Croft Circuit, located in the North East of England close to Darlington, became a major motorsport venue having been used firstly as a relief landing ground during the Second World War, before the arrival of the Canadian RAF led to it playing an important role in raids on Germany.
Having fallen into disuse following the war, Croft was eventually turned into a race circuit in the 1960s, hosting its first race in 1964. Quickly, the circuit became a firm fixture on the national and international stage, with Damon Hill, James Hunt, Nikki Lauda and Barry Sheene amongst those to race in the North East.
However, competition from Southern circuit saw Croft close its doors to circuit racing in 1981 to focus instead on RallyCross, and played host to the FIA Inter-Nations Cup in both 1987 and 1990 – attracting bumper crowds in the process.
The decision was then taken to bring tarmac racing back to the venue and by 1995, Croft was once more playing host to club level events on both two wheels and four.
In 1997, the circuit underwent major development work to extend the lap to little over 2.1 miles and install a new pit and paddock complex with the British Touring Car Championship arriving for the first time that season. Although heavy rain played havoc with the event, the BTCC has remained a firm fixture ever since, with British Superbikes, F3 and GT racing all featuring on a yearly basis. Croft also continues to host leading Rallycross events as well as the annual Croft Stages rally.
The venue is currently at risk following complaints from a local family complaining about noise from the circuit, which has led to a limit being imposed on circuit use and a court case which has threatened the long-term stability of the venue.