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British racing circuits we NEED in sim racing

The UK is home to many incredible features within the motorsport world. Be it hosting the start of the very first Formula 1 series, multiple events at illustrious venues such as Goodwood and Silverstone, and also the tremendous number of tracks that help build the industry before eventually succumbing to retirement.

Even if most of them are converted post-WW2 airfields, they all contain some incredible history and racing that we’d love to experience within its virtual form.

However, not every track is officially available for sim racing use, so we’ve put together a list of the ones we’d love to smash an open wheeler around while sitting in the comfort of our homes.

If we have missed any tracks you would like to see in sim-racing, then join in with the discussion and leave us a comment below.

As a side note, this excludes any modded or unofficial versions of these tracks, as we want to experience its laser-scanned form that contains every single tiny bump in the surface and know exactly what the drivers feel, or would have felt.

Anglesey Circuit

Based on an island off the North-West coast of Wales, Anglesey Circuit features an incredible array of corners and elevation, not to mention an exquisite view of the Irish Sea.

It’s the host to many track day experiences and motor racing events such as the Race of Remembrance, but it hasn’t seemed to be an attractive option for larger series, despite hosting the W Series pre-season test in 2021.

After a local farmer wanted to test his rally car on an abandoned army training camp, the circuit was built in the early 90s and received attention from rally and motorcycle events.

Come 2006, a major revamp took place on the circuit, transforming the original 1-mile layout into a 2.1-mile track with multiple configurations. These new layouts provide some incredibly tight racing along its elevation and tight corners, perfect for lower-powered cars such as Caterhams and Formula Vees.

So, if the circuit doesn’t suit a powerful car, then why would this be a consideration for sim-racing titles?

There’s only one word we need to say, scenery. The Irish Sea is an absolutely gorgeous sight for photo opportunities within any game and cannot be found on any other track out there. Sure Monaco, Zandvoort and Yas Marina are all located directly next to the sea, but can they produce a stunning background for your beloved Mazda MX-5? They have nothing on Anglesey.

Pembrey Circuit

The second Welsh circuit in this article, Pembrey Circuit was created in 1989 upon a decommissioned RAF airfield, after multiple tracks in Wales became unavailable to race on.

With its 1.4-mile circuit containing a variety of different corner difficulties and degrees, the venue became a favourite amongst teams and drivers for testing.

Pembrey Circuit, BTCC 1993 - Ian Khan, Independents winner, Joachim Winkelhock, 1st position, Steve Soper, 3rd position, and Will Hoy, 2nd position, are driven on a lap of honour. Motorsport Images
Pembrey Circuit, BTCC 1993 – Ian Khan, Independents winner, Joachim Winkelhock, 1st position, Steve Soper, 3rd position, and Will Hoy, 2nd position, are driven on a lap of honour. Motorsport Images

Due to its low popularity, great layout and lack of strict noise restrictions, this circuit was an attractive option for many Formula 1 teams in the 90s including McLaren, Williams and Jordan.

During that time, a lap record of 44.43 was set by Ayrton Senna, which has not been beaten to this day and may not be for a long-time considering F1 testing came to an end at this track in 1998.

It’s also worth mentioning that the circuit’s layout has evolved over the years featuring two additional elements and eight possible variations. As for primary events, Pembrey has previously hosted Formula 3, Rallycross and BTCC, and continues to support Truck Racing and other club level events to this day.

Due to the obscurity, It’s not surprising that Pembrey isn’t available on any contemporary sim racing title. This track is brilliant for any small-sized vehicle, and its layout is perfect for testing, however.

Pembrey Circuit, BTCC 1993 - Robb Gravett, Peugeot Talbot Sport, Peugeot 405 Mi16, leads Tim Harvey, Renault Dealer Racing, Renault 19. Motorsport Images
Pembrey Circuit, BTCC 1993 – Robb Gravett, Peugeot Talbot Sport, Peugeot 405 Mi16, leads Tim Harvey, Renault Dealer Racing, Renault 19. Motorsport Images

Take a drive through the long sweeping turns of Dibeni Bend and the Esses and you’ll get to briefly experience what being on the limit feels like. This could be a great place for teaching sim racing newcomers and we’d love to drive it in virtual form.

