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Forgotten circuits of the past

Forgotten circuits of the past - News

With more and more sanitised race tracks being built to a multi-billion-dollar specification all around the world in an effort to satisfy the ever-growing popularity of motorsport, it's quite easy to forget the roots of the sport and what the original temples of speed were.

It's a far cry from the pristine facilities and billiard table-smooth track surfaces we have today, but at we will be going through some of the classic and often forgotten circuits that deserve their recognition in racing history.

  • Hockenheimring

Although having been heavily altered, Hockenheim is still very much open and plays host to major international racing series to this day. But it was the original 6.815km blast through the German forests that really captured the imagination of race enthusiasts all around the world.

Long straights broken up by short and sharp chicanes made it a slipstreaming dream, with teams showing up with the least amount of drag they could get away with, and inevitably would end the lives of some wonderful drivers, none more famous and highly regarded as double Formula 1 champion, Jim Clark.

  • Osterreichring

Much like the Hockenheimring to the north, Austria's Osterreichring, now known as the Red Bull Ring, has been significantly altered to the point where the remnants of what came before isn't recognisable anymore.

Built in 1969, the fast and sweeping track that winded its way around the Spielberg hills was an exhilarating challenge for even the greatest of drivers. However, in the mid-1980s it was deemed unsafe as the turbocharged F1 monsters of the time were becoming too fast.

The track was reopened in 1995 as a much more technical circuit with tighter corners and shorter straights, but still offers up great racing to this day.

  • Nürburgring Nordschleife

Otherwise known as 'The Green Hell', the world renowned Nordschleife located in the Eifel mountains of Germany is one of the most treacherous and unforgiving race circuits ever constructed.

From the 1940s until the 1970s it played host to top level motorsport, hosting Formula 1 until the discussion on safety intervened and the sport never raced there again. Niki Lauda's infamous incident which almost ended his life is etched on the minds of motorsport fans all over the world.

But even though the newer Grand Prix circuit built next door is the commonplace for racing now, there's still an allure among enthusiasts of the old track. And even though it's still in use today to a smaller capacity and being run as a historic site more than a functioning race circuit, you can still visit the 20.830km circuit for a track day.

  • Reims

Playing host to the French Grand Prix in a time where street circuits were a staple on any racing calendar, the Reims-Gueux track in the Champagne region was one of the fastest and most recognisable of them all. Long straights with sweeping bends and a tight hairpin alongside countryside roads.

Even after being closed for fifty years, the old pit wall and grandstand still stand proudly for all to see as they drive past the now domesticated highway. It's an historic setting that should be a pilgrimage for any classic motorsport fan around the world.

If you're looking to immerse yourself on a circuit in the UK that hasn't been forgotten about just yet, visit our Driving Experiences page today on the TrackDays website to book from available dates on our Events Calendar or purchase one of our open Gift Vouchers.

25 April 2022

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