History

The heritage and history of Motorsport and High Performance Technologies in Northamptonshire.

At the heart of Motorsport Valley® and home to more than 450 High Performance Engineering companies, Northamptonshire leads this exciting industry sector with major ongoing achievements and business breakthroughs.

From the first impromptu race in 1947 on a deserted airfield (which was later to become the world-leading Silverstone Circuit) through years of county-based team and engine-building successes, Northamptonshire today encompasses a highly skilled industry with venues and facilities second to none.

A colourful calendar of High Performance Engineering and Motorsport events, advances and milestones punctuate the county's enviable history and future potential in the sector.

  • 1947
    1947

    Silverstone was first used for motorsport and in 1948 was taken over by the Automobile Club.

  • 1950
    1950

    The first race of the newly created One World Championship was held at Silverstone.

  • 1952
    1952

    The BRDC took over the lease of Silverstone from the Automobile Club.

  • 1958
    1958

    Cosworth was founded by Mike Costin and Keith Duckworth.

  • 1966
    1966

    Europe's first permanent drag racing venue opens - Santa Pod raceway.

  • 1966
    1966

    Cosworth signa contract with Ford to develop a new 3 litre Formula One Engine and the legendary DFV engine was born.

  • 1969
    1969

    Cosworth powered cars won every Grand Prix this season (and also in 1973).

  • 1971
    1971

    The BRDC purchases, outright, the Silverstone Circuit.

  • 1979
    1979

    Ray Mallock founded his team, Ray Mallock Atlantic Racing and in 1984 changes the name to RML Group.

  • 1984
    1984

    Sammy Millerin set the world drag racing record, a time of 3.58 seconds at 386.26 mph.

  • 1984
    1984

    Paul Morgan and Mario Illien founded Ilmor Engineering.

  • 1986
    1986

    Cosworth produce the first turbo engine used in F1 and the first non-VB engine.

  • 1992
    1992

    Michael Shumacher's first Grand Prix victory comes in a Cosworth-powered Benetton-Ford.

  • 1993
    1993

    Mercedes-Benz announce their collaboration with Ilmor Engineering and provide the financial backing for the V10 engine supplied to the Sauber F1 team.

  • 1994
    1994

    Mario Illien wins the Louis Schwitzer award for Engineering Innovation and Excellence for the Mercedes-Benz 500i engine.

  • 2000
    2000

    RML commence design of Opel Corsa Super 1600 rally car.

  • 2001
    2001

    Rockingham Speedway was opened and the current day track record of 24.719 seconds was set by Tony Kanaan.

  • 2009
    2009

    Brawn GP wins the FIA Formula One Drivers and Constructors Championships in its inaugral year in the sport.

  • 2009
    2009

    Force India won their first Formula One pole position, world championship points and podium place.

  • 2010
    2010

    The first Moto GP at Silverstone is held, with drivers being amongst the first to enjoy the new circuit layout.

  • 2010
    2010

    The University of Northampton's new 3D immersive technology centre - NVision - launched its services to an audience of engineering sector SMEs.