By a funny coincidence I received a copy of the latest in Veloce’s “Those were the days…” series on racing at Oulton Park on the same day that I heard a Formula One car would be running at the Cheshire circuit for the first time in almost eight years.
In the pre-FOCA years Oulton Park regularly hosted non-championship Formula One races and some of these are featured in Peter McFadyen’s book of photography from the time.
It’s a niche field, but there are some curiosities here for the F1 fan.
Oulton Park is too small for modern Formula One by a factor of about four. Make that forty if you think in terms of the Shanghai International Circuit.
But what it does have, and always had, is masses of charisma, which this pithy little volume captures in an annotated photographic record.
There’s a fair chunk of material on Formula One personalities, particularly in the ‘before they were famous’ section which features young John Watsons, Jackie Stewarts and James Hunts. There are fewer pictures of actual non-championship Grands Prix though.
What this book does give is a sense of how Formula One was much more a part of the wider racing scene in the sixties, alongside Formula Two, Formula 5000 and all sorts of sports and saloon car races.
Forty years later and, as far as most people are concerned, Formula One is motor racing. That was never the case and still isn’t, and books like this remind you how there was once much greater parity between the different classes of motor sport.
And how you got to see the greatest drivers in the world compete more than just 18 times a year.
“Motor Racing at Oulton Park in the 1960s” does exactly what you’d expect it to and no more. The only criticisms I could offer of it are that it would benefit from the inclusion of past and present circuit diagrams, and that those looking for an exclusively F1-orientated read should look elsewhere.
I was also disappointed not to learn exactly how Knicker Brook got its name… but I can probably make an educated guess!
Motor Racing at Oulton Park in the 1960s