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Silverstone | Pro

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  • Timeline
  • 2011 to date
  • 2010
  • 2003-09
  • 1997-2002
  • 1996
  • 1994-95
  • 1991-93
  • 1987-90
  • 1975-86
  • 1952-74
  • 1950-51
  • 1949
  • 1948

2011 to date

  • Grand Prix Arena Circuit (Wing Pits)

    3.660 miles / 5.890 km

  • Motorcycle Grand Prix Arena Circuit (Wing Pits)

    3.666 miles / 5.900 km

  • Grand Prix Arena Circuit (Original Pits)

    3.660 miles / 5.890 km

  • Motorcycle Grand Prix Arena Circuit (Original Pits)

    3.666 miles / 5.900 km

  • Historic Grand Prix Circuit

    3.661 miles / 5.892 km

  • National Circuit

    1.640 miles / 2.639 km

  • Long National Circuit

    2.024 miles / 3.257 km

  • International Circuit

    1.851 miles / 2.979 km

  • Stowe Circuit

    0.796 miles / 1.281 km

  • Stowe Long Circuit

    1.080 miles / 1.738 km

Racer's Overview

Silverstone declares itself the home of British racing which is somewhat disputable, but what is beyond disput is the fact that it is the home of the British motor racing industry. Always one of the fastest circuits, Silverstone has developed from its windswept airfield origins into one of the most recognised venues in world motorsport.

Its current layout dates back only to 2010 when uncertainty over the future of the British Grand Prix (which had flirted with plans to race first at a redeveloped Brands Hatch and then committed to Donington Park) led to Silverstone bosses begin to look elsewhere for its headline event. Plans to bring back the MotoGP racers for the first time since 1986 were hatched, and with it a much revised circuit. When Donington Park's F1 bid fell through in financial acrimony a new F1 deal was signed and the planned circuit works modified.

To accommodate Bernie Ecclestone's demands, a new Wing-like pit and paddock complex was built between Copse and Abbey, with the circuit swooping infield to a new 'Arena' complex before rejoining the existing circuit on the former Club or National Straight, now renamed in honour of the Wellington bombers which once took off along it.

The new course debuted in 2010, although work to complete the new pit complex was completed in time for the 2011 Grand Prix. This has led to the circuit having alternative start and finish locations – F1 uses the 'Wing' pits, while most other championships tend to use the original pits and start/finish locations.

A new International circuit using the southern half of the Grand Prix circuit could now be used independently thanks to the Wing pits, it has yet to secure any major racing action but is regularly used for testing, while the National circuit has gained greater prominence once again, especially as the venue for the annual rounds of the British Touring Car Championship.

While the old track from through to Bridge and Priory still remains, circuit bosses officially decommissioned it in 2011. It is now a picnic area. 

As Silverstone sits at the heart of the British motorsport industry it is regularly used for testing and many teams are based on site including the Force India F1 team. A huge new business and industry park is under construction alongside the circuit's access road. 

Tyres and chassis

High-speed stability is particularly important at Silverstone, with braking energy extremely low. Downforce levels are medium: a compromise between ensuring enough aerodynamic grip to negotiate the fast corners as quickly as possible and eliminating drag on the straights.

Lateral accelerations on the tyres are among the highest of the season, peaking at 5g. This means that the surface temperature of the tyre can exceed 110 degrees centigrade in F1, towards the very top of its working range.

While big speeds and high levels of lateral energy are the key characteristics of Silverstone, there are also some slower and more technical parts of the circuit where it has been modified in recent years. In those areas combined acceleration is particularly important. This happens when the driver is steering and accelerating at the same time on the exit of a corner: the work of the tyre is crucial here.

Many parts of the asphalt at Silverstone are new, with the new asphalt less bumpy and abrasive than the older sections. Abrasive asphalt increases grip, but also adds to levels of wear and degradation.

