The History of Santa Pod & Drag Racing
The Home of European Drag Racing "The Fastest Motorsport on Earth!
Santa Pod is the most famous drag racing track outside America, attracting the best drivers and race teams in European Drag Racing. Affectionately known as the 'POD', Santa Pod is the place to race!
Few motorsport venues can offer such thrilling 'close to the action' viewing and with over 35 different events there's a real emphasis on family entertainment.
Tucked away in the corner of Northwest Bedfordshire is one of the most famous racetracks in the world - Santa Pod Raceway.
Santa Pod has earned a reputation as the European home of drag racing, a motorsport which features the most powerful car and motorcycle engines in the world. Yet the sport is not widely understood beyond its substantial and dedicated global following.
Drag racing’s forerunners were the American hot rodders of the 1930s who raced their creations against the clock across the dry lake beds of Southern California. Post-war, a hot-rodding craze spread across America, only this time the new young adherents measured their stripped-down, souped-up machines against one another in illegal head-to-head contests on public highways, often between traffic lights along a local road, or ‘drag’. Efforts to move these activities to safer, legal locations – notably war-surplus airfields – were the genesis of an organised sport.
Drag racing was brought to Britain in the 1960s, also using airfield sites. In 1966, a disused wartime USAAF base in north Bedfordshire was converted into Europe’s first permanent drag racing venue, Santa Pod Raceway – ‘Santa’ to evoke the spirit of Southern California, ‘Pod’ for Podington, the name of the airfield and nearby village.
Since then the name Santa Pod Raceway has become synonymous with the sport of drag racing on this side of the Atlantic. Nowadays the venue hosts multiple events throughout the year, ranging from the FIA/FIM European Championships to ‘Run What Ya Brung’ public track days when anyone with a valid driving licence can put their own vehicle and skills to the test.