Circuit Length - 3.660 Miles Corners - 18 Lap Record - 1:30.874 (Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, 2010)
Please Note - Positions of some grandstands may well have changed between now (26/06/2011) to the F1 event.
Abbey is now the first corner of the new Silverstone GP circuit; itâ€™s a very fast right hander which will be taken almost flat out by most cars. Of course, seeing the cars at full throttle is a must for any fan of motorsport. This corner also features the exit of the pit lane.
place to see the cars exit the pits. Positioned just below the banking on the inside of the course is the new pit exit which is actually set below the level of the rest of the circuit bringing a whole new tunnel like element to the course. Itâ€™s a great place to hear the cars really shake the circuit!
Abbey is a fantastic corner for viewing, after the new Silverstone renovations they have now placed a covered grand stand right on the outside of the corner. This is a perfect place to watch the cars fly past, however I would very much recommend going into the viewing bank in front of the grandstand for a much closer experience.
Usually at Abbey the grandstand on the outside of the circuit, as mentioned earlier, is actually a reserved grand stand however it may well be open on various events of the year for the general public to access.
Abbey can also be viewed on the inside of the corner (dependant on the event, this may or may not be available for F1). This is also a spectacular viewing point, not only do you get a great view of the cars as they fly through the corner but is also a great
Interestingly, from the new Abbey area you can also see where the old track used to go, heading off to the left rather than the right and then under the bridge. This old layout is now completely closed off for any form of racing.
FARM CURVE Farm Curve is part of the new complex for Silverstone, only added to the circuit in 2010 as part of the new ‘Arena’ complex. This gentle left hander is taken by the cars again at high speed as the cars rocket towards the first braking point for the new complex. Again, grandstands were in the process of being built at the last major meeting and may well be finished. However, I personally don’t find this corner particularly interesting to watch at. There are easily more interesting corners to watch at around the rest of the circuit. But it might be worth a look if you are in the general area of the Pit/Paddock.
plenty of viewing areas to make sure you see of all of the action too, on the outside section of track there are several grandstands placements on the run-up (and during) the main corners. On the inside of the track there are considerably less viewing opportunities, but if you find yourself As the cars approach the beginning in the Pit/Paddock area then I highly of the Loop they have a brief burst recommend walking along to the of speed before having to brake hard raised banking at the beginning of the into the first right hander of the Loop. Arena complex. It’s a fantastic area Generally the cars may well have to watch from and lets you see the glowing brake discs, or even spit fire cars from ground level. There are also as they enter this first bend. Then the a few gaps in the fence around this cars will have another brief burst of section which can lead to some great acceleration before braking hard again photographs (these may have changed before tackling the sharp left hander. by the time F1 arrive). This can be the scene of many acYou can also view the Loop section cidents as cars loose traction on the exit. The final turn of the Loop sector from the raised banking for Maggotts (Aintree) is usually taken flat out be- & Becketts on the inside of the track; fore leading the cars onto the Welling- this simply shows the scale of this massive Loop section. ton Straight (or National Straight). The entry of The Loop also has the corner now known as ‘Village’, this is a very tight complex which will see the cars reaching the lowest speed across the whole circuit. The Arena is a mixture of hard braking points and almost 180 degree turns.
As you can see this is quite a action packed section of track! There’s also
WELLINGTON STRAIGHT This part of the track is relatively simply, a relatively long straight heading towards the beginning of the old section of track. Although this straight doesnâ€™t have direct viewing points, aside from on the inside of the old pit paddock section. Many people also sit the grass banks on either side of the bridge that crosses the circuit which can provide a great view of the cars thundering down the straight.
BROOKLANDS Brooklands is one of the classic corners that were typically a haven for motorsport fans back at the time of the old layout. Now the start/finish straight have been moved to the other end of the circuit this part of the track is relatively quiet on a club weekend. Typically Brooklands could only be viewed from the dedicated British Racing Drivers Club (BRDC) Grandstand on the inside of the course. This has now changed though and the corner can be viewing from where the old â€˜Bridgeâ€™ GP circuit used to go. A grass verge has been created allowing the spectators to get as close to the cars as possible, this is a must visit area of track in my opinion, it even has a small area with a lower fence (whether this will accessible at F1 and larger events may well be questionable). It is worth a visit around this old section of track and is a relatively short walk from the car parking.
