Snetterton: the new corner names

Published: 17 March 2011

Names have now been put to the new corners that make up the Snetterton  circuit layouts. Here’s the full background story to the naming process

1: Riches

Jonathan Palmer on Riches

“As one of the few corners to remain unchanged in the redevelopment of the circuit and a great drivers’ and riders’ favourite with its fast sweeping nature, it is appropriate that turn one retains its original name.”

Background

The first corner of the 300 layout honours Fred Riches, a local farmer who proved instrumental in the establishment of Snetterton as a racing venue.

Riches purchased the farmland on which the circuit now lies in March 1951, when the Earl of Albermarle’s Snetterton estate was sold by private treaty. This area included three full-length runways, a perimeter track and 100 acres of concrete. Areas of this land were then purchased by local figures Dudley Coram and Oliver Sear to enable the creation of Snetterton racetrack. Riches continued to assist Coram and Sear with the day-to-day management of the venue alongside his wife Connie until the family relinquished their interest in the land to Oliver Sear later in the 1950s.

2: Montreal

Jonathan Palmer on Montreal

“I wanted to have a hairpin after Riches to provide a far better overtaking opportunity than the old Sear corner and keep the new one mile extension towards the western end of the site, maximising the length of the original main straight. The precise design was important though and the inspiration from this came from observing just how good the hairpin at the Montreal F1 circuit was at facilitating overtaking and then measuring its radius, track width and run off on Google Earth whilst I was watching the Grand Prix!  Those dimensions were then replicated in the design, with the addition of some camber to make it even better.”

3: Palmers

Jonathan Palmer on … Palmer

“Initially when people said there ought to be a Palmer corner at new Snetterton I laughed it off as a joke!  But then I thought well, perhaps it might be nice to have one corner amongst the many across MSV circuits named after me, and as there would never be any question of renaming an existing bend, decided I ought to take advantage of nabbing one of the new ones at Snetterton!  I love Monza and especially the unique sweeping character of Parabolica. Except it’s not unique anymore because another JP Google Earth spy job sees its radius now applied to a similarly challenging new fast corner at Snetterton!”

Background

MotorSport Vision Chief Executive Jonathan Palmer is the driving force behind the biggest redevelopment in Snetterton’s history and personally designed the 300 circuit, using his huge experience of both driving on many motorsport circuits across the world and seeing racing from a fans standpoint, whether commentating or trackside.

A qualified medical doctor, Palmer began his motorsport career racing Austin-Healey Sprites whilst still a student at Guy’s Hospital Medical School. He graduated to UK Formula Ford in 1978 before leaving the medical profession to become a full-time racing driver piloting a Ralt-Toyota in the 1981 British F3 Championship. It was during this year that his association with Snetterton began, as he scored a podium position at the Norfolk venue in May before returning to snatch race victory during the series’ second visit to Snetterton in October.

Palmer’s success in British F3 led him to graduate to European Formula 2, and he clinched the 1983 driver’s title before making his Formula 1 debut that same year with Williams at the Brands Hatch British Grand Prix. This marked the start of a ten year F1 career that led him to race with teams such as Zakspeed, Tyrrell and fulfil a test driver role for McLaren. He combined this with a successful sportscar career, winning the 1984 Brands Hatch 1000km race in a Porsche 956 and finishing second at the prestigious Le Mans 24 Hour race in the same car.

Palmer has enjoyed a successful career in business since his retirement from race driving, which began when he founded the PalmerSport corporate motorsport event in 1991, first at Bruntingthorpe and then at his purpose-build Bedford Autodrome complex which he also designed. He also commentated on the BBC’s Grand Prix coverage alongside Murray Walker in the early 1990s, following the sudden death of James Hunt.

After further successes including launching the Formula Palmer Audi Championship and managing the career of inaugural champion Justin Wilson into F1, in 2004 Palmer founded MotorSport Vision (MSV) alongside Sir Peter Ogden and John Britten. MSV has been credited with transforming the fortunes of four leading UK circuits – Brands Hatch, Oulton Park, Snetterton and Cadwell Park – and Palmer’s multi-million pound investment in the Norfolk track in times of economic uncertainty is a mark of his ongoing commitment to British motorsport.

