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Rockingham to end motor sport activities after 2018

Graham Keilloh

Rockingham Motor Speedway will no longer host motor sport activities after 2018, following a recent sale of the racing venue to unnamed investors.

The track opened in 2001 and hosted the CART Champ Car series in its first two years, with its infield road course becoming a BTCC and club-racing fixture thereafter. It was the first oval of its size to be built in the UK since the lauded Brooklands venue in the early 20th century.

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Sadly Rockingham was dropped from the BTCC and British GT calendars for 2019 amid uncertainty about the venue’s future, which has now been confirmed by the circuit’s CEO, Peter Hardman.

‘All events to the end of 2018 will be run with the professionalism and enthusiasm that are the hallmark of Rockingham, but circuit activities will cease from the beginning of 2019,’ Hardman told the Northamptonshire Telegraph.

In addition to Champ Car, the track was also the primary venue for the NASCAR-inspired ASCAR series of the early 2000s. In recent years, however, racing on Rockingham’s oval has largely been confined to the domestic Pickup Truck Racing Championship.

Rumours that the circuit would be flattened to make way for a housing development appear to be wide of the mark. Hardman has suggested that the new owners might turn it into an automotive facility – potentially as an auction venue and for vehicle storage.

The site had been up for sale since the end of 2016, after owner Bela Partnership went into administration. The circuit had managed to cut its pre-tax losses from £1.2m to £448,418 in 2017.

*Images courtesy of Motorsport Images