Ingliston Circuit

This track was intense. As Charterhall saw the establishment of the country’s motorsport scene, it was sadly abandoned due to unsuitability in 1964. A year later, asphalt was laid down next door to Edinburgh Airport, and Ingliston eventually became host to Scotland’s only circuit.

The track was built upon the area designated for the Royal Highland Show and featured an incredibly narrow corridor of trees and buildings to race through its 1.2km length.

Ingliston Circuit by Iain Nicolson
Ingliston Circuit by Iain Nicolson

While it was integrated with a show, however, the track would only operate for 10 weeks a year, meaning temporary barriers and other safety features had to be put up and then taken down for its annual short stint.

Alongside a 1.6km expansion in 1968, and a failed proposal from Sir Jackie Stewart to implement an £80 million Scottish Motorsport Centre in 1989, this was not enough to keep Ingliston afloat, and it closed in 1995.

Ingliston Circuit single-seater race by Iain Nicolson
Ingliston Circuit single-seater race by Iain Nicolson

A revival event was hosted in 2015, as well as a Scottish Sprint Championship event four years earlier, and half of the circuit is predominantly used for driving experiences to this day.

The racing has come to an end as the aforementioned show has claimed priority, but it can continue if brought into the sim racing world.

Ingliston Circuit touring car race by Iain Nicolson
Ingliston Circuit touring car race by Iain Nicolson

You’ll gain a massive sense of speed by screaming through this narrow circuit while racing within a field of vintage touring cars. With its future in doubt, there is no better time to preserve the circuit in a virtual form while it still exists.

London ExCeL E-Prix

Due to the loss of Battersea Park claiming host to Formula E’s London ePrix, many alternatives were sought after to bring back another event within the city. One brave idea was to set the stage around Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace, with the tremendous feat obviously not coming to fruition, so the ExCeL London was chosen to host the London ePrix.

London E-Prix II, Mitch Evans (NZL), Jaguar Racing, Jaguar I-TYPE 5 - Simon Galloway, Motorsport Images
London E-Prix II, Mitch Evans (NZL), Jaguar Racing, Jaguar I-TYPE 5 – Simon Galloway, Motorsport Images

However, this location presented a few problems. Firstly, the venue is an exhibition centre, meaning it needs to be accessible all year round and couldn’t contain any permanent features that would disrupt its regular schedule.

Secondly, the area surrounding the centre wasn’t big enough for a proper racetrack, meaning the designers had to get very creative. And boy did they, as an indoor and outdoor section was the perfect solution for these challenges.

Not only would this 2.4km layout be a suitable length for Formula E, but the indoor section is perfect for electric cars due to the lack of emissions. Emery was also laid down onto the concrete floor, providing a grippier surface along the indoor section, whilst remaining suitable for exhibition use.

This unique layout and experience would be a perfect fit for sim racing. Thrashing around this circuit in a low-powered car such as an MX-5 would be mental, considering how close the battles will be.

London E-Prix II, Edoardo Mortara (CHE), Venturi Racing, Silver Arrow 02 - Andy Hone, Motorsport Images
London E-Prix II, Edoardo Mortara (CHE), Venturi Racing, Silver Arrow 02 – Andy Hone, Motorsport Images

If there were to be a formula E game in future, it would be great to include this track and many others that have appeared within its brief history. Alternative, the official sim of Formula E, Factor 2, is currently missing this venue, that could be a cool add-on.

Crystal Palace

Let’s take a short 13-mile trip from one grand exhibition centre to another, as this circuit is a few years away from celebrating its 100th anniversary. After opening in 1927, Crystal Palace’s 1-mile circuit started life with motorcycle events, and later became the host to many single-seater races after an extension in 1936.

Crystal Palace Cup, 1939 - Motorsport Images
Crystal Palace Cup, 1939 – Motorsport Images

Interestingly, this track also hosted the first-ever televised motor race, broadcast by the BBC.

