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Home Gaming Someone should make a game about: the Birmingham Superprix

Someone should make a game about: the Birmingham Superprix

There are many bygone racing tracks worth mourning, from the eye-wateringly steep banked curves of Brooklands to Berlin’s Avus, a five-mile long wall of death once run by outrageous looking Mercs and Auto Unions, but for all that glamour and glory it’s a more mundane lost race that’s won my heart. In the late 80s and early 90s we had the Birmingham Superprix, a series of F3000 and BTCC races remarkable only for the awful driving and chaotic attrition heavy action the cramped layout provoked, and yet an event that lived up to its billing as the Monaco of the Midlands. Here was motorsport at its most bare knuckles, racing that wasn’t necessarily pretty to watch yet was heart-thumpingly raw.

You had to be there to really appreciate the shock of a score of screaming V8 DFVs rattling the windows of the boozers and bookies just south of Birmingham city centre as the likes of Irvine, McNish and Hill hustled their way past in alarmingly close proximity. I was lucky enough to be standing the other side of the armco at the Superprix’ last running in 1990, and I reckon you had to be there to really appreciate how surreal the whole enterprise was; an image that’s stuck with me ever since is of a woman putting out her washing as if it were any other Sunday afternoon, heroically oblivious to the gaggle of Honda Civics noisily trading paint just beyond the back gate. It was motorsport at its preposterous best.

You can glimpse it best not in TV highlights reuploaded on YouTube – they’re still worth a watch, mind – but through modern day accounts and comparison shots that highlight the improbability of it all, or through first-hand footage that captures the violence of it all. And good lord that breed of F3000 were violent things – take a look at an 88 vintage March and the chassis seems to buckle under the weight of the imposing, exposed Judd V8. These cars threw proper chest punches, capable of winding drivers and spectators alike.

Read more

There are many bygone racing tracks worth mourning, from the eye-wateringly steep banked curves of Brooklands to Berlin’s Avus, a five-mile long wall of death once run by outrageous looking Mercs and Auto Unions, but for all that glamour and glory it’s a more mundane lost race that’s won my heart. In the late 80s and early 90s we had the Birmingham Superprix, a series of F3000 and BTCC races remarkable only for the awful driving and chaotic attrition heavy action the cramped layout provoked, and yet an event that lived up to its billing as the Monaco of the Midlands. Here was motorsport at its most bare knuckles, racing that wasn’t necessarily pretty to watch yet was heart-thumpingly raw.

You had to be there to really appreciate the shock of a score of screaming V8 DFVs rattling the windows of the boozers and bookies just south of Birmingham city centre as the likes of Irvine, McNish and Hill hustled their way past in alarmingly close proximity. I was lucky enough to be standing the other side of the armco at the Superprix’ last running in 1990, and I reckon you had to be there to really appreciate how surreal the whole enterprise was; an image that’s stuck with me ever since is of a woman putting out her washing as if it were any other Sunday afternoon, heroically oblivious to the gaggle of Honda Civics noisily trading paint just beyond the back gate. It was motorsport at its preposterous best.

You can glimpse it best not in TV highlights reuploaded on YouTube – they’re still worth a watch, mind – but through modern day accounts and comparison shots that highlight the improbability of it all, or through first-hand footage that captures the violence of it all. And good lord that breed of F3000 were violent things – take a look at an 88 vintage March and the chassis seems to buckle under the weight of the imposing, exposed Judd V8. These cars threw proper chest punches, capable of winding drivers and spectators alike.

Read more

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