonython.



#24 Dick Dastardly

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 10:30

Brands Hatch was used in the 2012 London Olympics, certainly the Para Olympics........Zanardi won Gold Medal(s) there



#25 Sterzo

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 10:45

We've seen before that Donington Park was used by the army during WW2 for their transport divisions' needs...

 

Penrith Speedway also became an army base during that war.

Ditto Oulton Park.

 

The only race I participated in at Crystal Palace was an International Pram Race. If I had to do it again I'd choose a smaller woman as the pram occupant.



#26 Charlieman

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 11:02

Mallory Park was an unlikely satellite landing ground (grass airfield) during WWII -- purposes mostly undeclared.



#27 Vitesse2

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 11:28

The original premise of this thread was unusual uses for existing permanent circuits - not places which later became racing circuits or airports, parks and public roads which formed temporary circuits. The OP also asked that musical and cycling* events - each of which subjects has a separate existing thread - should not be posted.

 

Thread drift is all very well, but do please read the instructions! :wave:

 

* In which I would group Paralympic hand cycling, given that some disabled riders in other classes use 'ordinary' bikes rather than adapted recumbents.

 

To get us back on track, here's an unusual use of the infield at Crystal Palace, a circuit which has featured in at least two other movies, although this is the only one I know of which isn't motor sport-themed:

 

 

The training for the Mini drivers in The Italian Job was filmed on the startline straight and the structure you can see behind Michael Caine is the TV transmitter.



#28 Ray Bell

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 13:19

Would you count Parramatta Park being used for school sports?

 

Mount Druitt, with one corner having a school built over it and another a corner of an industrial area, had playing fields laid out along some of the flat ground where the original airstrip from which the circuit derived was located. And what I thought was a cycle racing course (being very specific here) built on a part of it. However, it now seems that's a footrace course, the 'Whalan Reserve Park Run' happens there, with their website saying that there used to be a go-cart track there.

 

Well, history may not be their strong point...



#29 Alan Lewis

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 15:34

Would the golf course inside IMS count?

#30 LittleChris

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 16:41

A friend of ours did the London Marathon several years ago and part of her training involved taking part in a half marathon on the Silverstone GP circuit.  



#31 JacnGille

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 17:55

Road Atlanta has been used for cycling events, both road and MTB, over the years.



#32 Vitesse2

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 19:05

Back to the Nürburgring ... a Bundeswehr parade on the 20th anniversary of the founding of NATO, June 6th 1969.

 



#33 hlfuzzball

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 19:29

Haa race tracanywhere been used for Covid testing or vaccinations?


Yes, Indianapolis 500 track was recently used for Covid testing and vacinations.

Michigan International Speedway was used as a test track by American Motors Corp., back in the day.

#34 Arjan de Roos

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 21:40

Brands Hatch was used in the 2012 London Olympics, certainly the Para Olympics........Zanardi won Gold Medal(s) there

Jacarapagua was used (up) for the 2016 Olympics.



#35 Dick Dastardly

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 21:56

A friend of ours did the London Marathon several years ago and part of her training involved taking part in a half marathon on the Silverstone GP circuit.  

Back in 1979 / 80, there was a road running event held at Silverstone. I know because I competed in it !! The main event was a relay race....teams of 6, I think, each person running 1 lap of the GP circuit [3 miles or so]. I was in a team from work and did the 1st leg / lap.....was a bit disappointed in my run, only coming in 6th or 7th...I'd hoped to be higher up...But there was an individual race afterwards...1 lap of the old club circuit [1.6 miles].  I started off, was well in the lead by Copse, kept pushing on to Becketts then down the long straight to Woodcote.....I had a quick look behind, was over 400 metres ahead of next guy. Kept on pushing and took the chequered flag !! So, redemption after my earlier disappointment..  



#36 Ray Bell

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 22:05

Originally posted by JacnGille
Road Atlanta has been used for cycling events, both road and MTB, over the years.


Excluded by the opening post...

Meanwhile, do we count use of circuits as advanced driver training?

In particular, I'm thinking of the Esses at Warwick Farm, from the dying days of the circuit through several years after its closure. In addition to this, it was used for experiments to determine just what impact alcohol consumption had on drivers, both skilled and unskilled driver.

