Thruxton, Hampshire, the fastest circuit in the UK! The fast and flat circuit which hosts the fastest corner in UK motorsport, with high tyre wear and high kerbs has provided some fantastic and exciting racing over the years!
The location was built in the 1940’s for use by the RAF and USAAF for troop carrying aircraft which were used in the D day landings. Motorcycle racing started in 1950 and car racing in 1952.
However as the tarmac deteriorated, new plans were put forward to follow the perimeter road of the airfield with the inclusion of the complex and chicane to create the circuit you see today! Even with these slow chicanes and complex’s the average speed of the lap is well over 100mph! In 1993 Damon Hill drove his Williams FW15c recording a lap time of 57 seconds, at an average speed of 147mph!!!
A unique venue which requires full commitment out the back out the circuit make it a drivers favourite! A very abrasive surface means tyre wear is really emphasised around the circuit and with high kerbs all around the circuit that have caused multiple tyre failures meaning a degree of self preservation needs to be taken into account when attacking the high speed venue!
A classic race at Thruxton…. Another British Touring Car Championship race from 2013. I’m not sure if Jason will thank me for this one however this video highlights the great racing and characteristics of the circuit!
A fast and daunting first corner with a very high kerb on the apex and a blind exit. Keeping the car balanced is very important and carrying a high amount of apex speed. It is very close to flat in my Supercup car with its aero but other cars may just need a lift here. No chance to pass unless you’re along side out of the chicane.
A great place to watch as it is a very technical part of the circuit quite a lot of the circuit and the action can be seen from the high banking! A tricky right left must be pin point precise to set yourself up to carry the most speed through the final right and out the back of the circuit. A good place to overtake as opportunities are available at each apex if you are brave!
The first big test, out “the back” This is a flat out left with a bumpy exit. Again the line must be precise as so much speed is carried through here and by getting on the bumps where if you encounter them will have to get out of the throttle.
The most daunting corner on the circuit. A brave, flat out, turn in can be taken here, apexing by the marshal post. A large bump at the end of the kerb can upset the car which is the last thing you want at a very fast part of the circuit. There are very little reference points for the exit making it very easy to run out of road! Very much a seat of the pants corner where feel for the limit of adhesion is essential. A great corner, pure adrenaline rush!
The fastest corner in the UK! Apex speed of roughly 130mph and depending on the car (and the driver) is flat out throughout. Deep kerbs are at the apex and exit, however as you are travelling so fast you glide over the top so are barely felt. Your stomach drops as you turn in and its a mind over matter state to stay flat through the corner! Again, an adrenaline rush!
So after a really long run up between church and the chicane approaching 150mph in my SV Racing Ginetta Supercup car a difficult braking area is a challenge to the chicane. This Chicane is very much like the complex, your line must be very precise again to keep the car stable, get the car stopped and back out the corner as quick as possible. The first kerb can be monstered by the touring cars with their trick dampers but is mainly avoided! This corner can make or break a lap…. it can be easy to be drawn in and attack the corner like the back section of the circuit but it may not necessarily reward you! A grandstand opposite the corner gives spectators shelter and a view to the fastest part of the circuit and the best view for daring overtakes!
See this great onboard from Andrew Jordan in a BTCC Spec Civic:
Having driven Thruxton for the first time in April after my new tyre run in quickly became my favourite circuit! The back section is such an adrenaline rush I haven’t experienced anything like it! The circuit has such an old school feel to it which can punish mistakes hard making it feel even better when you get it right! The circuit will be difficult to overtake on as the aero will have a significant effect on the cars but the tows will be huge!
Having run almost fastest at the test at my first time at the circuit on the pre event test in April I hope it will be a good event to me! A busy Saturday will see the Supercup grid on track 3 times, and with no testing the day before it will be important to hit the ground running!
All on-track images: Jakob Ebrey Photography