Tying in nicely with my ‘Fast Lane F1 Preview Week’, yesterday I visited the home of British motor racing – Silverstone. If you don’t believe me, see below!
Silverstone is a track undergoing massive change at the moment to try and stay in contention with other international circuits paving the way when it comes to the facilities available at the track. To do this, it’s been going under a 2 year renovation. Last year saw the track layout change, controversially losing a large section of the final complex and Bridge corner.
I’m still in two minds about the change. I did like the new layout, it looks faster with more overtaking opportunities – but Bridge corner was legendary and part of the tricky complex wont be driven by an F1 car again. I find that sad.
And it’s sad to see the old complex now left all dusty with tyres stacked through bridge corner. Not the best thing to see when entering a ‘world class’ venue.
The second year of the transformation is the new facilities. Silverstone have built a new pit and paddock area on the old farm straight . I wasn’t allowed to near the construction, but you can see it’s striking roof in this picture.
But by building the new, it means the old has once again become rather deserted. The pit straight at Silverstone used to be a hive of activity with lots of stands and a close view of the action. But this area appears to have become a bit of a ghost town. The old pit stand with ‘Silverstone’ written on the seats has been dismantled and its currently laying on the outer path.
I believe that Silverstone are re-building this classic stand several meters back from the track. In fact the whole design of new Silverstone appears to be higher stands but further away from the action. As you can see from this shot, the gravel trap next to the old pit straight has been noticeably increased.
There are a lot of new stands though, all with roofs on the way – a welcome sight for anyone who’s watched a race in the rain before!
What’s very strange about the whole move is that the old pits and paddock will remain -they’ll be used for events like the touring cars, so we’re in a strange situation whereby Silverstone will have two sets of pits.
I am looking forward to the new Silverstone, the new paddock area does already look impressive, but it’s obvious from the state of the place that there’s a long way to go before the facility is ready. I just hope that it in time for the Grand Prix on 10th July.
But yesterday wasn’t just about Silverstone, it was about the BTCC. I was lucky enough to get into yesterday’s first test of the season. The grid is looking very big this year, hopefully leading to a close and exciting season. It’s great to see names like Plato and Neal remain in the series as well as many new names hoping to join the top dogs. Here’s a few pics from the day. Enjoy!