McLaren dreams up its own home race, in Woking!

Every race team has its home race, but McLaren is going a step further with a wild plan to bring F1 into its own backyard.

Let’s cut to the chase. The Woking International Circuit idea by McLaren is about as ambitious as it is absurd. But we love it!

Did the project spring out of a fertile mind sitting behind a desk at the McLaren Technology Center on a rainy day swamped in boredom? Was it a crazy, bold, tongue-in-cheek bet stirred up between co-workers at the cafeteria?

Regardless of how it sprung to life, the plan includes an 18-turn track racing around Woking’s commercial, residential and industrial areas.

A bit like Monaco and Singapore you say? Well, almost, but not quite…

McLaren Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Neale is over-enthusiastic about the wacky idea.

  • McLaren boss Zak Brown in the victory lane!

“Why not? Why not bring Formula 1 to the streets of Woking? Obviously, aside from the huge social and financial commitment needed to set up the infrastructure, re-profile roads, re-lay Tarmac, fit miles of Armco, build grandstands, pay for race-hosting fees and gain approval and sign-off from the FIA, we don’t see any barriers to our vision.

“In an era that’s often seen as being hemmed in by bureaucracy and narrow-mindedness, that’s actually very refreshing.”

The project has long been the brainchild of McLaren, which initially conceived the idea back in 1998, when it ran Mika Hakkinen’s world championship-winning Formula 1 car through the Woking streets to considerable acclaim.

“It was Mika who first raced a Formula 1 McLaren around the streets of Woking, way back in 1998,” says Zak Brown.

“When I say ‘raced’, he wasn’t actually racing it, he was driving it. Slowly. Which was probably an even tougher test for Mika, because he never drove anything slowly.

“Still, that event lit a spark that started a fire that turned into a dream that we converted into an idea: to host a round of the Formula 1 world championship on our doorstep, in Woking.”

Could the idea launch a new concept of home races for Formula 1? How about a race on the streets of Maranello, or Stuttgart, or Milton Keynes?

Chase Carey are you listening? 

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