4: Agostini

Jonathan Palmer on Agostini

“Motor cycle racing is every bit as important as car racing at Snetterton and it was important to me to name a corner after one of motor bike racing’s legends. Like many kids in the sixties if you knew nothing else about bike racing you knew the name Agostini, and that he was the king. It was marvellous that Giacomo accepted an invitation to be our guest of honour and present the awards at the Brands Hatch round of the British Superbike Championship in August 2009. I was struck by just how popular he was and how much he cared about his fans. Having won at Snetterton on two wheels and come second on four I was thrilled when Giacomo said he would be honoured to have a corner at Snetterton named after him. Bike racing means dramatic overtaking and Agostini has always been a great showman, so his corner will be perfect with gutsy outbraking being witnessed by 3000 fans on the huge viewing bank right on the outside. And apart from anything else, isn’t it just the best racer’s name?!”

Background

Born in Italy in 1942, Giacomo Agostini is frequently hailed by two wheel motorsport fans as the greatest motorcycle rider in history, with multiple world championship titles and the all-time record for the greatest number of race victories in Grand Prix history to his name.

‘Ago’ began his career in the early 1960s, winning the 1963 Italian Hillclimb Championship before making his world championship debut later that year on a 250cc Morini. His talent was noted by MV Agusta, who signed him in 1965 alongside triple champion Britain’s Mike Hailwood, and Agostini narrowly missed out on clinching the title that season.

Hailwood’s move to Honda in 1966 marked the beginning of a dominant winning streak for Agostini, who clinched the 500cc Grand Prix titles in ’66 and ’67, before securing both the 350cc and 500cc crowns each season from 1968 until 1972 with MV, which he followed up with the 350cc trophy in 1974 and the 500cc title in 1975 with Yamaha. His ultimate overall world championship came in 1976 in a final return to MV Agusta.
Although he began his career in Italy, Agostini’s international success led him to compete at Snetterton several times during his racing career, including winning the 1972 Race of Aces event on an MV. It also yielded strong results during a brief foray into four wheel motorsport once his motorcycling career had ended, as he scored his first podium in the British Formula 1 Series at the Norfolk venue in 1979, piloting a Williams FW06.

5: Hamilton

Jonathan Palmer on Hamilton

“Inevitably most of us as F1 drivers believed we were as good as, if not better than, most other drivers. There were some though that you just knew were in another league. In my day that was Senna. Recently it has been Lewis Hamilton. Of course he had good teams and cars all the way up his career path, thanks to Ron Dennis and McLaren, but then so have plenty of others. But Lewis won at every level. So many races show his phenomenal talent – destroying the opposition at a sodden Silverstone in 2008 stands out in my mind. He surely has more world championships ahead in a long F1 career.

“What’s great is that he’s the same guy that I first met when he was instructing on our PalmerSport corporate event at Bedford Autodrome not so many years ago. Being brought up in UK motorsport, Lewis competed at Snetterton. So of course he won there!  The bigger the challenge the better Lewis goes, and the bigger the margin of superiority. One of the most tricky corners at new Snetterton is Hamilton. It’s a very quick flick left, but hard to get right. Lewis would have an edge here.”

Background

Lewis Hamilton MBE is one of the UK’s modern day sporting heroes, carrying on a longstanding tradition of British excellence in international motorsport. He began his racing career at the age of eight, winning several Cadet Class karting events before attracting the attention of McLaren F1 Team Principal Ron Dennis when he was just ten years old.

Hamilton made his car racing debut in the 2001 British Formula Renault Winter Series, and Snetterton circuit was the site for several of his early career successes. In 2002 he scored a podium at the Norfolk venue competing in the Formula Renault UK Championship, whilst he took a victory and second and third place finishes the following year in the same category.

It was this success that led to his graduation into British F3 and the F3 Euro Series, which catapulted him onto the International stage. Hamilton subsequently cemented his position as a leading light in world motorsport by winning the 2006 GP2 driver’s title, before making his Formula One debut with McLaren the following year. After finishing second on his maiden campaign, Lewis made history in 2008 when he emerged victorious in a thrilling final round title battle with Ferrari’s Felipe Massa to be crowned the youngest ever F1 World Champion.

6: Oggies

Jonathan Palmer on Oggies

“I have been extremely fortunate to have such a great business partner as Sir Peter Ogden. Of course Peter provided vital funding to enable MSV to acquire the circuits in the first place, but even more beneficial has been the ongoing contribution of an extremely astute businessman to strategic and financial decisions. He enjoys driving nice cars, and loves the opportunity to have a bit of a powerslide in one of his Ferraris on track – and Oggies is the perfect place at new Snetterton to do that. Although Sir Peter has never raced cars, in the international yacht racing world ‘Oggie’ is very well known as a determined, successful competitor with his yacht Jethou.”

