Rockingham is the newest circuit in the UK. It was originally built at a cost of £51M, to attract American style racing and has, in the past, hosted rounds of Champ Car and CART, although it now relies on home-grown racing such at BTCC to fill its thousands of seats.
The circuit has various layouts. For this guide we will focus on the International and the National, the two most commonly used on track days. One thing that is worth remembering about Rockingham, is that in the wet it is one of the slippiest circuits in the UK, so although there is extensive run-off extra care should be taken in the wet.
The first corner has changed recently, with the chicane no longer being used for most days. So, turn one is now the first corner of the oval. The turn-in point for this is a black line painted vertically on the banking wall. The apex is late and just after there is quite a big bump in the road. From this point, run out to the exit. It is not necessary to run right up to the wall. Braking for the hairpin that follows is straightforward and is a simple slow in, fast out corner, although the late apex is tricky to spot from the turn in. Be careful on the exit not to run too wide, as there is sleeping policeman just beyond the white line. From here there is a short steep downhill run to Yentwood (also known as Alfies). A late turn in and a tight apex here is key to a good exit. There is lots of room on the exit, to let the car run out too.
The circuit then climbs steeply uphill towards Chapman curve, the braking point for which is just after the crest and the turning point just after that. The apex is a long way around the corner. Because of this, the approach to Pif Paf is much easier as you will already be on the right-hand side. The turn-in point is visible just off the track, in line with the marshals' box on your right-hand side. The apex is just on the kerb and is easy to spot, then let the car run out towards the escape road. The turning in point for the long left hander should come into sight just after the end of the escape road. The apex for the left-hander is just after the infield access road and from this point the exit will be visible. You should aim to let the car run all the way out to the kerb on your right. The circuit then climbs steeply uphill to Gracelands. The turn point seems impossibly late, but from the turn in it becomes apparent why. From the turn in you can start to pick up the power and build speed all the way through the corner, but be careful over the crest as from this point the circuit begins to fall away quite a lot. Then there is a short straight that leads to the Tarzan hairpin. Again a late turn in and apex is key. On the exit let the car run right out, even using the national circuit pit entrance if needs be. The current version of the International circuit means that you need to bring the car back to the right hand side of the circuit for the chicane that rejoins the oval banking at turn 4. The braking point is at the end of the National pit wall, and the turn opposite the marshals' box. The chicane is very tight and fiddly, with limited run-off, so be cautious. This then brings you back onto the iconic Oval straight and completes a lap of the International GT Circuit.
The National Circuit retains all the best bits of the International and adds a few extra bits, but dispenses with the oval sections. The National circuit is accessed from the pit lane located directly behind the racing school building in the inner paddock. From the pit lane you join the circuit for turn one which has a late turn in from the marshals' box on the left hand side of the circuit. An early apex lets you get back on the power nice and early. Be careful on the exit as the bumpy kerb can unsettle the car. There is a flat right kink that follows and from there move the car back to the left ready for the chicane. The best way to approach the chicane is to turn in early and brake in a straight line into the chicane, and then let the car run out early on the exit; there is a flat kerb that you can run onto. The following corner is a very fast right kink that you need to use to set up for the following fast downhill right, so from the kink get the car back to the left, and gently wind the lock in, maintaining a balanced throttle through the corner, and being aware of the bump at the apex. From here on in the lap is the same as the International GT layout.
Words kindly provided by Jamie Stanley.
International Super Sportscar Circuit
Visual guide of the National circuit by Malcolm Edeson
It is also worth noting that there are only limited refreshment facilities on site.