Southwell to be first European racecourse to utilise LED technology

Credit: gabriel12, Shutterstock

When racing commences at Southwell Racecourse this Saturday, it will not only usher in a new era of floodlit racing at the venue, it will also be the first time a European racecourse has utilised LED technology.

Having opened in 1850, Southwell is one of just six all-weather tracks in Britain, the only one with a fibresand surface, and now operates some of the most the most advanced lighting technology of any racecourse in Europe.

The LED lighting was designed and engineered by industry-leader Musco Sports Lighting, and features the same technology that’s been installed at several English Premier League football stadiums, Manchester Arena, and Wimbledon’s Centre Court, in just the past few years.

Jeff Rogers, President of Musco World commented: “We’ve successfully lit other racecourses in the U.K. but this is the first one using LED technology, and we’re fairly certain it’s the first one anywhere in the world.

“The team at ARC was outstanding to work with. They had very clear objectives from the start, which included achieving the best possible on-track light quality and visibility, avoiding glare, eliminating spill light outside the venue, being energy efficient, and creating an exciting new experience for spectators. We take a lot of pride in being their partner in the project, and are confident that everyone at Southwell will enjoy the results.”

The system was customised to meet the distinct needs at Southwell. It includes 641 of Musco’s Total Light Control fixtures, mounted to 56 poles, providing high-quality lighting to the track, photo finish area, track egress, stables, parade ring, and car park. Adaptive controls and multi-level dimming will allow the racecourse to fully light only the sections of track being used for each race, which can vary from five furlongs to two miles, resulting in significant energy savings.

With industry-leading, patented light control technology, the LED system distributes clean, uniform light only to the intended areas around the track without spilling into the centre course, stands, or outside of the venue. The lighting also features special effects capabilities that will create innovative pre-race and post-race light shows, enhancing the overall racecourse experience for everyone in attendance.

Executive Director of Southwell Racecourse, Mark Clayton, added: “When the decision was taken to install floodlights at Southwell, we were determined to make sure that the technology was top of the range, and we’ve been delighted to work with Musco to deliver this system.  It provides fantastic light to the track, whilst minimising any light spill to any other area, which was a major objective of the project.

“Feedback from jockeys who have ridden under the lights so far has been fantastic, and we’re very much looking forward to welcoming a bumper crowd on Saturday to be a part of the big switch on.”

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