Background

‘Oggies’ honours Sir Peter Ogden, founder of MotorSport Vision alongside its Chief Executive Jonathan Palmer and John Britten.

Ogden began his business career in investment banking after winning a scholarship to Durham University, where he achieved a PhD in Particle Physics, and an MBA in Business Studies at Harvard Business School. His early success in the city led to him becoming Managing Director of Morgan Stanley between 1980 and 1984. During this time he also founded IT infrastructure services provider Computacenter with Philip Hulme, acting as chairman of the company until 1998, when it became a UK public company and he took on the role of non-executive director.

In 2004, Ogden joined forces with Jonathan Palmer and John Britten to create MotorSport Vision and ensure the long-term security of Brands Hatch, Oulton Park, Snetterton and Cadwell Park as motor racing venues. He now owns 25% of the company, with Jonathan Palmer owning the remaining 75% shares.

Sir Peter also carries out a vast amount of philanthropic work through the Ogden Trust, a charitable organisation he launched in 1999 when he provided £22.5 million to launch the trust which identifies particularly talented state school pupils and funds them in top public schools to accelerate their prospects. In recognition of his services to education, he was awarded a knighthood in the 2005 New Year Honours list.

7: Williams

Jonathan Palmer on Williams

“For any race driver, your first F1 race is one of the most amazing things in your life and Frank Williams and Patrick Head gave me this opportunity at Brands Hatch in 1983, after I spent two great years as their test driver whilst racing in F2. Williams has played a major part in my life for which I will always be eternally grateful and I have many wonderful memories from the 30 years I have known Frank and Patrick, whether from testing F1 cars, including the six wheeler, to in recent years Patrick leading the design of our superb Williams Formula 2 car.

“Frank always loves ballsy drivers and would certainly only ever want to take the kind of driver who could be flat through a quick corner – if anyone could!  Williams corner has been selected to be just such a corner. In an F3 or F2 car, on a good day, on new tyres, with light fuel, Williams might just be flat. And Frank would truly admire that!”

Background

Sir Frank Williams CBE is the founder of the Williams F1 team and one of the greatest forces in British motorsport. Born in April 1942, Williams enjoyed a brief career as a driver and mechanic before starting Frank Williams Racing Cars in the 1960s. Following successes in Formula Two and Formula Three with Piers Courage and Tony Trimmer, he made his F1 debut in 1969, running Courage in a Brabham chassis, recording two podium finishes in the process.

After several challenging seasons at Grand Prix level, Williams joined forces with engineer Patrick Head to create the Williams F1 team in 1977, and the squad achieved its first race victory just two seasons later courtesy of Clay Regazzoni. Australian Alan Jones clinched Williams’ first title triumph the following year.

Since then, the Williams F1 team has been responsible for launching and guiding the careers of young British motorsport talent, including Nigel Mansell, Jenson Button, David Coulthard and steering Damon Hill to the 1996 driver’s title. MSV Chief Executive Jonathan Palmer made his Grand Prix debut with the team in 1983 at Brands Hatch.

Williams has also played a key role in the FIA Formula Two Championship, which launched in 2009 using identical single seaters designed by the F1 squad. Much of the development work on the F2 car has taken place at Snetterton, and the 2010 machine – the JPH1B – was the first vehicle to test the new 300 configuration. Williams also provides the highly sought after F2 title prize, a full F1 test with the team.

Bentley Straight

Jonathan Palmer on Bentley Straight

“The long main straight was perhaps old Snetterton’s biggest claim to fame, with cars and bikes all using the longest gearing for the highest speeds. It’s changed a bit now though, being slightly shorter, but with a higher entry speed on to it through Williams, which means terminal speeds are similarly high. I wanted a fresh name that meant more with recent history too. Bentley is synonymous with high speeds on straights, a legacy of not only their road cars but pounding down the legendary Mulsanne Straight at Le Mans both in the thirties to victory and of course more recently to win in 2002. The contemporary Bentley team was revived by my close friend and Porsche 956 team patron Richard Lloyd, who was tragically killed several years ago. I can visualise it now; the Speed 8 testing, hammering down what is now Bentley Straight at 200mph, lap after lap, as Richard looked on dreaming of the Le Mans win.”

