Track Guide – Oulton Park
Three meetings down and the fourth is set to ignite into action this weekend as the 2013 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship heads to Oulton Park after a month’s break.
Our track guide will explain what it takes to string a lap together around this 2.26 mile circuit as well as dig up some history of the circuit. We will also go down memory lane and look back at some defining moments that have occurred in the BTCC at Oulton in recent years.
A Lap of Oulton Park
Over the start/finish line the drivers will be averaging a speed of about 125mph and at the top end of sixth gear. The first corner is Old Hall and the cars will drop down a gear to fourth still touching around 100mph whilst turning in. Be sure to look out for a lot of overtaking at the first corner as they shake off speed and fight for position as they embark towards the Avenue.
The Avenue provides one of the most picturesque sections of the circuit and the bankings will be packed with thousands on race day. Off the brow of a small hill the cars will funnel down Cascades and enter the left handed sweeping bend onto the Lakeside straight. They will enter the short circuit3ststraight in fourth gear building the speed up towards the Island Hairpin, with drivers looking to line up for an overtake when they step onto the brakes.
Just before the hairpin, the cars will be touching speeds of 110mph and in sixth gear. They then brake and go down to first gear which is the slowest they will be throughout the lap at 35mph. It will be important to get a good exit from the hairpin as they look to gather as much speed up the hill towards Hizzys Chicane which is a 50mph, second gear corner. This corner again will be a high point for overtaking as they run nose to tail through Knickerbrook and up towards Druids.
By this point in the lap the cars have reached the fastest part of the circuit flicking through the gears. Clay Hill sees all cars on the limit and touching speeds of 120mph in sixth gear and they back off to an average of 75mph for Druids the right hander. From there it is a straight fight over the bumps to the last corner Lodge, scene of many incidents in the past. The cars will enter the turn in second gear and gather speed out of Deer Leap and up over the line to begin another lap.
The 2012 meeting here at Oulton Park had looked set to be one that Jason Plato would dominate after comfortably breaking the lap record and putting his MG on pole position. Joy turned to despair for the double champion though as he was pushed off the grid with a mechanical issue.
That left it for the Honda Yuasa Racing team to claim all the spoils on race day as Matt Neal won two races with his team mate Gordon Shedden winning the remaining race.
- The circuit had previously been an estate in the late 18th century
- Due to the amount of circuits around the UK, it was noticed that the northwest wasn’t catered for and the Mid-Cheshire Car Club set about developing a circuit on the Oulton site and by August 1953 they opened
- The first meeting took place on the 8th August; however the RAC didn’t allow the public to attend to ensure it ran smoothly
- When fans did attend the first meeting brought in a crowd of 40,000 people
- Motorsport Vision (MSV) bought the circuit and revitalised it by leaning the track up and bringing in bigger crowds and different race series
- For 2013, Oulton have reinstated their track to pit bridge over the start/finish line
- The track is very unique as it holds various layouts and different lengths of tracks
BTCC Stats & Fact at Oulton Park
- Alain Menu holds the most wins around this circuit with nine wins. Six drivers on the 2013 gird have won races around Oulton Park; they are Jason Plato (7), Matt Neal (6), Gordon Shedden (5), Colin Turkington (4), Mat Jackson (2) and Tom Onslow-Cole (1)
- Honda currently holds the record for the most wins as a manufacturer with 18 wins here at Oulton
- In 2011, the final corner was host to the stunning moment that saw Matt Neal out brake himself on the last lap and thus taking team mate Gordon Shedden into the gravel trap. That gave Jason Plato the victory even though he was animated in parc ferme over the turbo boost
- Yvan Muller clinched his one and only title in 2003 for VX Racing at the Cheshire circuit
- The crowd of 35,000 at the 2008 meeting had been a record for a decade at the time
- Kelvin Burt escaped unhurt in 1996 after smashing into the wall at Cascades in his Volvo
- The circuit saw first time victories for Paul O’Neill, Tom Kristensen, Dan Eaves and current champion Gordon Shedden
Article originally written on Friday, 7 June 2013. Read more articles from the BTCC Crazy Archive.