In terms of what the cars going through in this section of track, the previous section of track (National Straight) is a fast section of track, so as the cars enter Brooklands they undergo a huge amount of stress as the cars brake hard to slow down in time. In a similar fashion to the old Abbey section of track and the entry to Stowe the cars may have glowing brakes or even spit flames as they enter this particular corner!
concrete step section which is usually where the photographers stand (as it puts them just about fence height). This is a great viewing area and is very well placed. The other viewing option is the large grandstand at the back of the concrete viewing platform. The grandstands, whilst higher and in the same place, give a completely different atmosphere and also view point of the track. The grandstand allows you Whilst Luffield is still an undoubtedly see much, much further around the popular corner to spectate at, I don’t track. Almost to the extent of seeing feel that it has the same atmosphere the cars as they come off Wellington that it used to have. There are now Straight and then into Brooklands and more interesting corners to spectate finally entering Luffield before leaving at (such as around Arena and the onto what was the old pit straight. It’s other end of the circuit) which can great to see the cars covering such a provide a all round better experience. large section of track, and in the days That said it’s interesting to see the old before the new layout it would have section of track here, it’s difficult to allowed the lucky people in the stands imagine what it would be like at this to have a superb view of the pit stops. corner on one of the Grand Prix’s of old. Luffield was the corner for viewing at Silverstone. This corner was typically the location of hundreds of photographers knowing that this was the best opportunity for them to get the shots that they wanted. This corner would be crowded in hoards of photographers and keen fans alike all wanting to see their favourite cars go around this corner.
Luffield has two main viewing platforms; the first is a ground level
OLD PIT STRAIGHT Although the old pits are relatively deserted now due to the new pits that have been put down at Abbey, the old section is still very interesting and homes some truly classic moments. Along the old pit straight is not only a array of various grandstands, platforms and other ways of seeing the track but also is home to a gravel/stone bank towards the entry to Copse (the next corner), this is a brilliant place to get right down to the high catchment fences and just experience the cars as they fly past before braking hard for Copse. Another element to the old pit straight is simply looking at the old buildings and garages themselves. Whilst they aren’t officially used anymore, support races will house most of their cars in these garages and you’ll probably be able to spot a flurry of activity around them. For keen photographers, there’s a old photo hole in the fence just at the turn in point for Copse, this would
have originally been used by official photographers of the event but can now be accessed by the general public. However it must be said it’s difficult to get the shot through the relatively small gap, also expect it to be surrounded by other F1 fans on the various days of the event. Another point to mention is that the old pit straight, despite its name, isn’t actually a straight piece of track. This can make things slightly more interesting especially standing near to the slight kink in the track, this was also the point where the track used to narrow dramatically however this has now changed to be a wider, more accommodating piece of track for both drivers and spectators alike.
Copse is what used to be the first corner of the old layout before the pit complex was subsequently moved down to the Abbey section of track. Even though the main action has moved a considerable distance away from the old first corner, it doesnâ€™t stop it being a fantastic place for viewing.
are often stepped for easy viewing. This whole corner has numerous grandstands surrounding it and really is superb for watching the first lap, even if it isnâ€™t the starting point anymore.
Another good area to view Copse from is the inside of the circuit, for accessibility there is a tunnel cut through just under the old start pit straight. I highly There are several ways to view this recommend using this to quickly pop fantastic, tight corner. Firstly there over to the infield of the circuit to see are the covered grandstands which give a great high up view of the track, opposite side of Copse. You can also although the you can only seen from walk along this grass bank towards Maggotts & Becketts which is also Luffield up to Copse and then a little worth doing if you donâ€™t want to see bit in Maggotts and Becketts in this the corners from a grand stand perparticular grandstand. My favourite spective. viewing area for Copse is actually ground level and in-front of the main grandstand. There is a small grassed section and provides a perfect viewing area for of the track (despite the large catchment fence). Also around Copse is numerous other hard standing viewing platforms which
MAGGOTTS & BECKETTS These two corners are perhaps Britain’s most famous turns in motorsport. The corners are not only instantly recognisable in terms of shape, but also in name which is rare for any track across the world.
