Snetterton’s original purpose was as an RAF airfield, designated for use by the 96th United States Air Force Bomber Group between May 1943 and November 1948. The circuit itself was created in 1951 from the network of remaining runways and its first race event was held in the same year by the Aston Martin Owner’s Club.
The circuit configuration has changed several times during Snetterton’s 60 year history. In the 1960s and early 70s it was 2.7 miles in length and during this period Russell Bend was added as the final corner of the track, in order to slow race vehicles as they approached the pits. Since the 1970s, however, the lap was shortened considerably to just under two miles until 2010, when circuit owner MSV announced the greatest redevelopment in the venue’s history to create a new multi-configuration layout, completed in February 2011.
Snetterton has hosted many significant events over the past six decades, including non-championship F1 encounters, the first Formula Ford events and the UK’s first ever 24 hour race, the Willhire 24 Hour, which ran from 1980 to 1994. It is also a renowned testing venue and has contributed to the development of many race winning cars, including those from the Lotus factory such as the DFV-powered 49 and the Indy 500-winning 38. Most recently, a host of Le Mans 24 Hour cars have been developed at the Norfolk track, including Bentley’s first Le Mans car for 70 years, the EXP Speed Eight. The all-conquering Audi R8 and Williams BMW LMP were also spotted first at Snetterton.
In addition to racing, Snetterton is a popular test track and has been used to develop a host of vehicles including the Williams F1-designed Formula Two car and various Le Mans machinery including the futuristic Deltawing and ZEOD cars.
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