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Elvington (York, North Yorkshire)

An image of Elvington (York, North Yorkshire)

Track Information

RAF Elvington is an airfield and racetrack based just outside of York in Yorkshire, approximately five miles from the centre of York itself. Elvington airbase was developed in 1941 as a part of operations during the Second World War. The base was used by RAF Halifax bombers and the Free French Air Force as they fought in the war. 11 Halifax Bombers performed the first operation from the base in 1943, flying from Elvington to Lorient, France. A number of operations took place from the Yorkshire base up until the end of the war with squadrons sent on bomb and mine dropping missions amongst others.

Experience Mad offers a variety of experience days from the popular track including junior driving experiences, supercar driving thrills and rally driving tasters. This could be your chance to step into some of the world’s fastest cars and drive them on this admired racing track. Cars available include Ferraris, Aston Martins, Lamborghinis and even an Ariel Atom.

Experience Mad offers two different types of race experience at Elvington, utilising both the large runway and the circuit track dependent on the experience you pick. The runway is used for speed, as you pick your favourite supercar and race it to its limit down the 3000 meter stretch. The race circuit is the most popular racing experience available at Elvington, allowing you to race on expansive straights and negotiate twisting corners to give you the experience of being a real racing driver.

The track is set out to include part of the runway in a long thin shape but the redesign of the perimeter road has seen the introduction of corners and chicanes, marked out at different intervals around the circuit. The track can vary in length from 1.5 miles to 1.8 miles depending on the route the track instructor advises you to drive during your experience day. The shorter ‘experience’ circuit is most often used during experience days, with the 1.8 mile ‘track’ circuit used for special events.

One of the big plusses to this track is the run off area that runs along the circuit. This allows you to take the circuit with added speed without fear of crashing into a wall or skidding on grass. Instead, if you miss the turning or run off the track you will simply find more tarmac. This will allow you to turn the car back onto the track and try again until you drive the perfect race! It makes this course popular with newer drivers as the track is safer. The challenging corners and sheer speed of the circuit also makes the track great for pros too so you will be able to enjoy the experience day regardless of the level of your driving ability.

Due to the location of the track the noise level is limited to 99db but this should not impact on your race experience day as the instructors are well aware of the parameters and cars have been handpicked for you to enjoy without breaking the noise limit.

The runway of the track begins your lap as it makes up one of the longer straights as you accelerate at speed along the stretch of runway. Corners are marked out along the runway and at the runways tip you will have to turn right to pick up the old perimeter road. This turn is almost immediately followed by a left, and then another right turn as the track bends through a chicane before accelerating out and round to the straight opposite the runway.

Halfway along this straight is the tracks second chicane where a left turn curves into a sharp right turn, it is then a short burst to the final corner, a sweeping right handed bend that takes you to the base of the runway where your lap will then begin again.

The track is simple in design but excellent fun as it is full of long stretches where you will be able to floor your supercar whilst the two chicanes will test your car’s handling to the limit. Obviously the flying experiences cannot take place alongside the racing experiences, as both use a part of the runway, therefore experiences cannot be combined at this location.


The facilities at Elvington airfield itself are currently quite limited with only basic amenities offered on the site. This includes toilets and vending machines. There is also the experience day office where your race day will begin as you check in and get introduced to the cars you will be driving. The office is indoors so shelter is available on days with bad weather. Secure parking is also available to leave your car once you arrive for your experience day.

The Yorkshire Air Museum is also based at the airfield. Here you will be able to take a greater look at the history of the air base and even look at some of the planes that have been housed at this location over the years.

The museum has a full range of facilities, including a restaurant and toilets, which are available for use during your experience day. If you wish to have a meal before or after your experience then this would be the nearest place to do so. There is also a shop within the museum where you will be able to purchase snacks and memorabilia from your day. Entrance to the museum is £7 for adults with reduced prices for children (children under five enter for free) and this entry fee has to be paid even if you are only going to use the restaurant.

The entry fee includes a look around the museum to enhance your day. You may feel that it is more cost effective to bring a packed lunch to your experience day to save paying on the entry fee though.


Spectators are more than welcome during racing days and there is a designated area that spectators are allowed to watch their friend or relative during the experience day. However, this is outside and may not be ideal in adverse weather conditions. There is no indoor space that is available for spectators to be able to view the track from. It may be worth bringing an umbrella or waterproofs during winter months if you still want to be a spectator during the experience day.

Nearby Restaurants/Hotels

York is only five miles from Elvington airfield and is full of shops, hotels and restaurants. It is also a popular tourist attraction with plenty to do. Closer to the circuit there are hotels that contain restaurants that may be a good place to stop for a bite to eat before your journey home. The town of Elvington is on the doorstep of the airfield and has small village shops and facilities as well as a number of take away restaurants if you are looking for a bite to eat on your way home. The Elvington airfield website gives a list of accommodation and hotels closest to the circuit.


At the end of the Second World War Elvington airbase was rebuilt to cater for a B-47 aircraft for the United States Air Force. The large plane was designed to drop nuclear bombs and the US Army stationed one at Elvington to combat the Soviet Union with nuclear weapons if needed. A large runway was needed, making Elvington perfect. In the end the B-47 was never used but the US Air Force was based at Elvington for a number of years, ready to respond to any nuclear threat made.

The Elvington runway remains as a reminder of this rebuild and is over 3,000 metres long, one of the longest in the country, and as such is still used for many air displays, experience days, vehicle testing and was once designated as a landing area for NASAs Shuttle Spacecraft should an emergency landing be needed. Police forces from all over the county are also taught how to drive for emergency situations at the base.

As with many airfields after the war, Elvington was slightly redeveloped once the threat of war was over. Following the withdrawal of the US Air Force the airbase was altered for more commercial uses and a racing track was developed using the perimeter road of the runway. The development proved to be a success as the airfield is now used weekly for racing experience days and even plays host to the odd professional race weekend throughout the year. The base continued to be used for Army purposes as a location for training RAF pilots until 1992 when the RAF relinquished control and the base was used solely for racing and experience day purposes.

The current UK Land Speed Record was set at Elvington in 2006 when the large runway was used by Colin Farrows and his Vampire car to set an average speed record of 301 mph, and he reached a top speed of 331 mph during the test. Elvington is also the infamous site where Richard Hammond sustained severe injuries when he crashed a Vampire jet car whilst testing the vehicle for an episode of Top Gear on the expansive runway.


Experiences at Elvington (York, North Yorkshire)

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