What Is Happening At Bristol Motor Speedway? [Updated!]

Bristol Motor Speedway is one of the iconic venues of motorsport. Every year, thousands of cars and motorbikes flood its grounds, racing for hours at a time.

Though it’s been a while since Bristol last hosted a Formula 1 race, the oval still resonates with fans of high-speed motorsport. Each August, the stage is set for the ultimate track day as fans get ready to race alongside some of the greatest drivers in history.

But what is going on behind the scenes at Bristol these days? We took a look, identifying the key developments that will make this year’s race even more exciting.

New Ownership

The news that the iconic Bristol Motor Speedway will be taken over by a new company, the Bristol Racing Enterprises, was announced in October 2018. The new owners will be led by Andrew Taylor, a motorsport enthusiast who has owned and operated a number of prestigious venues in the UK. With expertise ranging from owning a music venue to staging sporting events, Taylor is well-positioned to lead the revival of the famed oval in Bristol.

The new owners have big plans to transform the oval into a world-class facility that will attract top quality motorsport competitors and engage a new audience. The goal is to have an event that is both nostalgic for fans of the original race and an opportunity for contemporary audiences to engage with the sport.

Racing Back On The Road

After spending 10 years off the race track, motorsport returned to Bristol in 2014 with the Revival of British motorsport. The ‘Revival’ aimed to bring back all the classic British cars and ensure they were road-worthy and safe for passengers. The event was a massive success, not just because of the cars but because of the passion of the crowds too.

The Revival of British motorsport was a great success and provided an opportunity for motorsport fans to get behind the wheel of some of their favorite cars and take them out for a spin. Though the event is over, the appetite for motorsport remains in the US city and new races and gatherings have sprung up, making the most of this year’s NASCAR race. The future of motorsport in Bristol is looking optimistic.

Restoring The Track

When the news that the track was once again going to be closed for a four-year period broke in 2018, fans were understandably disappointed. The iconic venue had seen better days, with the stands looking tatty and the track covered in weeds. It was a dramatic turnaround for a track that had seen such growth in the 1950s and ‘60s.

The good news is that the track has been completely restored and plans are in place for it to host international motor racing events once again.

The UK’s Automobile Association (AA) and Motorsport Safety Authority (MSA) have also given their approval to the track’s application for international racing license. With the green light to resume racing, teams from around the world will arrive in the city to compete in the 2019 Revival of British Motorsport. Even more excitingly, the AA has stated that it is possible the event could be staged in late summer, providing fans with a taste of the nostalgia of yesteryear before the end of the year.

New Venue

The Revival of British motorsport will move to a new location in the 2019 season, officially titled the ‘Bristol Bay Resort & Motorsport Venue’. The new track is located in the city’s outskirts, close to the airport and adjacent to the M32 motorway. The venue features a purpose-built grandstand and all the amenities needed for a memorable day out – including a paddock, an area where hobbyists can bring their cars for a spin, and even a helicopter landing pad.

The location of the new track was chosen because of its favorable connection to Bristol’s international airport, which makes it easier for competition teams to fly in and out. The helipad has also been upgraded, making it suitable for large aircraft too.

Retro Racing

Though the focus of the event will be on the original cars, there will be a number of modern vehicles running in classic configurations. The organizers have stated that they want to showcase both historic and modern machinery, proving that vintage is more than just a nostalgic hobby.

Part of the excitement will be the chance to see famous cars from the ‘50s and ‘60s in action. Some of the notable cars that will be taking to the track include the Jaguar E-Type, Aston Martin DB5 and even a Mercedes-Benz 300SL. Even more excitingly, the organizers have also stated that the open-top, two-seat Aston Martin DB5 and other beautiful cars will be available for fans to go for a spin. This could be a way for those who can’t afford the more expensive vintage models to still get the pleasure of driving a traditional classic car.

New Drivers

The excitement doesn’t stop there though. The Revival of British motorsport will feature a number of new, and some returning, drivers. The UK’s Automobile Association (AA) and Motorsport Safety Authority (MSA) have approved the license application of the track’s organizers, making it possible for competitors to take to the track. The MSA also granted approval for the Historic Race Cars (HRC) division of the event, providing additional license holders to take part.

The organizers have stated that they are committed to attracting female drivers, with places reserved for them in the grid. This is a marked change compared to years past, when women were often excluded from motorsport. Fans will certainly see this as a positive change too.

More Than Meets The Eye

Though the focus will be on the cars and the racing, the Revival of British motorsport will feature a range of activities for fans to get involved in. The organizers are committed to providing a memorable day for everyone, with activities including photo booths, food trucks and other vehicles on display. The paddock will also be open to the public, meaning there will be plenty for fans to see and participate in. For those who are more of the social media generation, there will also be opportunities to engage with the competitors via live updates during the race.

The Revival of British motorsport represents a golden opportunity for the UK’s automotive industry too. As well as providing a showcase for classic cars, the event will feature a number of companies, both historic and modern, keen to engage with potential customers. Though the focus will be on the cars and the racing, the atmosphere at the site will range from nostalgic to contemporary, with everything in between.

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