Mondello Park - Charming place for racing in the countryside
Motorsport has always been quite popular in Ireland, and therefore it is surprising that Mondello Park is the only racing venue in the country.
Mondello Park was created out of necessity
Racing has a long history in both Republic and Northern Ireland. The tracks and the facilities were never top class. Closed public roads and streets were used for racing but over the years the safety standards became higher and those venues were closed one by one. The last circuit, Dunboyne, was closed in 1967 and Ireland desperately needed a new track to keep racing alive.
The solution was the Mondello Park. Established and opened in 1968, this venue located near the village of Carragh in the Eastern Ireland, around 45 minutes drive from the Dublin Airport, instantly became popular among the Irish racing enthusiasts. It was a really small circuit which was extended over the years but still was good enough to host some popular national and international events, like Formula 5000.
Quick success and even quicker fall in trouble
During 1970s Mondello Park was the place where many talented Irish drivers, like Derek Daly and David Kennedy, were cutting their teeth in Formula Ford before making respectable international careers. Unfortunately, the lack of some major events has resulted in financial difficulties and the dark clouds were over the future of the circuit.
Luckily, the Royal Irish Automobile Club and a consortium of clubs saved the venue by purchasing it. That wasn’t a long term solution as the finances have always been very tight. After a couple of years, local businessman and a former racing driver Martin Birrane bought the track and secured better days.
Glory days of Mondello Park
In the 1980s and 1990s, Mondello Park hosted some of the leading British car racing series but also hosted the British and European Championship motorcycle races. That was only the beginning of the Mondello Park’s rise. The importance of the track started to grow. In the late 1990s, with the help of the Irish government, the track was completely reconstructed, while in the early 2000s facilities were developed.
Upgraded and improved Mondello Park met the FIA Grade 2 standards with the new control tower, medical center, pit, garage, along with the hospitality center. The conditions were created and Mondello Park was prepared for the higher level. The British Touring Car Championship, British GT, Formula 3, and the FIA Sportscar Championship – all arrived at Mondello Park, as well as the British Superbike Championship races.
Unfortunately, those glory days didn’t last too long. After 2007, the downfall began and again the reason was a lack of money because of the staggering of the Irish economy. All important and international racing events left Mondello Park. Mondello Park was downgraded to the national level. Nevertheless, it still stands as a quality racing spot despite the lack of major international events.
Circuit suitable for different racing categories
Today, the main layout of Mondello Park is the International Track that is 3.503 km long track with 13 turns. Lap record time is 1:28.708, set by Johnny Laursen, driving an Ascari-Judd V10, in 2006. There are other three layouts suitable for different racing categories. The Circuit also has 3 km of extreme off-road driving trails suitable for rallycross, big off-road activities center as well as the small Museum of Motorsport with a number of old rally and track cars.
The track also operates a busy schedule of driving experiences, team building and corporate days, manufacturer training and driving days, etc.
Address: Mondello Park, Donore, Naas, County Kildare, Ireland
Phone: +353 45 860 200