Brooklands Museum will be telling the story of the first British Grand Prix and its place in history at a special event, Brooklands Relived, on 7th Aug.
Britain was first awarded the opportunity to run a Grand Prix after Sir Henry Segrave won the French Grand Prix in 1923, and the famous Brooklands racetrack with its banked circuit was selected to host it in 1926. The race was organised by the Royal Automobile Club and formed part of the World Manufacturers’ Championship alongside the continental Grands Prix in Spain, France and Italy and the Indianapolis 500.
Ninety-five years later, Brooklands will once again welcome some of the vehicles that took part in that first Grand Prix, along with examples of Grand Prix cars from every decade up to 2013.
Among the cars confirmed are a Delage 15-S-8 as raced in the 1926 Grand Prix, a 1928 Aston Martin LM1, 1960 Cooper Climax and 2013 Mercedes F1 WO4.
Brooklands Museum occupies 32 acres on the site of the world’s first purpose-built motor racing circuit, which opened in Weybridge, Surrey in 1907.
Only part of the original banked racetrack survives, but the highlight of the day is expected to be the ‘race starts’ which will see both cars and bikes setting off at racing speed up the historic Finishing Straight and onto the Members Banking just as they did in 1926.
Emphasising the close links between the motorsport, experimental engineering and aviation worlds (Brooklands was also the site of several aviation manufacturing factories) in the 1920s, there were no fewer than five past, present and future Land Speed Record holders competing in the 1926 race.
Samantha Hart, Marketing Director of Brooklands Museum said:
“Anyone who watched this year’s British Grand Prix will understand the importance this event has for the country. In 1926, Britain’s motorsport industry didn’t hold the position it does today. The running of the first British Grand Prix at Brooklands was a huge step for motorsport in this country and brought top level drivers, teams and engineers to compete here. The British motorsport industry has since gone from strength to strength and now employs around 40,000 people, exporting globally. Having Britain as the hub of Grand Prix racing hasn’t just benefited our motorsport industry, it has driven developments in automotive, aviation, marine and even the medical industry. We hope that by bringing together examples of Grand Prix cars spanning ten decades, we can inspire the next generation to see the possibilities that engineering can make into reality and look towards engineering for their future careers.”
Brooklands Relived will take place on Saturday 7th August.
And I imagine there will be a similar but larger event in 2026!