Maggotts and Becketts are two very fast, and very technical corners for the drivers to master. As a spectator these are must see corners. If there is any part of the circuit for drivers to make mistakes, and see the cars on the knife edge, then this is it. Under the new Silverstone redevelopment they’ve actually constructed a new massive grandstand on the outside of the corners. The new grandstand gives a great view of the complex, and you should also be able to see the Arena/ Village section at the same time.
cross the track at underground tunnel at Copse and continue to walk up the grass bank on the left hand-side. Seeing the corner from the inside gives a completely different viewing experience. One word of warning though, Maggotts & Becketts as a driver is a very quick section of track and probably literally takes a driver 20 seconds to navigate, however as a spectator Maggotts & Becketts is a very long section of track. It can take a good 20 minutes or so to walk from Copse to Becketts it’s that large. Television and pictures do not get across the scale of this section of track.
Also worth mentioning in this section is the corner which leads onto the Hangar Straight, this corner is called Chapel and is a small left kink in the track before hitting the straight. DrivThat said Maggotts & Becketts are also ers tend to take this corner flat out great to see on ground level. It gives as the momentum from the previous a real sense of the speeds they enter corners helps to carry them through the corner at and the absolute limit the section. Viewing wise Chapel can the drivers are on. On the outside be viewed from both the Becketts of the course there is various paths grandstand and the grass banking that going along the edge of Maggotts and follows this whole section of track Becketts which give a great close view (however only on the outside of the of the action. Also along the section track). running up to, and along the complex In this section of track the car is beitself are various gate points which may well be open during the GP which ing pushed, very hard. The complex is made up of a flat out left hander give a uncluttered view of the track. before another fast right corner (MagAlso, try checking out some of the marshalling areas. There is one in par- gotts) then finally slamming the brakes ticular on the exit of Beckett’s (usually on for the tighter sweeping right hander (Becketts) which then leads where a recovery vehicle is parked) onto Hangar Straight. Having good that gives a superb photo opportunity of the cars moving past with the brakes in this section is vital, and can new pit building in the distance. It’s a make the difference in running wide or having the perfect line. Frequently superb sight to see. drivers get the line into Maggotts & As mentioned previously you can Becketts wrong, usually leading to a also view Maggotts & Becketts on the spin. It’s certainly a superb corner to inside of the corner. To do this simply spectate at!
HANGAR STRAIGHT Hangar Straight is as the name describes, it’s the longest straight piece of track at Silverstone can see the cars easily topping 150MPH. The straight is called the Hangar Straight due to Silverstone’s airfield based past. Viewing for the straight is essentially very simple, along the outside of the track is a very long grass bank which you can walk along to see the whole straight. About three quarters of the way down Hangar Straight is a bridge that allows you to access the Infield, on the infield side another smaller grandstand can be found which faces towards to the Maggotts & Becketts complex. As mentioned previously Hangar Straight is the quickest and most dangerous section of track, as cars speed down here often side by side often the smallest of error’s can send the cars off into a spin causing massive amounts of damage. A good example of this would be Stefan Mucke’s and
Richard Westbrook’s recent crash along the Hangar Straight at the FIA GT1 World Championship event a few weeks ago. Hangar Straight really is a great place to feel the pure speed of the cars competing, you can almost feel them as they whoosh past at 150MPH +. It’s certainly worth a quick visit at some point during the day.
Stowe is relatively tight 90 degree right hander after the Hangar Straight. It is also now one of the prime spots to watch the action unfold due to its new relation to the start finish stretch, being literally a few corners away. The spectator facilities at Stowe are great; a range of grandstands have been built around the outside of the corner that allow fans a great view of not only Stowe itself, but also Hangar Straight as well as the Vale & Club section of track on the left hand side. As well as the grandstands there is also the ability to watch action from ground level (but of course behind a fence), there are also some interesting angles around this section of the track that are worth checking out. The grandstand itself is actually made of three different sections (Stowe A, B & C) all of which giving a slightly different angle on the track. Generally Iâ€™d say that either B or A are the best ones to visit as they give a great high
view of the track. As a personal preference, I tend to like staying ground level as in my opinion seeing the cars at the same level they are gives a far better experience of what the event is about. There is a marshal post at Stowe which can also provide good viewing. Stowe, as mentioned is technically a very difficult corner for the drivers. Braking hard from the 150MPH+ of the Hangar Straight to around 4050MPH gives a massive strain on the cars brakes. The weather can also play a role here; if the track is wet expect to see the occasional lock-up heading into this corner too.
