Spectating at Aintree

Spectators are welcome at all of our events at Aintree, the entrance is at the North end of Melling Road near the Blue Anchor canal bridge.
In common with most UK motorsport events, Dogs are not allowed into the venue, not even well-behaved dogs on the strongest of leads.
Drones are also prohibited.

We run two types of events at Aintree, Sprints & Track Days

Drivers’ briefing

What are Sprints?

Sprints are one of the oldest forms of motorsport, having been established in the 1890s. The cars start one at a time, competing against the clock and the fastest driver wins. Well OK, it’s not quite as easy as that. It’s obvious that someone driving a classic Mini is not going to stand a chance of beating one of the single-seater racing cars, so we split the cars into classes of similar vehicles.

In the morning, following a drivers’ briefing, practice usually starts around 9.30am, with all competitors being offered two practice runs at intervals of about an hour. Then we are normally straight into the first of the timed competitive runs after which we stop for 45 minutes for lunch. The second, third and hopefully fourth timed competitive runs start at approximately 1.45pm. If we get time, we might offer competitors even more timed runs!

Some cars are shared by two drivers. When the first driver has completed their run, they drive into an area near the start where the drivers change over. When the second diver has had their turn, they drive back into the paddock to check the car over & wait for their class to be called for the next series of runs.

How are the times measured?

Lining up at the start

The start line crew line up each car at the start, and as the driver sets off, the car breaks a beam of light to start a very accurate clock that times the car until it passes through another beam at the finish line. The elapsed time then reveals who is the quickest driver.

Where do the cars go?

Leaving the start, preferably without too much wheelspin (doing that only wastes time!) there is a 250 metres straight before the first corner, a sharp left-hander called Country Corner. 230 metres further on is Village Corner, a banked right-hander which has to be taken just right to get a slingshot out along the 450 metres long Valentine’s Way. Bechers Bend is next and is incredibly intimidating as it starts quite tightly but quickly opens out. It lasts for nearly 450 metres, and even the slowest cars will be doing around 75mph on the exit. Get it right and you gain important extra speed to take you on to Railway Straight, over 600 metres long, but to avoid excessive speed & in the interest of safety, our finish line is just halfway along, opposite Country Corner. The cars then slow down & return to the paddock. Today’s sprint course is 1847 metres from start line to finish line.

How do I know who’s fastest?

We set up two digital displays at the start. One shows the time for each car, the other its speed as it crosses the finish line. Listen out for the commentator too. He knows most of the drivers and will no doubt have his own ideas about who is likely to win each class. However, at every event, there will be several drivers out there who have not been to Aintree before, so there may be a few surprises for the regulars! Live times are normally available during the day at www.resultsman.co.uk

That’s sprinting, so what about Track Days?

Track Days are non-competitive motorsport events where drivers get the opportunity to drive their cars in a controlled environment, as fast as they like, with no risk of being caught by a speed camera. It looks very similar to racing, but although you may see cars travelling very quickly in close proximity, racing – and timing – are specifically prohibited.

We split the cars into 4 groups for our Track Days at Aintree, where we try to place the cars & drivers into groups of similar performance & ability.

So we have Group 1 – Novice, Group 2 – Intermediate, Group 3 – Experienced & Group 4 which is for pure racing cars. Each group has a maximum of 20 cars in it, any more than that and the track would get too busy and the drivers’ enjoyment would be affected.

Each group gets 10 minutes on track which experience has shown is just right. At the end of each session, as the last car of a group returns to the paddock, we release the next group and so on through the rest of the day with just a 45 minute break for lunch. The only thing to disrupt this would be if we have to tow someone back in, though we try to keep the cars circulating behind a safety car if we can whilst we recover the errant vehicle.

Click HERE for more information about our track days.

Times & Facilities – all car events:-

7.00am – Gates open
9.30am – First cars on track
12.00 to 1.15pm – A 45-minute lunch break starts
Approx 4.30pm – Final cars finish on track depending on the event, weather etc

All timings are approximate and subject to change dependent on the prevailing conditions on the day.
Adult admission is just Adults £5.00 (all major payment cards accepted).
Children under 16 get in free, but must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

There are two main spectator areas, one close to the start areas, and another looking down onto the track from the start straight, through Country Corner (the first corner) and along the next straight to Village Corner. Unfortunately, it is not possible to access some parts of the circuit. However, the entire paddock is open to spectators – so you can get really close to see the drivers and their cars resting between track sessions.

The Golf Centre Cafe in the paddock opens at 07:30 and stays open all day for hot and cold snacks & drinks (card only, cash not taken).

Dogs (even well-behaved dogs) are not allowed into the venue. If you wish to bring someone who relies on a guide dog, please contact us first to make arrangements. Drones are also prohibited.

Do come along to watch our events at Aintree but please bear in mind that we are all volunteer enthusiasts putting on events for enthusiasts, and no one gets paid for organising the events. You could get even closer to the action by joining the Club and giving us a hand. It’s only £12 a year and you could be part of the only Club that runs competitive events for cars on the historic Aintree Circuit.

Click HERE for directions to Aintree Circuit.

And here is a short video to give you a Flavour of Aintree

For details of our events at Barbon Manor in Cumbria, run jointly with Kirkby Lonsdale Motor Club, please click on the Barbon Hillclimbs tab at the top of the page.

Updated 15/5/2023