Oulton Park - Goodwood of the North, Tough Test for Drivers
Oulton Park is racing circuit located in the northwest of England and since the mid-1950s host various racing events.
Manor house, Army base and refugee camp
Near the village of Little Budworth and some 20 km from the city of Chester, Oulton Park is located in the beautiful countryside, at the place of the former manor house and farm. During the World War 2, allies had their base there preparing for the Normandy Landings while after the WW2 there was a camp for the refugees from Poland.
Oulton Park was opened in 1953 and hosted top Formula teams
In 1953 local car club wanted to make a racing venue after this part of the country hadn’t proper racing facility. The arrangement was made with Sir Philip Egerton who was the owner of the land and by the end of the year the track was made. The first race was held the same year in August, while the second event in October attracted almost 40.000 people to Oulton Park.
British Touring Cars Championship race as the main event of the year
Over the years, the importance of the track has grown and many racing series started to organize races at Oulton Park, but the venue never became suitable for the top-class events of modern times. Circuit currently has FIA Grade 3 licence and major events are the races of the British Touring Cars Championship, British GT, British Formula 3 and the British Superbike Championship.
Three layouts of Oulton Park circuit
Oulton Park has three layouts. International Circuit is 4.307 km long and has 17 turns. Lap record time holder is Gareth Rees who drove a lap in the time of 1:24.68 during 1996 British Formula 2 race. Island Circuit, with a length of 3.616 km has 7 turns while the Fosters Circuit is 2.656 km long. The holder of lap time record (50.09s) is Formula 3000 driver Luca Riccitelli. What makes Oulton park so characteristic is a rapid change of gradients and pretty tight corners.
Gold Cup and its revival
Paddock and garages are well suited for the purposes of the various competitions and events. One of the most popular is Gold Cup, by many considered as a ’Goodwood of the North’. Originally, that was the Formula 1 non-championship race which was held since the opening of Oulton Park until the early 1970s when it was cancelled due to high costs. In his best days, Gold Cup attracted all the Formula 1’s top teams, including Ferrari. Since 2003 Gold Cup is historic cars race and always is well visited.
Safety improvement and modernization
Sadly, Oulton Park is the place where several fatal crashes had happened over the years, especially at notorious Knickerbrook corner. When British racer Paul Warwick was killed in the accident in 1991, the corner was reconstructed and the safety standards are now at a high level.
The owner of Oulton Park is MotorSport Vision, a company which also owns Brands Hatch, Snetterton and Cadwell park. Over the years, the venue changed the owners several times but since 2004, when MSV purchased the circuit, it shone in full splendor and immediately became one of the most popular racing facilities in the country.
Getting there and accommodation
Getting to Oulton Park by car is easy. Road network is good and there are many opportunities. Railway connections are also good as regular train services to Crewe and Chester operate on the mainline from London Euston.
Visitors can choose between many hotels and other types of accommodation in the area around the Oulton Park, but the capacities are relatively limited, so the best option is to book a room a bit earlier.
Address: Little Budworth, Tarporley, Cheshire CW6 9BW, United Kingdom
Phone: +44 1829 760301