Racing on public roads was common in Europe, but discouraged in England. In fact a speed limit of 20mph was in force in the country until 1930. The amateur’s quest for speed and competition found a home at Brooklands in England in 1907, the first custom-built, banked racetrack in the world, where drivers could reach high speeds. Brooklands was similar in spirit to a high-end social club, where “Race with the Right Crowd” was the motto.
In 1913 Brooklands was the setting where the first person went 100 miles in one hour. The circuit also played host to the first 24-hour race ever. A large part of the Brooklands scene was the camaraderie it generated among its amateur drivers. The two Alfa Romeo cars shown in this exhibit were actual participants in the races at Brooklands.
During WWI, Brooklands was closed for motor racing and was used a facility for RAF airplanes. When WWII began, the site was used for the production of military aircraft, and all motor racing activities permanently ceased. The facility was heavily damaged by a Luftwaffe bombing in September 1940, resulting in 90 deaths. Aircraft production, including major components for the Concorde, continued until 1989. The site now hosts various historical buildings and occasional gatherings for motor racing and aviation enthusiasts.