Inside Revolution: Curborough Sprint Circuit Guide
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A technical, fast, and very exciting Sprint circuit, Curborough is one of the most popular Motorsport Venues in the UK, with events taking place most weekends from March through to October.
Shenstone & District Car Club (SDCC) Chairman and Competition Secretary John Williams gives Revolution the low-down on the venue.
Circuit: Curborough Sprint Circuit
Location: North of Lichfield, Staffordshire, WS13 8EJ
Length: Single Lap (831m), double lap (1,447m), Figure of 8 (1,467m)
The site was originally part of RAF Lichfield and became home to motorsport when a local farmer purchased it in 1962 and the SDCC developed one of the finest sprint courses in the country. The inaugural sprint meeting took place on 16th June 1963 with a field of 35 competitors and was won by Ian McLaughlin in a Cooper Jap. The second meeting, which saw the course shortened to that of the present day, was also won by McLaughlin, this time in a Cooper X.
The course was extended with a double loop track in 1992, along with protected marshal posts, a spectator viewing bank and cone-marked corners replaced with proper rumble strips. The figure-of-eight course was introduced in 2014 with a new commentary tower, and an improved café and toilet facilities added more recently.
The racetrack is accessed down a ‘return’ road from the paddock to the start area, where a straight line start leads to a fast left hand bend. The track then bends to the right to a chicane at the ‘molehill’, up to the right handed ‘Fradley’ hairpin, then onto a straight run to the finish line.
There are three different formats, with the above being a single lap. A double lap includes a sharp right after the finish line that leads back around to the top part of the course, and a Figure-of-Eight with cross-overs in the middle of the circuit.
Competing categories and events
Sprint meetings include all types and capacities of vehicles from standard road legal vehicles to high powered single seaters. The Curborough Championship (using all three formats) is in its 25th year and attracts around 70 entrants, bringing together SDCC, British Marshals MC, Sheffield & HMC, Owen MC, Mid Cheshire MRC and MGCC’s, who all run individual rounds.
Curborough is used for more than 20 Sprints per year as well as Autotests and AutoSOLOs as part of the StreetCar initiative. During the season it is used seven days a week for competition car test days, track days, experience days and other motorsport events. It is often used for car magazine photo shoots and TV shows, but also holds pedal car racing and regular cycling events.
How to get on track
Many different clubs, organisations and individuals run track days, competition car test days, experience days and other motorsport events. SDCC encourages newcomers through its Introduction to Sprinting Day and its Sprint Academy initiative, while the Institute of Advanced Motorists also runs Young Driver Days. The club produces an annual Yearbook promoting all events and the track is also available for hire when not already booked out.
The first left hand bend after the start straight is where time can be won and lost on any of the three formats. It is a quick corner with far less run off than you may think, and many consider it the most challenging and toughest corner around.
Here, bravery reaps rewards!
The banking alongside the finish straight offers a great view of the action and the opportunity to clearly hear circuit commentary. The new commentary tower also has a great view – but that is not open to the public.
Best spot for photography
The entire track can be viewed from most of the spectator areas, giving plenty of options for good shots of the action.
Best place to eat
The Sprinters Rest café offers plenty of options on site, while many takeaways and food shops can be found in nearby Litchfield if you want to bring food in.
The spectator banking alongside the finish straight is a great spot for families to watch the action while also enjoying the Sprinters Rest café and plenty of space for children to play.
Where to stay
The Premier Inn on the A38 (southbound) offers good relatively affordable accommodation. There are also various hotels in nearby Lichfield, lots of local B&Bs and, at some events, camping at the circuit.
The Swan at Fradley Junction is a pleasant and highly rated canal-side pub featuring canal memorabilia and artwork. It offers good ale and fine food from a straightforward menu. A great place to visit after a day of racing.
Things to do nearby
Local attractions include Drayton Manor Park, with its roller coasters, a zoo, and Thomas Land; Conkers outdoor fun park; the National Memorial Arboretum; Barton Marina; and Lichfield Cathedral.
How to get there
The circuit is north of Lichfield and on the A38 trunk road. Follow signs for Fradley Park (not Fradley Village) and then take the brown signs for Curborough Sprint Course. Roadworks are likely, as the HS2 railway is under construction outside the circuit entrance, but access to the sprint course will be maintained.
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