Background

Established in 1919 by Walter Owen Bentley, the Bentley marque has become synonymous with British car manufacturing prowess. In addition to producing outstanding road cars, Bentley motorsport has engineered race winning cars for more than nine decades, stretching back to its first victory at the prestigious Le Mans 24 hour race in 1924.

After several triumphs in the 1920s and 30s, the Bentley name remained absent from Le Mans until 2001, when it renewed its quest for victory with the launch of the Bentley EXP Speed 8 Le Mans Prototype. This car was manufactured by Racing Technology Norfolk, with much of its development taking place at Snetterton, including 9 days in 2001 as part of the marque’s three year development programme.

“We used Snetterton because it was good value and technically useful to start the test programme every year,” explained John Wickham, Team Manager for Bentley during this period. “The track had a good layout for testing the handling and braking.”

After finishing third, Bentley stepped up its test programme of the Speed 8 to 12 days at Snetterton in 2002, as well as entering cars into the American Le Mans Series and 12 Hours of Sebring – all in the hope of perfectly preparing its machinery for another attempt at the Le Mans title. This strategy paid off, as Bentley scored pole position before dominating the 24 hour endurance race, the Norfolk bred car crossing the line two laps ahead of its closest rival.

8: Brundle

Jonathan Palmer on Brundle

“Let’s be clear, Martin is one of my closest friends. We have shared a huge amount; rising through British F3, launching into F1 together in 1984, racing sports cars and at Le Mans against each other, commentating on F1 and helping our sons Alex and Jolyon develop their motor racing careers.

“But Martin’s name is not on one of the corners through friendship, but professional respect. Through talent, ambition and application he has earned his place in history as one of Britain’s most accomplished achievers in international motor racing. And to come from - and still live in - Norfolk was just perfect for Snetterton circuit. The friendship bit only came in when I suggested he might like to choose his corner. No great surprise that it was one that combined driving skill and commentating relevance – Brundle corner is where you’ll see the last of the late brakers succeed – and fail –and the focus of excitement for those on the microphone.”

Background

Martin Brundle is undoubtedly the most famous motorsport talent to emerge from Norfolk. The King’s Lynn based racer began his career competing in grass track racing in the Norfolk village of Pott Row, before moving onto Hot Rod Racing and then Formula Ford. During this time he also raced a Tom Walkinshaw BMW, taking a podium finish at Snetterton against a field of international drivers.

After narrowly losing out on the 1983 British F3 title to Ayrton Senna, despite recovering from a collision with his main rival to clinch race victory at Snetterton, Brundle graduated to Formula One for the start of a twelve year Grand Prix career representing teams including Tyrrell, Zakspeed, Williams, Brabham, Benetton, Ligier, McLaren and Jordan. A brief F1 hiatus during this period also yielded victories in the World Sportscar Championship and the Le Mans and Daytona 24 Hour races.

Brundle continues to fly the flag for Norfolk motorsport both in his role as a commentator for BBC F1 and in one-off racing appearances, most recently finishing fourth in the 2011 Daytona 24 Hours race. He is an avid supporter of Snetterton and has kept a close eye on the development of the 300 circuit, visiting the track whilst it was under construction.

A mark of his strong connection to the Norfolk venue is the fact that, in a poll run by MSV for fans to suggest corner names, Brundle’s name was the most popular choice.

9:  Nelson

Jonathan Palmer on Nelson

"Norfolk is rightfully extremely proud of its heritage, including Lord Nelson. His name featured highly in our corner name nominations exercise and I was eager for it to be included. I have felt strongly that the old Esses needed separating into two corner names for clarity and with a contemporary Norfolk hero having the first it seemed appropriate that the most famous from the past had the second."

Background

Turn nine honours one of Norfolk’s most prominent historical figures. Horatio Nelson was born into a moderately prosperous family in the county in September 1758 and joined the Navy before the age of 20. He was awarded his own naval command in 1778 and led several successful engagements during the French Revolutionary Wars. However, Nelson’s greatest triumph came during the Napoleonic Wars, leading Britain to its greatest ever naval victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Tragically, Nelson was fatally wounded by a French sniper during the conflict and he was brought back to England for a state funeral. He remains, however, one of the greatest military figures in British history and Snetterton joins several existing monuments including Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square, London, as a lasting memory of his legacy.

