Snetterton—Everyone’s Favourite Circuit

Screenshot of Snetterton in Project CARS 3

No one dislikes Snetterton. It’s one of those elbows-out circuits where every position gained is testament to racecraft, and every second gained testament to time invested in learning its little secrets. The run through Coram, in particular, has been separating the very good from the legends for half-a-century (the heroes never lift!), and the weather, the wind, and the flat, technical nature of the circuit is one that always elevates pure driving skills.

In World War 2, there was an American airfield here and, as with many circuits in the UK, once that was decommissioned, the old runways soon attracted the eye of racing enthusiasts. Hardly surprising, since this stretch of Norfolk has always been a motoring hotbed. By 1951, the land had been bought and a rowdy track built. Erstwhile pilot and motor racing veteran Jim Russell then came in the mid-’50s and quickly found a home here for the world’s first racing school. (In a slightly ironic twist, the bend named in Russell’s honour at Snetterton back in the ’80s ended up being one of the most dangerous bends on the track, scene of countless accidents through the years—students never pay much attention, then or now!)

Screenshot of Snetterton in Project CARS 3

The track was also used by Team Lotus (headquartered nearby during their glorious F1 years) as their test track, as well as Racing Technology Norfolk, who developed the Bentley Speed 8 endurance programme here in the early-’00s. (You can race both Lotus F1 cars and the Bentley Speed 8 in Project CARS 3).

By the mid-’70s, safety concerns meant the track needed to be shortened, and by 1974, the new Snetterton was ready for action, leaving the original track abandoned to the weeds (only to respawn years later as a local Sunday Market).

The circuit would then see a few modifications through the years (when it became home to the UK’s first and best 24-hour race in 1980) until the MotorSport Vision Group bought the track outright in the early noughties and invested heavily in a complete upgrade and rebuild.

Screenshot of Snetterton in Project CARS 3

By 2011, Snetterton had been reborn as a world-class racing circuit complete with three distinct courses (named Snetterton 300, 200 {which is almost identical to the pre-2011 layout}, and 100, and all in Project CARS 3) and was now home to plenty of racing action that includes a national racing series such as touring cars, GT3, as well as open wheelers.

The 300 course is the longest layout, and it’s where the big boys and girls come to play. The new track also came with new corner names, and they’re a bit of a walk through a who’s who of local motorsport and regional history.

Screenshot of Snetterton in Project CARS 3

What’s in a Name?

Senna Straight

Ayrton Senna lived in Norfolk in the early years of his career, first while driving in lower formula and then when he was racing with Lotus-Renault, whose HQ was up the road. In his lower formula days, Snetterton was also the scene of the Brundle versus Senna rivalry that defined most of the 1983 season—a season that has gone into motorsport lore, and it’s fitting somehow that these two legends both have a corner named after them here.

Riches

Not named after the glory of getting this turn right (the apex is really, really, really late!) but after Fred Riches, who sold the original farmland on which the track was built.

Screenshot of Snetterton in Project CARS 3

Montreal

Named after what many consider the best hairpin turn in all of motorsports. Identical in almost every way, including that epic exit.

Palmers

Named after Jonathan Palmer, ex-F1-driver and Chief Executive of the current owners, the MotorSport Vision Group.

Agostini

Named after the (second?)-most famous Italian bike rider, Giacomo Agostini, arguably the (second?) finest bike rider in history.

Hamilton

If you have to ask … named after Lewis Hamilton MBE

Screenshot of Snetterton in Project CARS 3

Oggies

Named after Sir Peter “Oggies” Ogden, co-founder of the MotorSport Vision Group.

Williams

Named after Sir Frank Williams CBE, founder of Williams F1.

Bentley Straight

Snetterton once had the longest straight in the UK, and even though it’s been shortened, it’s still a long ride to finding your top end speed to this day. Bentley’s EXP Speed 8 Prototype was also tested and developed extensively here—it really feels at home around this place as you’ll discover in-game.  

Screenshot of Snetterton in Project CARS 3

Brundle

Ex-F1 driver and now commentator, Martin Brundle hails from Norfolk, and Snetterton was pretty-much his home-track when he was starting out his career.

Nelson

Horatio Nelson, famed naval chap who hailed from Norfolk.

Bomb Hole

Bit of a long legend here through Bomb Hole, which isn’t its actual name. It was known as “bum hole” because of squeaky bum time as drivers (and riders) went down and hit the bump. Bomb Hole was a more friendly term though!

Screenshot of Snetterton in Project CARS 3

Coram

Dudley Saville Gery Coram was one of the founding fathers (along with Oliver Sear) of Snetterton so it’s appropriate that this turn, one of the more challenging and exciting turn in UK motorsports, is named in his honour.

Murrays

Murray Walker OBE gets a chicane named after him, and that’s fitting for anyone who has ever enjoyed his commentary from 1948 through 2001!