Vale is the second to last corner of the whole Silverstone circuit; itâ€™s one of the only chicanes on the circuit nowadays compared to the two or three the track used to have. Vale consists of a tight left then a tight right. Vale has undergone a lot of redevelopment over the past year or so, drastically changing the profile of the corner. Recent changes include the addition of a brand new grandstand (although technically it falls upon the straight between Stowe and Vale, but provides a excellent view of both bits of track. However, my favourite new viewing area of Vale is again ground level. The old style chicane at Vale has been filled in (in a similar fashion to that of the old Bridge GP track leading into Brooklands). This means that as a spectator you can get right down into the mix of things. This massive grass verge going from Stowe to Vale provides some spectacular view points of the cars as they go through their
various stages. My favourite is just at the braking point for the entry of Vale, hearing the cars on the downshift is something that I wonâ€™t forget. Then of course seeing them manoeuvre themselves around the Vale chicane is a chance to see the cars at one of the slowest points on the circuit. Another way to view Vale is to stand on the old concrete car parking section of the track, (to the left handside of the grandstand and above the grass banking). This gives a elevated view of the track allowing you to see the cars come through the approach and of course the corner itself. Something else interesting to look for at the Vale section is the entry to the pit lane which is right near the entrance to Vale. During the various sessions across the weekend youâ€™ll see cars darting off into the pit lane, but more on the pit lane in a minute.
Club is the final corner of the Silverstone circuit; it’s a very shallow right hander which can be taken flat out by the drivers (although they often run wide here). The new Club has to be one of the most spectator friendly corners on the whole circuit, a range of grandstands have been placed along the outside of the corner coupled with some smaller ground level viewing areas. The most recognisable grandstand of them all is the new ‘Silverstone’ grandstand (so-called as the grandstand has Silverstone written in it) this provides a brilliant view of not only the Club/Vale but also the long pit straight. As mentioned previously, the pit lane is also a superb place to watch (if possible) on the infield of the circuit you can access a grass bank allowing people to see the pit lane entry and of course Club/Vale from the inside of the track. There are no grandstands currently in this location but the grass
bank provides a really good view of the pit lane and the corners. I particularly love how you can walk literally straight up to the high catchment fence and hear the roar of the cars as they thunder towards the pit lane limiter line. An interesting element to the new pit lane is how long the run-up is, it allows the cars to almost treat it as a extended straight (from Stowe to the pits) braking very hard just before the limiter. It’s a truly amazing experience to stand there as the cars come flying past.
PIT STRAIGHT This is the final straight before the start/finish. Across this whole section of track thereâ€™s a variety of grandstands which allow fans to have a good view of not only the start and finish (and obviously the grid walk) but also the pits themselves. Itâ€™s definitely somewhere to check out if you like to see the busy pit lane action which happens around the paddock.
PIT & PADDOCK As a guide to Silverstone I simply can’t ignore the Pit/Paddock, even if at F1 I’m not sure if you’ll be able to access it. The pit paddock, as a general warning, is a long way from any other part of the track. I highly recommend if you are travelling into the pit/paddock to take the Stagecoach service to the new ‘Wing’ building. It’ll save a lot of walking, and despite missing some interesting angles it’s easier to walk back around the track than it is to walk to the Wing itself (security guards aren’t keen on people walking to the Wing). Once at the Paddock area you’ll be able to explore through the main complex with Parc Ferme situated at the entrance of the pit lane (near the pit entry for the racing cars), then a banking at the exit of the pit, in essentially, a car park. If you do have access I strongly suggest having a look around. There are so many different elements to motorsport that people ignore and the human element is one of them. Sure, the drivers are
important but I’m talking more about mechanics and the people who really make motorsport tick. Aside from the ‘Wing’ paddock there is a second paddock, one which you might (on a F1 weekend) have access to. This paddock is much smaller walk to get too, and will probably feature the majority of the support race teams. It’s definitely worth going to have a look if you have time.
OTHER INFORMATION Now the turn by turn guide is completed I’ll just give some general tips for things to do at Silverstone.
Firstly, I know I’ve recommended a lot of different corners to visit across Silverstone however please be aware that Silverstone is a very long circuit (3.660 miles to be precise), if you include all the other walking you’ll do across the day (car-grandstand etc) you’ll easily walk the length of the circuit. My last visit to Silverstone for the FIA GT1 World Championship I ended up walking about 10 miles in my pursuit to see the majority of the circuit, even saying that I didn’t walk around the outside of the Arena or Brooklands/Luffield. You will do a lot of walking, please be prepared for that.
ing at one end of the circuit and the other end to be completely dry. Be prepared for the worst! Generally I’d recommend taking a waterproof (or fleece whichever you prefer) and also sun cream. As I said be prepared for very changeable weather.
