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 The New Snetterton Motor Racing Circuit

Snetterton Motor Racing Circuit

Is a motor racing circuit in Norfolk. It is situated on the A11 road some 20 km northeast of the town of Thetford and 30 km southwest of the city of Norwich. The circuit is named after the village of Snetterton, which lies about 2 km to the northwest of the circuit, although much of the circuit is actually in the adjoining civil parish of Quidenham.

In October 2005, it was announced by the owner of the circuit; Jonathan Palmer of MotorSport Vision, that the circuit would undergo extensive rebuilding work, in order to lengthen the circuit, and improve its facilities.

Snetterton originally started off life as an RAF airfield (RAF Snetterton Heath) which was then designated for use by the United States Army Air Force. The airfield was opened in May 1943 and closed down in November 1948.

As Snetterton was originally an airfield, most of the lap is spent going at full throttle in a straight line. Although this is great for testing, spectators will not be able to see all of the cars and bikes most of the time. The current lap record officially stands at 56.095 (125.27 mph) set by Klaas Zwart, during a BRSCC meeting in August 2007. He was even faster in qualifying, setting an unofficial lap record of 54.687 (128.50 mph).

The track was used by both Team Lotus (F1) and Norfolk Racing Co (Le Mans) to test their racing cars.

In the 1960s and early 70's the circuit was 2.7 miles in length. Sears corner was 80 m further from Ritches corner and led onto the "Norwich Straight" clearly visible in satellite maps and currently used by a Sunday market. The straight ended in a hairpin bend leading to Home Straight which joined the existing track at the Esses but is now a main access road for the circuit. Russells bend was added in the 70's and named after Jim Russell who ran a racing drivers school at the circuit. Initially added to improve safety by slowing vehicles as they approached the pits, Russells bend was the scene of many accidents and was later altered to its present configuration.

The circuit hosts races from series including the British Touring Car Championship, British Formula Three Championship and British Superbikes. From 1980 to 1994, the track hosted the UK's first 24-hour race, the Willhire 24 Hour.

 

Noise Nuisance Order

Snetterton has recently come under fire for producing excessive noise. Environmental Health of Breckland Council have served a Noise Abatement Order against the circuit, which the owner Jonathan Palmer is currently appealing. The claim is that the circuit has increased its level of noise to be of an excessive nuisance to residents, especially under the ownership of Jonathan Palmer.

An agreement has now been reached between MSV and Breckland Council, which requires MSV to implement a range of measures to control noise caused by the running of unsilenced vehicles at the circuit, these being the noisiest vehicles that use the track. Steps agreed include limiting the number of weekends of unsilenced racing, limiting the number of unsilenced vehicles on circuit at any one time, limiting the operating times of unsilenced vehicles, building a noise barrier and improving communications with local residents. The agreement reached between Breckland Council and MSV will bring an end to legal proceedings in relation to a Noise Abatement Notice served by Breckland Council in February 2007. As a result of this Agreement (which takes the form of a ‘Statement of Best Practicable Means’), Breckland Council will withdraw this Noise Abatement Notice and MSV will withdraw its appeal.