Testing times at the Track

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The Brooklands circuit very quickly proved highly satisfactory for some of the purposes it was built for, such as testing cars, tyre trials, duration runs or just for unfettered speed.

S F Edge was the first person to use Brooklands as a test track, before the first race meeting in 1907, with his 24-hour non-stop run at 60mph in a Napier. Early in 1908 many important records were attempted, starting with the attempt to break the World 50-mile flying-start record by Tryon in Edge’s 60hp Napier which he exceeded by 3mph averaging 79.44mph. By the end of that year Newton in a Napier covered the half-mile at 119.34mph.

That year also saw The Cadillac Interchangeability Test, where three brand-new single-cylinder Cadillac cars were stripped and their parts mixed up before being used to reassemble them. Even with the lock-up having been flooded and the parts covered in red rust, all three cars were successfully reassembled and restarted first time and ran reliably on the Track. Another test was of the 80hp de Dietrich of Charles Jarrott & Letts, which was to be entered in the St Petersburg-Moscow event, to prove the suspension would be adequate for the Russian roads. Even a dust-laying competition was held with useful results. The 2000-Mile Trial finished at Brooklands with timed runs. There was a private speed test by two Rolls-Royce cars that had completed the 2000-Mile Trial, the fastest of which averaged 65.90mph for 20 laps. Daimler also used the track to test their Knight sleeve-valve engine which was to be used in the 1909 2000-Mile Trial.

Before the Track closed for the winter, S F Edge carried out some scientific acceleration and tyre tests, also a wind-drag experiment using screens higher than his head on a Napier chassis. Even aerodynamics began at Brooklands!