Bedford Autodrome is based just north of Bedford, England, in The Village of Thurleigh. It is owned by former Formula One driver Jonathan Palmer.
It is built on the northern section of the former site of the Royal Aerospace Establishment, Bedford airbase and took five years to convert to a track using the latest in track laying techniques to provide a quiet and smooth surface. It was designed to be driven by high performance road cars and as such has larger than usual run off areas and does not have sections of Armco safety barriers which would potentially damage a car seriously if it left the track. Because the track has no Armco it is not eligible to hold races there or have an area for spectators because of the inability to ensure their safety.
Thurleigh Museum is a small museum located within the Bedford Autodrome complex. The museum itself is housed in one of the few remaining buildings on the original airfield built during World War II. The museum is primarily concerned with World War II and the history of the airfield rather than the village. A collection of artifacts has been assembled to re-create the activities and atmosphere of the airfield and surrounding area during the war years. The museum is supported and funded by the 306th Bombardment Group.
2012 Olympics And Paralympics:
The Bedford Autodrome has been selected as an official training site for the 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics. The venue will accommodate road cycling teams training for the event, and will complement various other training sites in the Bedford area. The Maldives National Olympic Committee will base its competing athletes in Bedford, while Paralympic athletes from Angola, the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, The Gambia, Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire, Jamaica, Lesotho, Morocco, Niger, Pakistan, Senegal, Tunisia and Uganda will also be based in the area. With the exception of Weymouth (which will host various sailing events) Bedford will accommodate more Olympic teams in 2012 than any other town or borough in the UK.