#37 JacnGille

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Posted 03 August 2021 - 01:41

Excluded by the opening post...
 

oops ... missed that.   :|



#38 Dick Dastardly

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Posted 03 August 2021 - 12:56

Does anyone know....was Croft ever used for an episode of The Champions or Persuaders or another similar 60s TV adventure series?

I have in my mind some memory of the place being adorned with palm trees etc !! ....it could be I was told mistakenly it was Croft. 



#39 Jim Thurman

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Posted 03 August 2021 - 15:58

Haa race tracanywhere been used for Covid testing or vaccinations?

 

Several in the U.S. Everyone points to IMS, but several other superspeedways have done likewise, including Fontana (the former California Speedway now Auto Club Speedway).



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#40 DogEarred

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Posted 03 August 2021 - 21:55

I believe the Snetterton circuit was and still is used as a development/test area for the makers of rain…

#41 2Bob

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Posted 03 August 2021 - 22:54

Adelaide Grand Prix track, or at least the little bit in Victoria Park, is now used for a Covid testing facility.  Also used at the end of the Darwin to Adelaide solar powered cars.  Used regularly for pedal cars too and also kite powered skate boards occasionally!



#42 john aston

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Posted 04 August 2021 - 06:02

Does anyone know....was Croft ever used for an episode of The Champions or Persuaders or another similar 60s TV adventure series?

I have in my mind some memory of the place being adorned with palm trees etc !! ....it could be I was told mistakenly it was Croft. 

Near -ish neighbour Rufforth was used in 1982 for filming the TV series Airline. 

 

Palm trees at Croft - I'm there this weekend and look forward to a pina colada under the waving palms.  



#43 Stephen W

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Posted 04 August 2021 - 07:52

Does anyone know....was Croft ever used for an episode of The Champions or Persuaders or another similar 60s TV adventure series?

I have in my mind some memory of the place being adorned with palm trees etc !! ....it could be I was told mistakenly it was Croft. 

 

Silverstone was used for the Roger Moore filming of the Persuaders. The car used by Moore was a Lola T190 which doubled for the March 701 which was filmed at Brands Hatch during the 1970 British GP.



#44 Collombin

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Posted 04 August 2021 - 08:16

Speaking of Roger Moore and Brands, there was an episode of The Saint about female racing drivers that was filmed at Brands.

#45 johnwilliamdavies

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Posted 04 August 2021 - 09:58

Curborough sprint course is used for all sorts of "events" including cycle racing and radio controlled model aircraft racing.

 

Harewood hillclimb has been used for cycle racing and downhill gravity racing.

 

Oulton Park has hosted Tractor-pulling!

 

A friend of mine is competing at Harewood on a skateboard in a couple of weeks time. 

 

As is common elsewhere, Llandow and Pembrey circuits hold criterium cycle races during summer evenings. 



#46 Steve123

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Posted 04 August 2021 - 10:23

Castle Combe is used for running events (usually 10 km) several times each year.

#47 LittleChris

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Posted 04 August 2021 - 12:19

As is common elsewhere, Llandow and Pembrey circuits hold criterium cycle races during summer evenings. 

 

Do they not use the cycle track near the ski centre at Pembrey for these races rather than the motor racing track ?



#48 johnwilliamdavies

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Posted 04 August 2021 - 14:47

Do they not use the cycle track near the ski centre at Pembrey for these races rather than the motor racing track ?

 

You're correct. I didn't even know it existed. I know there's a "mountain" bike course that they run along the beach, but I wasn't aware of a road track.

 

And veering wildly off-topic, if you're local, a McLaren in completely the wrong colour scheme is having a shakedown at Pembrey today - https://twitter.com/...882599454785542



#49 BRG

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Posted 04 August 2021 - 17:37

You're correct. I didn't even know it existed. I know there's a "mountain" bike course that they run along the beach, but I wasn't aware of a road track.

 

I think that is on the adjacent Pembrey Country Park.  I remember they started the Women's Tour bike race from there a couple of years.

 

Not perhaps strictly OT, but Meteor Power Ltd are based at the Silverstone circuit and are developing innovative diesel-battery hybrid conversions for railway locomotives.  Maybe the track will have its own rail connection one day!!



#50 Sterzo

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Posted 04 August 2021 - 19:38

Once attended a management training course in the building overlooking Clark Curve. Outdoor activities included a pit stop competition using engineless Formula Firsts. Most activities were indoors. No idea if this counts as unusual, but we were told to hug the person next to us at one point, which is an example of an unnatural act at a racing circuit.