THE biggest crowd in almost two decades turned out to watch Knockhill Racing Circuit's Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship round for 2023 during a "really good year" for the venue.

However, bosses at Scotland's national motorsport centre are working to continue to improve their offering for customers and spectators in 2024, which marks the 50th anniversary of its opening.

Director of events, Stuart Gray, has said that Knockhill have to strive to deliver the "best possible events" to reflect the commitment of those who travel from across Scotland to support them.

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The BTCC, in which Kelty's Ronan Pearson, and fellow Fifer, Rory Butcher, were two of four Scottish drivers on the grid, was backed in huge numbers, as was the circuit's other yearly flagship event, the Bennetts British Superbike Championship.

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A packed year of events also included a successful Supertruck Scotland show, and the annual live action fireworks, which brought the curtain down on 2023.

"We're delighted with 2023. We were still experiencing the bounce back after Covid in 2021, 2022 was really full-on, as was this year because of the lag effect with everybody who had bought vouchers and driving experiences, and they couldn't redeem them during the Covid years," Stuart said.

"That was still happening this year, so it's been exceptionally busy for the business.

"Undoubted highlights again were the two main events of Superbikes and touring cars. With touring cars, for those who were here, they would remember that it was an epic event because of the epic weather that we experienced. We had everything from a dry race, a dry race that went wet, and then a wet race of huge measures to round off the day.

"Remarkably, despite how extreme the weather was, everyone stayed to the end because it was such a captivating and riveting event. The weather was almost irrelevant.

"They're two great events it was the best crowd that we've had in almost two decades for this year's touring cars. We've not had that kind of crowd since the super touring era of the late 90s and early 2000s.

"We're probably our hardest critic. We need to try and keep things as fresh, exciting, new and entertaining as possible, because it's a big commitment to come here, if you're coming from Glasgow, Dundee, Perth or Aberdeen, which is our footprint.

"It's not like you're going to your local circuit that's 20 minutes away - our footfall come from Inverness, Aberdeen, the Borders, Ayrshire. That is our customer base, so it puts added pressure on, and rightly so, to deliver the best possible events because people are making a big commitment to not just pay to get in, but they've actually travelled one, two, sometimes three hours to get here and to go home.

"It's got to reflect that commitment from the spectators, so that's what we always try and do."

Of other events that were held in 2023, Stuart continued: "We knew it would be good, but one of the events that really ticked so many boxes, and will continue to do so, was Supertruck Scotland at the end of August.

"Internally, we had aimed for 200 trucks in our first year, plus lots of other entertainment - a Formula One car, a stunt driver, drag, drift and bikes, and lots of family entertainment - but we got about 30 per cent more trucks than we expected. We're anticipating 400 for 2024, and there'll be a class for trucks from 1974, 50 year old trucks, continuing the anniversary theme.

Dunfermline Press: The Supertruck Scotland event was also a highlight of the venue's year.The Supertruck Scotland event was also a highlight of the venue's year. (Image: Knockhill Racing Circuit.)

"It was a really good year, with the finale being the sold-out fireworks.

"It's unique, the fact that there's four hours of live action, culminating in the fireworks with live action at the same time. It's just a 'wow' event, and a great way to sign off the year.

We've already had a meeting with the company that deliver that event for us with the fireworks, Edinburgh 21CC Fireworks Company, and we've already agreed an increased amount of fireworks and a laser show.

"There's new elements being added all the time and you've got to, to keep it fresh, keep it new and exciting, because it's as fun and entertaining for us working here as it is for the visitors as well."