While most of Africa was unable to develop motor racing, in the first half of the 20th century South Africa had the stability and financial means to support the sport although the first events did not take place until 1934 when a track in East London - called the Prince George circuit - was laid out in the outskirts of the city. It was 15 miles long and the first South African Grand Prix was won there by Whitney Straight in a Maserati. The track was shortened to 11 miles but was used again between 1936 and 1939.
In the same period there were other events in Johannesburg - where the Rand Grand Prix began in 1937 - and in Cape Town where the Grosvenor House company funded an event on a 4.5-mile road circuit at Pollsmoor. The 1937 Grosvenor Grand Prix was won by Ernst Von Delius in an AutoUnion and in 1938 by Earl Howe at the wheel of an ERA. The outbreak of World War II stopped all racing activity and it was not until the late 1950s that racing revived with events being held at tracks at Gunner's Circle in Cape Town, Grand Central in Johannesburg and on the Roy Hesketh circuit in Pietermaritzburg. The first of a new generation of racing circuits was established in 1959 at East London.
The 2.43-mile circuit incorporated sections of the old pre-war track but was set in a natural amphitheater in a park beside the ocean. The first modern South African GP took place there in 1960 and was run to Formula Libre regulations - as racing cars were scarce - but in 1962 the South Africans won a place as the finale for the Formula 1 World Championship. East London would host the event until 1966 (the final race being a non-championship one).
This circuit is in fact still used almost every 3 weeks for various types of Motorsport. The full circuit is used for Regional, National and Invitational International track racing, whereas the "complex" as it has become known from Gate bend to the sweep is used for Karting and for "Supermotard" (On/off track Motorcycles).
The track is 8.34 metres wide with a very fast straight in which there are two very high speed kinks - Potters Pass and Rifle - both of which are taken at speeds of over 125mph on most Cars and Motorcycles resulting in a terminal speed of around 175mph before braking for Cocobana at the end of the straight.
ORIGINAL"MARINE DRIVE CIRCUIT" 1934; "PRINCE GEORGE CIRCUIT" 1936-1939; HISTORIC S.A. GRAND PRIX CIRCUIT SINCE 1959.
The current "long circuit" currently hosts Club, Regional and National Motor / Motorcycle Road Racing in all categories, Go-Kart, Super Moto, Drifting and Drag racing within the complex and is therefor a crucial and extremely valuable motorsport venue for the local region.
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Time Zone : (GMT +2:00) Kaliningrad, South Africa
Circuit Length : 2.43 miles
Turns : 8; 6 R 2 L
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