Silverstone has revealed the changes it intends to make to its Grand Prix circuit after hosting its last F1 race in June this year. As the Northamptonshire track has lost the British Grand Prix to Donington Park, it has taken the British round of the Moto GP championship from its Leicestershire rival.
Part of the changes seem to be aimed at routing the bikes away from the bridge at Bridge bend for safety reasons. However this part of the existing circuit will remain for future use. Club corner has also been re-profiled and tightened.
The press release is below – keep an eye out for the subtle digs at Donington – but first here’s a look at the revised track:
Silverstone unveils dynamic modifications to circuit layout Silverstone Circuits Limited has unveiled provisional plans for a number of striking modifications to the track and spectator viewing areas at the UK’s premier motor racing venue.
The most significant addition to the circuit will be a new section of track running from the approach at Abbey corner to a spectacular ‘Arrowhead’ at the inside of Becketts. The Arrowhead will then join up with the existing National Straight. Additional sections of track will also be laid at Chapel and Club in anticipation of FIM Moto GP World Championship motorcycle racing at Silverstone.
The announcement follows the recent signing of a five year agreement between Silverstone and Dorna that will see MotoGP racing at the iconic Northamptonshire circuit from 2010. Several alterations are being made to make the circuit more bike-friendly. The alterations have already been extensively discussed with FIM and will be in accordance with their regulations and subject to final homologation.
However, the new Arrowhead, and fast section of circuit leading up to it, are designed to be a stunning feature for riders, drivers and spectators alike. The Arrowhead and its approach will provide a focal point for overtaking and will be surrounded by several new spectator areas. It will also be overlooked by the grandstand at Becketts, providing fans with an opportunity to see two sections of track from the one vantage point.
Both MotoGP and British Superbike riders will also be pleased to see that the plans include the moving of grandstands and safety barriers at Woodcote. This will enable the circuit to build a new run off area at the fast entry to Pit Straight and dispose of the slow chicane, which is currently a necessity for safety purposes. The new plans form part of a £5m investment by Silverstone, with work set to be carried out between November 2009 and March 2010.
In addition to changes to the track, improvements to spectator viewing facilities will include moving some of the existing grandstands to bring them closer to the track. Richard Phillips, Managing Director of Silverstone Circuits Limited, commented, “Silverstone is one of the easiest circuits to get in and out of in the world, we have sizeable hard-standing car parks, and the facilities for teams, media and fans are second to none. We are happy with the infrastructure, but we now have an opportunity to make some exciting changes to the circuit and fundamental improvements to the viewing experience for fans.
“The new Arrowhead on the inside of Becketts will be a major new feature of the circuit. The fast approach and sharp left should provide plenty of opportunities to overtake, making it a real focal point for spectators. The views will be fantastic, especially from the new spectator banking areas and grandstands we will be building around the Arrowhead.
“The viewing experience for fans is hugely important and we now have an opportunity to make sure it is absolutely right, all around the circuit. The new layout will also enable fans to circulate around the venue more easily, to watch all the action from different vantage points. We are making a significant investment but it is absolutely worth it. Early feedback from both riders and drivers has been very positive. The chicane at Woodcote is going and changes to other sections of the circuit should result in increased overtaking opportunities.”
Phillips also confirmed that the planned changes would not mean the end for the current Grand Prix circuit, “This year’s Formula 1 British Grand Prix will take place on the current Grand Prix circuit and that circuit will continue to be available to us for appropriate events. However, the new layout will be more suitable for two- wheeled racing, and will be an exciting circuit for both two and four-wheeled events.”