After racing was put on pause during World War 2, the venue returned as a hotspot for Formula 2 and British Formula 3, though it sadly came to an end in 1972 due to noise complaints and low safety standards.

As it stands today, the majority of the original circuit is still accessible and has been used a few times since its closure, with a sprint event taking place in 2019.

With its fastest lap containing an average speed of 103mph, there’s no wonder this circuit was a favourite. The racing must have been intense and furious back then, which is why we would love to experience this on a sim racing title.

The front row comprising race retirees Francois Cevert (FRA) Tecno 70 and Carlos Reutemann (ARG), European Formula 2, Crystal Palace, 1970 - David Phipps, Motorsport Images
The front row comprising race retirees Francois Cevert (FRA) Tecno 70 and Carlos Reutemann (ARG), European Formula 2, Crystal Palace, 1970 – David Phipps, Motorsport Images

Not only would it be great to zip through the trees and tight walls in a powerful single-seater, but the process of laser scanning the track shouldn’t be a challenge considering it isn’t in use for racing. We’d love to hear if any news appears about its future within the virtual world.

Aintree Circuit

As Aintree Racecourse is notorious for its annual Grand National horse race, you’d be quite surprised to learn that the venue hosted a different form of horsepower.

1959 British Grand Prix, Aintree - Motorsport Images
1959 British Grand Prix, Aintree – Motorsport Images

During its short lifetime, the 3-mile circuit hosted the British Grand Prix five times within an eight-year spell, Stirling Moss earning his first Formula 1 win here in 1955.

After the final race in 1962, Aintree was left in the dust with its rising safety concerns, as the shiny new Brands Hatch was chosen to become the British stop in the prestigious motorsport.

The racing eventually continued on the shorter 1.3-mile club section with small-scale events, as the racecourse itself was the main priority within the venue.

Now this layout may lack elevation changes and any interesting layout features, but the circuit is slap bang in the middle of the most famous horse racing venue ever.

Graham Hill, BRM P261, Aintree, 1964 - Motorsport Images
Graham Hill, BRM P261, Aintree, 1964 – Motorsport Images

Not only that, but the long straights and corners make for some incredible fast-paced action, provided it was available virtually. Just like the previous track we talked about, laser scanning would not be a problem at all considering the lack of usage.

Birmingham Superprix

With the “British Monaco” nickname, the Birmingham Superprix presented an incredible challenge during its five-year history. The straights were long, the surface was bumpy and contained various elevation changes as cars zipped through the surrounding concrete jungle.

Birmingham Superprix 1989, Race winner Jean Alesi (FRA) Eddie Jordan Racing Reynard 89D-Mugen - Sutton Images, Motorsport Images
Birmingham Superprix 1989, Race winner Jean Alesi (FRA) Eddie Jordan Racing Reynard 89D-Mugen – Sutton Images, Motorsport Images

The circuit was primarily created to put Birmingham on the motorsport map, starting life with Formula 3000, alongside BTCC and Formula Ford 1600 supporting the event. Interestingly, the layout featured multiple width variations throughout and ran anti-clockwise to dissuade 20-year-olds in a souped-up Peugeot 205 from pretending they were Nigel Mansell.

As the costs started to rise and incidents became a larger issue than other circuits on the calendar, the Superprix, unfortunately, saw its final encore in 1990. None of its history can be seen today along its original layout, although plans to re-introduce the circuit as a Formula E venue had been rumoured in 2019.

However, considering the UK already has the ExCeL London E-Prix on the calendar, its future seems very unlikely.

This may very well be the most challenging track on this list to laser scan, considering the number of road closures needed to even step foot on the layout.

Birmingham Superprix 1990, Andy Rouse, ICS plc, Ford Sierra RS500 - Motorsport Images
Birmingham Superprix 1990, Andy Rouse, ICS plc, Ford Sierra RS500 – Motorsport Images

This does not stop us from dreaming about screaming through the tight corridors of city life, however, as seeing a place you’ve physically stepped foot in being reborn in all of its past glory would be an incredible experience.

So, that rounds off our lists of British tracks we would love to see join the world of sim racing. Are there any we missed? Let us know in the comments section below.

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