Engines

Even with the changes in 2010, Silverstone is still a power track, with 61-66% of the lap spent at full throttle in a grand prix car. With the four straights over the course of the lap the average speed is also high – approx 215kph (in F1). At the same time the engine has to be responsive out of the slower corners such as Luffield and the Loop since they all lead onto the long straights.

The sweeping Maggots-Beckett-Chapel complex where average speeds are around 250kph in F1 and no lower than 190kph (in F1) at any one point is a key factor. These speeds and changes of direction put huge lateral forces through the car so the oil and fuel systems have to be resilient as the fluids are squashed from side to side. Particular attention should be paid to the oil circuit and fuel collector, especially towards the end of the race to avoid engine starvation.

F1 car data

Circuit Length: 5.891 km
Number of Laps: 52
Race Distance: 306 km
Kerbs: Smooth
Pitlane: 422m
Pitlane loss: 21 sec
Altitude: 155m
Maximum speed: 315kph
Minimum speed: 90 kph (T4)
Average Speed: 233 kph
Average corner speed: 174kph
Downforce Level: High
Aero efficiency ratio: Medium
Full throttle: 66%
Longest section full throttle: 7.5s
Engine severity: 
Power loss: -4%
Fuel effect: 0.4 s/10kg
Fuel consumption: 2.9kg/Lap
Braking events: 4
Brake Wear: Low
Gear changes per lap: 43
Gearbox severity: Very low

 

Data Trace

Image of data trace for Silverstone

Click image to zoom 🔎

We've teamed with Chassis Sim to provide a reference trace file for Silverstone, using F3-type data (or the closest representative car type).

A data outing is available to download for each of the major circuit variations. Fine tune your own setup before you even set off for the circuit!

You'll need Chassis Sim's programme or similar data analysis software to open these files.

More information and terms of use for these files >


Essential Info

Address: Silverstone Circuit, Towcester, Northamptonshire, NN12 8TN

PH: +44 844 3728 200

Circuit type: Permanent road course

Website: http://www.silverstone.co.uk

Silverstone is well-equipped but often some facilities are only available at additional cost. 

Many teams prefer the old 'National' pits to the new 'Wing' to work in even though many of the garages are somewhat run down. 

Getting around Silverstone can take a very long time, team members, media and others are often made to park their cars near the Copse infield and have to catch a bus to the 'Wing'. It is a very large and spread-out venue compared with most other circuits. 

It is possible to land helicopters at the track as it has an active airfield status. 

The food and drink available at the track is expensive and not of a very high standard. 

The security staff can be very officious, so make sure your passes are in order and be prepared to show them often, even if it seems pointless! 

There are a number of race equipment suppliers in the immediate vicinity of the circuit. 

Both paddocks have Wifi coverage. 

Traffic is still an issue at major events so be prepared to arrive earlier than perhaps required. 

The White Horse pub in Silverstone village is very popular with racing people including drivers, mechanics and officials. 

Accommodation

While there are plans for an onsite hotel, construction has yet to begin. There is some average standard accomodation nearby in Premier Inn style hotels, and also some of the local pubs such as the Saracen's Head in Towcester have rooms. For major events most if not all of these rooms are solidly booked well in advance. Whittlebury Hall offers both camping and high end rooms, but again is usually fully booked during major events.  

Milton Keynes is the next best option - only around a 15-minute drive from the circuit, the new city has most major hotel chains and many options for food and drink. It too can get booked up around major events leaving Northampton and even Luton and Oxford as possible alternates.

Getting There

Silverstone is in central England, approximately 90 minutes north of central London and 60 minutes south of Birmingham.  Road access is good along the A43 dual carriageway from either the M40 or M1.  During large events such as the F1 British Grand Prix, one way systems may be put in place in the local area to ease access and egress from the circuit - follow the directions and any other instructions of the police.

By public transport, the nearest stations are Northampton, Banbury or Milton Keynes, both of which offer fast connections to destinations throughout the country.

By air the nearest airfield is Turweston which is just 3.6 nautical miles away and provides transport to the circuit throughout the year on request.


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