10: Bomb Hole

Jonathan Palmer on Bomb Hole

“Bomb Hole is unchanged – because it is a great corner - and so of course the name stays. It’s another of those challenging just a lift or maybe flat corners, with the added twist of the mid corner dip.”

Background

Contrary to popular belief, although Snetterton circuit is built on a former RAF airfield, a bomb never fell on the site. Bomb Hole corner was originally part of the Esses until the circuit was revised and the corners were retitled in the 1970s, at which point it remained un-named. The corner had a pronounced dip, which motorcycle riders in particular found difficult to master, and they began describing it as a ‘bum hole’ of a corner. However, as this nickname was unsuitable for broadcast over circuit commentary, circuit owners modified it to the Bomb Hole – paying tribute also to its sudden undulation.

11: Coram

Jonathan Palmer on Coram

“What to do with the Coram – Russell section was a major headache for me. I hated the old Russell chicane, an ill considered corner that was neither a good overtaking point nor technically interesting. But there was lap time to be gained – provided, as with many chicanes, you were prepared to clatter across the ugly kerbs, and damage your car in the process. Horrible, and it had to go.

“Knowing what else to do though was not easy. Making a wider right-left at Russell would have meant opening up Coram earlier, which would have made it less of a challenge and easier flat where it had been, plus provide less run off area on the outside. I decided the answer was to do the opposite and continue much longer, leading then into one clean left hand bend. Now Coram retains its super fast sweeping entry, but by mid corner you’re really having to think about how best to approach Murrays, with the almost unique need to brake whilst cornering fast, and on the limit. I think it works really well.”

Background

Dudley Saville Gery Coram is one of the founding fathers of Snetterton circuit after negotiating, along with Oliver Sear, the purchase of the land from farmer Fred Riches in 1950.

Coram was an authority on Aston Martins and Executive President of the Aston Martin Owner’s Club (AMOC), which became the first car club to host a race meeting at Snetterton in 1951. Coram was Clerk of the Course for this inaugural event.

Also an eminent sports car writer, Dudley Coram passed away in 1976 at his home in Burgess Hill, and the Aston Martin Heritage Trust continues to hold an annual lecture in his honour.

12: Murrays

Jonathan Palmer on Murrays

“Commentating well on motor racing is not easy. Only those that have stood behind a microphone trying to ignore the fact that 5 million people are listening and a percentage are bound to criticise the words you utter know that!  I had the privilege of partnering Murray on the BBC F1 coverage for six years and was quite frankly in awe of his talent and aptitude. Murray is a true legend. The combination of a voice recognisable from a word with the ability to emphasise the mood of the moment, whether elation or despair, was and will probably remain a peerless talent and one that I feel privileged to have worked alongside.

“His corner will see skill, mistakes, drama, and therefore virtual hysteria on the commentary. It had to be Murrays.”

Background

The ‘voice of British motorsport’ Murray Walker OBE is immortalised in circuit history for the first time at the final chicane of the Snetterton 300 configuration, following strong demand from motorsport fans in MSV’s corner name survey.

Walker’s commentary career began in 1948 when he made his first broadcast at the Shelsley Walsh hillclimb, which developed into a regular role on ITV’s motocross coverage in the 1960s. In the 1970s, he began commentating on rallycross before making his Formula 1 debut later in the decade.

In 1980, Walker joined forces in the commentary box with 1976 F1 World Champion James Hunt, and the pair created an unlikely chemistry that proved popular with viewers. The duo worked together until Hunt’s sudden death in 1993, with MSV Chief Executive Jonathan Palmer stepping in until ITV took over F1 coverage in 1997.

Walker continued to lend his passionate and enthusiastic style on ITV’s coverage until 2001, when he retired after nearly six decades behind the microphone. His final race was the United States Grand Prix, and he received the rare honour of being awarded an original brick from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway by circuit president Tony George following his last commentary outing.

As well as a successful international F1 commentary career, Walker also became the voice of the BBC’s British Touring Car Coverage in the 1980s and 90s - a role which brought him to Snetterton on several occasions.

Since his official retirement ten years ago, Walker has continued to be an avid motorsport supporter and guest commentator on several events including the BBC Grand Prix Masters series and several BBC Radio Five Live F1 broadcasts.

