Looking for a way to kill some time between training sessions, driving lessons and homework? How about a road trip to the United Kingdom’s fastest racing track, Five Flags Speedway, located just outside of London? If you are within a couple of hours’ drive of the English capital, you can get a taste of British racing – and maybe even make the trip a little more exciting.
Now, admittedly, a trip to Five Flags Speedway isn’t exactly an inexpensive undertaking. A one-day ticket costs £125, and is only valid on weekdays. Weekend tickets are £150. To make things more affordable, there is a resident club that organizes group outings for its members – these group outings are great for families and offer substantial savings.
Whether you are a petrol head or a casual fan, visiting Five Flags Speedway is definitely worthwhile. The track has been around since the early 1900s and was initially built as a military airfield. It has served as a Royal Airforce base, an RAF base and is still in use by the RAF today. Over the years, the track has hosted some of the greatest drivers in motor sport history. Today, it is owned by NASCAR and is the venue for many of the sport’s biggest races. It is also home to the BetVictor British Saloon Car Championship, a championship that is open to cars of all makes and models. If you are interested in British racing, this is one of the best places to be!
Located within easy reach of the M25 motorway, Five Flags Speedway is a busy track. While most motor racing circuits are built with grandstands and plenty of parking spaces, this one is rather different. Built in the early 1900s, the track doesn’t have any traditional seating. There are, however, plenty of grandstands along the sides of the track – providing excellent views of the race action.
This isn’t a new development. This is a track that was initially built for military purposes and seating was never a priority. Even today, there are no café stops or restaurants located on track. Drivers stop at real-world food vendors every lunch break. Luckily, there are plenty of hotels and motels nearby, so if the food gets a bit repetitive, you can always head to bed!
Like many tracks, the layout of 5FPS is rather complex. There are nine corners along with a couple of esses and church-road style ovals. The track is still mostly made of earth and has quite a natural “racing” surface. While it might not look like it from the outside, the track really is quite a challenging layout. This is not a place for the faint-hearted!
The History Of The Track
Although it has only been around for a century, Five Flags Speedway has an incredible racing history. The first organized motorsport event was held here in 1912. Since then, it has gone on to host many historical motorsport events – some famous, some less well-known. One of the more memorable races was the 1954 24-hour endurance motor race, which was won by Peter Stoddart and Stirling Moss. The team set a new world record for continuous driving!
It was during this period that the track really started to earn its nickname of “the graveyard of motorsport.” Many great racing drivers, including Taffy Williams, Stuart Lewis and Mike Hawthorn were involved in fatal accidents here over the years. The most recent fatality occurred in 2015, when former F1 driver Jules Bianchi died here after suffering severe head injuries in a crash during the 2015 Japanese Grand Prix.
Since becoming a professional racing circuit in the early 1900s, Five Flags Speedway has stayed true to its military roots. It is still used as a base by the RAF today and has also been a filming location for several high-profile movies. In fact, the infield of the track has been turned into a movie set for the 1966 film, Hard Boiled, which starred Alan Ladd.
With its imposing grandstands and long history as a military base, it is not hard to see why this is one of the best venues in the UK for motorsport enthusiasts. Whether you are a racing fan or an adventure fan, it is well-worth visiting this track. Especially since there are so many discounts available if you head here during the week!