Bentleys at Brooklands
2008 Bentley Brooklands and Old Number Two at Brooklands Race Circuit

Chances are, even if you don't have the history of the Brooklands race circuit stenciled on the back of your eyelids, you know the name. The track was built in 1907 as the world's very first purpose-built race venue, and as a result, history's first record-setters migrated to Surrey, England to test their mettle and their machines against the track's high-banks. Now, the Brooklands Museum seeks to keep the circuit alive, and has established a system to let donors "purchase" virtual squares of the banked sections.

That's where Captain Slow comes in. James May was the first monetary contributor to the effort. As you might recall, May recently set a new world record by building the world's largest slot car track on the grounds – recreating the full length of Brooklands in the process. He was the first person to "race" there in over 70 years.

A total of 1,980 square-yard sections are up for adoption, with prices ranging from $145 to $230 at current exchange rates, depending on exactly how high up on the bank your section resides. Sadly enough, they won't be stenciling your name on the concrete. Instead, everyone who donates will be immortalized on the track's new website. Hey, beats naming a star.

[Source: Banking on Brooklands]


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LONDON, UK (RPRN) 04/01/10 - James was the first person to use the new web site to purchase one of only 2,000 virtual square-yards of the track.

The Brooklands Museum Trust who are behind the web site aim to raise £250,000 by selling 'custody' of unique square-yard pieces from the world's first purpose-built motor racing circuit. Individual squares from the most famous 'Member's Banking' section of the circuit can be bought from as little as just £95 rising to £150 at the top of the circuit's bank.

The transactional web site built by Mercedes-Benz appointed agency Digital Annexe features a 3D virtual layout of the track combined with a unique shopping cart. Through the interface, visitors can interact with the track to find their perfect square while uncovering over a century of history of the track and its drivers. Once purchased online, visitors can then personalise the name of their square as well as upload a personal message and image. This virtual piece of British racing history makes a great gift.

As more people buy squares, a unique online community of owners will develop, each bringing life back into the track.

Julian Mitchell, Managing Director of Digital Annexe said "It was great to be involved in such a unique and historic project that uses the latest web technology to help protect the past."

Last August, James May was the first person in 70 years to race on the Brooklands track during his record breaking attempt to build the longest slot car-racing track using Scalextric.

The legendary Richard Noble - the previous holder of the World Land Speed Record - already has his own square.James May from BBC's Top Gear has just helped launch a new fundraising web site to support the historic Brooklands motor-racing circuit in Weybridge, Surrey. James was the first person to use the new web site to purchase one of only 2,000 virtual square-yards of the track.

The Brooklands Museum Trust who are behind the web site aim to raise £250,000 by selling 'custody' of unique square-yard pieces from the world's first purpose-built motor racing circuit. Individual squares from the most famous 'Member's Banking' section of the circuit can be bought from as little as just £95 rising to £150 at the top of the circuit's bank.

The transactional web site built by Mercedes-Benz appointed agency Digital Annexe features a 3D virtual layout of the track combined with a unique shopping cart. Through the interface, visitors can interact with the track to find their perfect square while uncovering over a century of history of the track and its drivers. Once purchased online, visitors can then personalise the name of their square as well as upload a personal message and image. This virtual piece of British racing history makes a great gift.

As more people buy squares, a unique online community of owners will develop, each bringing life back into the track.

Julian Mitchell, Managing Director of Digital Annexe said "It was great to be involved in such a unique and historic project that uses the latest web technology to help protect the past."

Last August, James May was the first person in 70 years to race on the Brooklands track during his record breaking attempt to build the longest slot car-racing track using Scalextric.

The legendary Richard Noble - the previous holder of the World Land Speed Record - already has his own square.

Notes for Editors

Brooklands Museum features a vast collection of historic aviation and motoring exhibits – including giant racing cars and the first British production Concorde – and attracts more than 110,000 visitors annually. Brooklands hosts many aviation and motorsports events, as well as being a popular conference and banqueting venue and a major educational destination.

It is managed by Brooklands Museum Trust, an independent charitable trust formed in 1987 to establish a museum on the site of the world's first purpose-built motor-racing circuit (opened in 1907 and closed in 1939 at the outbreak of WWII) and also of Europe's most productive aircraft factory over more than 80 years between 1908 and 1989.

Background on the Brooklands track

Brooklands was conceived as the first place on the British mainland where manufacturers could develop and test fast, powerful motorcars legally and safely, but Hugh Locke King's pioneering vision was quickly expanded to make Brooklands the world's first purpose-built motor racing circuit.

Built in a mere nine months, by an army of some 2,000 labourers using hand tools and helped by steam shovels and a specially-laid railway, the circuit was, when it was officially opened on 17 June 1907, the largest concrete structure in the world. The oval main outer circuit - 2¾ miles long and 100 feet wide, and embracing a further ½ mile Finishing Straight – incorporated two giant banked curves, the largest of which was 29 feet high, and allowed cars to corner at unprecedented speeds.

Motor racing at Brooklands acquired its own distinct flavour in the 1920s and '30s, especially with the development of giant aero-engined racing cars exemplified by Count Zborowski's Chitty Bang Bang and the car which would prove to be the fastest-ever on the track, John Cobb's 24-litre Napier-Railton, which lapped the outer circuit at an average of 143.44mph in 1935. The track also hosted the fastest-ever pre-war 500 mile race, and countless innovative events like the Junior Car Club's Double Twelve – a 24 hour race run as two 12 hour heats on consecutive days.

In 1946, Vickers purchased the track outright, and proceeded to build a world-class range of aircraft including the pioneering Viscount turboprop airliner, the Valiant V-Bomber and the VC10. The last great aircraft project on the site was Concorde, with over one third of every Concorde airframe built at Brooklands.

By 1989 the aircraft factory – by then owned by British Aerospace – had closed. In just over 80 years, 18,600 aircraft of some 260 different types had been completed and made their first flights at Brooklands – more than at any other manufacturing site in Europe. Two years later Brooklands Museum was opened, based on 30 acres of the original site and embracing most of the surviving motoring and aviation buildings and the steepest part of the Members' Banking of the 1907 circuit.