Archive for the ‘Track Maps of the Past’ Category

1950 Silverstone Map

Silverstone Track Map 1950

You can clearly see Silverstone’s history in this 1950 map of the circuit. That triangle of runways so typical of RAF Class-A airbases during the second World War is clearly evident. Even if you’re familiar with the many changes at Silverstone over the years, the start/finish position is defining characteristic for this period between ’49 and ’51 before it was relocated to between Woodcote and Copse.

There is more than the track itself to point to the era on this map. The “buffets” identified on the map conjures images of something more than a beer and pretzel tent. I’m also mildly surprised to see a “missing persons” tent, which I wouldn’t have thought would have come into play until much later, corresponding with the shorter leash that people tend to keep on kids with each generation.

And that lettering(!): hand-rendered but striving for draftsman’s perfection. The detailing surrounding the Silverstone titling is reason enough to covet this thing and is reminiscent of vintage stock certificate lettering or book title pages or bank notes. Wonderful.

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Race Tracks in Scale Proves How Mighty the 'Ring is

Race Tracks in Scale

Redditor SirDunny posted a few (North and South) American track maps in scale a few days ago, but this update to include great racing circuits from around the world proves one thing fairly handily: The Nürburgring is not to be messed with. Only Pike’s Peak and La Sarthe even come close to the grandeur of the ‘Ring.

Imagine now if we lived in a world that could include the Mille Miglia or Targa Florio on this illustration. It only highlights that, as important as the Nürburgring is—and how vital it is that we save it—it is only the last best reminder of what racing courses once were.

SirDunny has made prints available at RedBubble.

More info on the Reddit thread.
via Save the Ring

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Track Maps of the Past: Monzanapolis

Monzanapolis Track Map 1958

There’s some fascinating things happening in this track map created for the 1958 “Race of Two Worlds” event at Monza. Unofficially dubbed “Monzanapolis” for the event, the race was a battle between American USAC speedway machines typically seen at Indianapolis versus European road racing machines. Because the race used only the banked oval portion of Monza’s fabulous double loop “combined” configuration (and it ran in the opposite direction), the event required it’s own map. They really outdid themselves with this one.

Not only does it show the track from above, there is also fantastic details like the cross sections of the banking, (this was where I learned that the North and South banking were so different) and an attempt to demonstrate the elevation change in the track (highly unconventional on a speedway).

I usually lean towards the freehand illustrated maps so commonly seen in CalClub and SCCA event programs, but this professionally drafted map is so rich in detail that I absolutely adore it.

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Paramount Ranch

Paramount Ranch Track MapI typically take this opportunity to ramble on tearily reminisce over the hand illustrated aesthetic of vintage track maps that seems to be lost in the modern era. After all, it’s easier to output a quick render or line art from the track designer’s plans and call it done. Rarely would we think today of commissioning an artist to illustrate a custom map for an event program.

Today, though, I want to focus on something else happening in this image scanned from a Paramount Ranch program. A recent design movement has made me think that all may not be lost; and it’s the wonderful handwritten lettering on this map that helped me notice it. In the past couple of years there has been an enormous resurgence in hand lettering throughout all levels of design.

Why in the age of digital typesetting, when even the most amateur computer user has dozens of fonts at their fingertips, would the professional hand letterer be back in demand? Because it has soul. There’s something behind that ever-so-slightly-wiggly hand lettered headline that hints at a humanity and a playfulness that you just don’t get from perfectly set Helvetica Neue Light. Why couldn’t it also be so for hand drafters or illustrators? This map has soul.

We’ve seen maps from Paramount Ranch before and my sentiment remains exactly the same… Just look at that tunnel.

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Track Map of the Past: la Carrera Pinar del Rio

1956 Carrera Pinar del Rio Program

Courtesy of our friend Mandy Alvarez is this track map of Cuba’s answer to the Mille Miglia or Carrera Panamericana, the Carrera Pinar del Rio: A race to Havana from Pinar del Rio 115 miles away.

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Track Map of the Past: the Ring

Nurburgring mapWith the future of the Nürburgring in some doubt these days, let’s hope that this map is still good for another 86 years.

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Re-Building Meadowdale

Meadowdale Blueprints

Then again, if our earlier Meadowdale post has you particularly inspired. You could just cut to the chase and buy this available copy of the original blueprints for the track. Grab a few friends, a few shovels, a bulldozer or two, and a whole lot of asphalt. Call me when you’re done.

Illustration of Meadowdale's Monza WallIf contemporary blueprints had more of these charming illustrations in the corners, we might be able to get more interesting work through planning boards.

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Track Map of the Past: Grand Prix Automobile de Pau

Forgive the less than stellar scan of this circuit map for 1933’s inaugural running of the Gran Prix de Pau. Despite the poor resolution, you can see one of the elements I love in old track maps: the small illustrations of nearby buildings and landmarks. The elegantly hand lettered labels and arrows only help accentuate the glory of that little town illustration on the left side of the map.

Playing with points of view is something that seems to have gone away in contemporary track map design, but it’s common in the earlier maps we’ve featured. Having a top-down view of the track alongside isometric scenery illustration seems so illogical when I imagine it, but when I see the results on paper it works perfectly well. Compare to this map of the contemporary Pau map and join me in mourning (Even though it’s pretty good by contemporary track map design standards).

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Broadcast Map of the Past: Brands Hatch

This track map pulled from the Castrol Book of the European Grand Prix has a fascinating feature that I’ve not seen on any other track map: The location of the BBC Cameras recording the event. Five cameras (and a helicopter) seems almost hilariously insufficient when we consider today’s abundant camera angles of most tracks, but in 1964 it was a struggle to get even this level of coverage.

Since this is from a Castrol book, the oil company was playing up its own efforts in filming the race, with a substantial section of the booklet describing the effort to capture the race; apparently with more cameras than the BBC was using for the broadcast.

Castrol wasn’t just locking their efforts away either, this line concludes the description of the filming: “if you belong to a motor club and would like to see the results of their work, ask the Secretary to reserve a print of the film for showing to you and your fellow members.” The notion of reserving a print of the race film to be enjoyed later by motor club members sitting around the film projector—weeks or months after the race—is utterly fantastic.

Gathering friends to watch a months-old motor race seems ridiculous today, but there’s something reverent and respectable about the scenario that I love. Rather than just tuning in to the live broadcast to see who wins, it’s an honoring of the event; like a football coach re-watching reels of previous games again and again. It’s not watching the race, it’s studying the race.

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Watkins Glen 1948

Even though this scan isn’t particularly well done, you can still see the charm in this circuit map from Watkin Glen’s 1948 layout.

Every purpose-built racing course has a few named features: Eau Rouge or Corkscrew or Karussel. None of these, though, will ever be as charming as “School House Corner” or “Archy Smith Corner” or “White House S”. There’s something.. I don’t know.. adorable about these street course featured named after the farmer who’s house marks a turn.

Beyond that, I just love this illustration style. As I browse old maps of all varieties, I’m always impressed with how these maps draw the viewer in to the experience and provoke daydreams of strolling down these illustrated streets.

They may not be as accurate or informative as today’s more utilitarian map aesthetic, but they sure are a more notable artistic achievement.

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