The history of Thurleigh Airfield can be traced back to the autumn of 1940, when it was used as a base for bomber aircraft in WWII. In September 1942 personnel of the 306th Bombardment Group moved in and remained until autumn 1945. A memorial to those who served stands proudly in Thurleigh village.
Post war, aviation was seen to offer great commercial and technological opportunity and powerful wind tunnels were built on a site above the village of Milton Ernest to meet the challenge of supersonic flight. With the acquisition of additional land to the east, a custom-built flight test facility was constructed on the existing war-time Thurleigh airfield. Flying re-commenced in 1954 and research at Thurleigh led world aviation development in many areas including aircraft control and handling, supersonic transport development (Concorde) and military vertical take-off and landing (Harrier).
The venue was totally rebuilt as a corporate driving facility in 1999 by Jonathan Palmer’s MotorSport Vision Group and has since played host to hundreds of thousands of guests on the legendary PalmerSport event. In 2010, seventy years after its original inception, the new Bedford Aerodrome facility was opened alongside the circuits.