Thirdly, whilst the food at Silverstone is of a relatively good quality it is expensive. Be prepared for this, or take your own packed lunch. On a Formula 1 weekend I can imagine that despite the numerous food outlets placed around the circuit there will be massive queues for simple things like the use of toilets and also purchasing food. It’s worth bearing this in mind (especially in regards to the toilets). On the subject of toilets, they are not difficult to find at Silverstone and unlike many other circuits there are usuSecondly, Silverstone (as many circuits ally plenty of them around the circuit in the UK seem to have) has its very especially around the newest sections own weather system. Don’t trust the of the track. weather to be good, Silverstone is a large enough circuit to have rain fall-
A DRIVERS GUIDE Jamie Campbell-Walter, who drives the Sumo Power No.21 Nissan GT-R in the FIA GT1 World Championship gives a guide of a drivers perspective of the 2011 Silverstone Arena circuit.
ners: Copse is fast with a blind apex. There’s a 50-metre board on the left, which you use as a turn in marker and then just fire the car in and hope for the best!
Club is next and has been reprofiled for the new track. It’s now taken flat out, which is a shame, because it used to be a real challenge.
“We start on the new pit straight for the first ever international race that will utilise the recently launched Silverstone ‘Wing’. So, for the first time in my entire racing career, we now head into Abbey as turn one. This is taken in 5th gear and is a really challenging corner. There is a big bump on the exit that makes it very difficult to get back on the power for the run through Farm Curve, which is taken flat out.
The run off on the exit has made Copse less of a challenge. Whereas before if you made a mistake you were probably going to be on the grass and into the wall, which always kept you on your toes, now the kerb is pretty flat and there is fake grass and then tarmac again. If you do run wide you will lose time, but the consequences are not as bad as they used to be.
And then, there we are; back on the new pit straight for a lap of one of the best circuits in the world, with lots of history and many good memories. For me, one of those memories came last year, when Warren Hughes and I won the Tourist Trophy with Sumo Power GT in the Nissan GT-R.”
The new Arena section is a series of three corners: Village, The Loop and Aintree. This is quite slow going in and then it’s a case of building the speed up as you exit through Aintree – which is flat our – and onto the National Straight on the run down to the BRDC clubhouse. These are challenging bends, where you have to be controlled and smooth, as it is easy to over-drive in this section. It’s then into Brooklands, which is a difficult corner because the apex is very late and there is quite a long braking zone. It’s always a compromise between attacking on the way in and being slow on the way out - or even going for another option - because there are quite a few lines you can take here. This makes it a good overtaking opportunity, because you can force someone to make a mistake under braking and then they lose the line for Luffield. Luffield is one of those corners that you think is never going to end. But, when it does, you have to have a good exit and a car that has good traction to be fast through Woodcote Corner and down the ‘old’ Pits Straight. Now we start a series of fantastic cor-
After Copse you come to what are probably the best corners on any track in the world: the MaggotsBecketts-Chapel complex. There’s a very high-speed entry and the speed decreases as you go through the complex. It’s flat through the left; a lift for Maggots; down a gear for Becketts; a dab on the brakes to get the nose into the corner and then flat through Chapel and onto Hanger Straight. And breathe…… Stowe is another great corner. The braking is very late because you tend to fire yourself in and then slow down as you go through the it, because the apex is a long way round. It’s over a crest as well, so the exit can drop away from you, but there is a good supporting kerb which you tend to aim for and use as a way of controlling the car. Then it’s downhill into Vale; a very tight corner with a tricky kerb. It’s flat on the initial part and then it ramps up quite high, which can upset the rear of the car and, if you don’t go high enough on the kerb you lose the grip on the right-hand side which is in the groove. It’s one of those places you try to brake very late, but quite often you can just end up losing a lot of time.
FIA Formula 2 cars lining up on the old pit straight (2011)
I hope this guide to Silverstone will be useful for you on your visit to the track for whatever event, although this guide has been written with Formula 1 in mind it can be applied to most events that visit the new Silverstone complex. My final note is that some of the information written in this guide may not be correct when F1 rolls into town, this has been written from my previous experiences of Silverstone and the new layout. Fences, grandstands and various other elements may well have changed for the F1. I hope your enjoy your trip to Silverstone!
All Images - Adam Pigott Design & Text by Adam Pigott