MONDELLO PARK 1968 - Present
Mondello Park is the only Motor Racing circuit in the Republic of Ireland and was opened in 1968. Prior to the opening of the circuit all racing in Ireland had taken place on closed public roads but with safety becoming a big issue the days of the street circuit were numbered and with the demise of the last track at Dunboyne a permanent circuit was badly required.
The original 1.28km (0.8 mile) layout lasted for just one year before the track was extended to 1.6km (1.2 miles) for the start of the 1969 season. The circuit hosted European F5000 events in its early years and attracted massive crowds for its international events but took a few years to build a local competitor base. With the arrival of the budget Formula Ford class in the seventies local interest began to grow and the track produced some of Irelands best ever talents with the likes of Derek Daly, David Kennedy and Bernard Devaney going on to make a name for themselves Internationally. All three now have corners named after them at the circuit.
The circuit ran into financial difficulties in the eighties and was rescued from closure when sold by the original owners to a consortium of Motor Clubs and the Royal Irish Automobile Club. UK based Irish businessman and Motor Sport enthusiast Martin Birrane later stepped in to purchase the circuit from the consortium and the track was then run by a number of different franchise holders. Through the eighties and nineties Mondello hosted the EFDA Euroseries for FF2000 and then Formula Opel cars as well as being visited by many of the top British club championships, such as Donington GT’s, Thundersaloons and TVR Tuscans. The track also hosted British and European championship motorcycle races.
With the venue now well established the aim for Mondello was to attract more International events and as the first step towards this the circuit was extended to 3.5km (2.2 miles) in 1998. The new International track was opened with a round of the EuroBOSS series for recent Formula One cars. To facilitate further development of the circuit Martin Birrane took over day to day control of the management of the circuit from the last franchise holder in 2000. A programme of improvements was put in place, designed to attract the likes of the British Touring Car Championship and more importantly, due to the growing popularity of motorcycle racing in Ireland, the British Superbike championship.
The circuit development was completed in 2001 with the arrival of a pit garage and hospitality suite complex, a larger, all tarmac, paddock and a state of the art control tower and medical centre. Re-surfacing work in 2005 and the on-going upgrading of spectator banks, track, circuit drainage and facilities have transformed the circuit from a popular club racing venue to an internationally recognised motor sport facility. Since 2000 Mondello Park has staged a round of the FIA Sports Car Championship, run a European championship historic racing event, hosted the BTCC, British GT and Formula 3 series and is the only overseas venue to ever feature on the British Superbike Championship calendar.
Mondello Park is constantly growing and diversifying and its current calendar includes car, Motorcycle, Rallycross Drifting and Time Attack events. The circuit also operates a very busy Motor Racing School alongside corporate days, team building, 4x4 courses and Motor Manufacturer training and driving days.