Senna Straight

Ayrton Senna da Silva is renowned in the minds and hearts of motorsport fans across the world as one of Grand Prix racing’s all-time greatest drivers. Born in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 1960, Senna began his career in karting before moving to Europe to make his car racing debut in the UK Formula Ford Championship. During this time, Ayrton excelled around the fast, flat Snetterton circuit, taking a podium finish in 1981 before scoring a win and second place during his Norfolk outing the following year.

In 1983, Senna graduated to the British F3 Championship and, although he crashed out of the Snetterton round in July, the 23-year-old clinched the overall title. His F3 triumph marked the beginning of his glittering international career, as Senna made his F1 debut with Toleman in 1984, before winning three Grands Prix with Lotus-Renault the following season – during which time he lived in Norfolk whilst competing for the East Anglian team.

Senna joined Frenchman Alain Prost at McLaren in 1988 in a move that yielded his greatest results and fiercest on-track battles. The pair won all but one race that season with Senna taking the title, although Prost wrestled it back the following year. Senna responded by taking two consecutive crowns in 1990 and 1991, and also finished runner-up in 1993.

In 1994, Senna joined the Williams F1 team but was tragically killed three weekends into the season as the result of a crash whilst leading the San Marino Grand Prix. However, his legacy remains as powerful as ever, and he is still ranked among Formula 1’s most prodigious talents.

Snetterton 200 circuit corner names

 3: Chapman

Jonathan Palmer on Chapman

“I never met Colin Chapman but would have loved to have done and I think we would have got on well. His love of cars, motor racing, winning and aircraft fit very well with my own character, as does his reputed no nonsense get on and do it style!  Lotus was Chapman, he deserves to be recognised at Snetterton, a place he frequently visited, and I’m grateful to Hazel and Clive for approving the suggestion.”

Background

Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman CBE was one of motorsport’s most influential engineers and founder of Lotus Cars, the pride of Norfolk. Born in May 1928, Chapman studied structural engineering at University College London before joining the Royal Airforce. After a brief military career he returned to civilian life after accepting a role with British Aluminium.

In 1952, Chapman and a group of enthusiastic associates founded Lotus Cars, which he initially ran in his spare time. Colin used his aeronautical engineering techniques to influence automotive technology, building the Norfolk based marque into a pioneering force in British motorsport. Under Chapman’s watchful eye, Team Lotus won seven Formula One World Championship constructors’ titles and six driver’s titles between 1962 and 1978, and many of his inventions were genuinely pioneering in motorsport. For instance, Chapman adopted the monocoque one-shell chassis, the use of struts as rear suspensions, the manipulation of aerodynamic downforce and the introduction of ground effect technology.

Chapman passed away in 1982 after suffering a heart attack; however the Lotus brand continues to thrive through his son Clive, who established Classic Team Lotus with Colin’s widow Hazel. Snetterton has a strong relationship with Classic Team Lotus and hosted a festival in the marque’s honour in 2010, which featured the first time in history that every model of Team Lotus F1 car raced in a grand prix between 1958-1994 had been exhibited at a single event.

Snetterton 100 circuit corner names

4: Firmans

Jonathan Palmer on Firmans

“Many F1 drivers owe some of their success to Ralph Firman, who was remarkable in regularly helping out those with a bit of talent with his always front running Van Diemen Formula Ford cars – and that was in the days of four championships each with nearly 30 cars – it was mad!  As an impoverished medical student, Ralph loaned me a chassis both in 1979 and then even more remarkably in 1980. I’d defected to Royale but when that promise was broken went back cap in hand to Ralph, and with a characteristic drag on his fag he agreed to loan me a car once again! 

“When it came to who to go to for our Formula Palmer Audi car, there was never any question – Ralph and Van Diemen. The car was brilliant; cheap rugged reliable and still looking great 13 years after launch. You would never have thought that from project green light to delivery of 26 cars took just six months.

“Ralph Firman made a huge contribution to young race drivers, and to have Firmans corner on the race school circuit is totally appropriate.”

Background

Ralph Firman Sr is the founder of the Snetterton based Van Diemen International race car manufacturer, synonymous with success in club level motorsport. Firman created the company in 1973 in partnership with Ross Ambrose, naming it after the original name for Tasmania in Australia, where Ambrose hails from.

Over the past four decades, Firman and Van Diemen have enjoyed immense success in Formula Ford, producing chassis for the majority of the category’s front-running teams.

Although Van Diemen International was taken over by the Elan Motorsport Technologies group in 2002, it is still inherently linked to Norfolk as the company’s manufacturing facility is located within Snetterton’s grounds.