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Exclusive: First flying lap of new Silverstone circuit
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Exclusive: First flying lap of new Silverstone circuit
Posted By: James Allen  |  29 Apr 2010   |  10:26 pm GMT  |  97 comments

Today I had the unique opportunity to drive around the new Silverstone circuit as a passenger in a 2 seater with my old friend and sparring partner Martin Brundle at the wheel.

It was drizzling and quite greasy when we were out there, but you still get a feel for the flow of the track and the exciting new sequence of corners, starting with the astonishing new Abbey curve.

This video is the first onboard lap showing the new corners at racing speeds, with a live commentary for JA on F1 users by Martin himself.

Early next week you will be able to see a full in-depth track guide with Martin and I talking you through the new corners here on JA on F1.

Enjoy!

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1

James and the rest of the crew: Silverstone is a national treasure and an almost sacred place for racing fans (for me, at least). Year after year we have had great races here. I just love that track and few corners are still the best in use today.

The thing is: was is REALLY necessary the new design? I mean, I really like it, the new stright with two very fast corners is good. But my question is: is it really better than the previous version?

Oh, James, thanks for the great video!!!!

2

Just got back from the GT1 weekend at Silverstone.

My negative views of the new Arena section based on paper and videos proved completely wrong, it produced some great racing. Loads of overtaking going into Village and through Aintree in all the series.

The view from the grandstand at Village is great. You can see the key Arena corners close up, and (at a distance) the Becketts/Maggots/Chapel complex, some of the Hanger Straight and right down to Stowe and Vale. Brilliant.

They really need to get some more grandstands in there, there is only one small one at the moment – presume it is planned otherwise calling the new section an “Arena” seems kinda strange! 🙂

The track commentators did a great job as always at Silverstone, but clearly have not got the new section down yet – was called a mix of the “Stadium”, the “Loop”, the “Complex” and the “Arena” throughout the weekend. Kinda amusing.

Overall a big thumbs up from me – good improvement to the circuit. Hopefully it will provide racing in F1 will matches today.

3

James

great to get Martin in on the action on your website. I think hes a great guy.

Were you on board for this lap, looks like he was kicking the back out quite a lot which must be interesting sitting much farther back with limited visibility.

Any pics of the Santander F1 car you went round in? Is it one of the old two seaters from a couple of years back (were they minardis? I never remember).

4

I like it. Moto GP will be a blast. This really is a cicuit in which they can stretch their legs and show us all they got.

It won’t be easy to see some F1 overtaking, but then, it never is on any dry track. Nevertheless, it will be a very fast track.

5
Steve Hogarth

The track looks great. I just can’t believe how cool Martin Brundel was!!!! I think F1 drivers have to born with ice in their veins. He was pshing the car hard in the wet and he was corecting the car all over the place and the tone in his voice did not even skip. he could have been reading a bed time story to one of his children. Mind boggling.

Well done Martin.

6

Actually the new Arena GP Layout has already been used. My son was out testing his Formula Ford car on it on Wednesday the week before with quite a few others including Damon Hill’s son Josh. British F3’s were there as well. Unlike this week it was a bright sunny dry day and the circuit was very fast 🙂

7

i was at the fia gt1/gt3 races at the new silverstone today and i dont like the new section.

from the stands it looks very dull and the masses of tarmac runoff make it look even worse.

also, it’s a bit difficult to get decent pics any more as you always have a huge run off or massive fence in front of you 🙁

also the new section didnt exactly add anything to the racing today, only pass i saw there was because the car been passed was about to retire due to engine failure.

8

Hi James,

is this the first time you have been in an f1 car around a track?

also cant wait to see the modern f1 cars going through abbey in the dry.

9

I have to say that I have no confidence that Silverstone will give rise to exciting racing. The only significant braking zone on the entire circuit follows a fast corner, which will be reliant on downforce to go through. As such, cars will likely not be able to follow through it to the one potential overtaking point on the entire circuit!

Silverstone is, at best, Britain’s 4th best racing circuit (albeit with the highest quality facilities)

10

Silverstone is one of my favorites, and the new look is alright. I wouldn’t say it’s an improvement, but at least it hasn’t destroyed the heart of the circuit. I’m going to miss watching the cars going through Bridge.

11

Excellent video. The track looks great now, and I think that it will be even better to watch.

Congrats to everyone involved and I am glad to see that the home of motor racing is still on the calendar.

Martin wasn’t too bad at driving around the track, still has it then !!!

12

Hi James,

Great video, as a passenger do you need to prepare physically as does non F1 drivers every time they drive for the first time. I can also tell from Martin’s voice it’s very demanding doing both driving and commenting.

13

Maybe it was because the track was wet, maybe it was the extra load in the car, but it seemed to me with the lines that Martin took through the new corners, there are some plum overtaking opportunities. Under braking there is room for two cars before the apex arrives.

Race speed may see them disappear though

14

Vast improvement over the abbey chicane and still retains the airfield feel of the circuit. just a shame a replica of bridge couldn’t have be situated at the new right hander instead.

And on another note referring to the tilke designs of many recent circuits, why cant tilke (or anyone else for that matter) just go and look at a map of regular roads, preferably where there are a few hills, then invest the money into the area and create a new spa style circuit in a valley somewhere…Rouen style. imo any circuit with a large vertical displacement is immediately a winner. just gives that extra dimension (literally) over the largely flat tilke circuits. I can think of loads of old circuits that just cry out amazing race circuit, bremgarten for example or even the salzburgring. could you imagine races on serious road racing circuits like that. even the barber racing circuit in the usa produced a fantastic indy car race the other week. proper drivers circuits, that what F1 needs.

15

AWESOME!! what a brilliant job silverstone has done in making the new circuit layout blend with the old, and keeping the feel and flow as much as possible! this surely will put silverstone at the top of the list of drivers circuits, old and new. and i love the job they have done to encourage plenty of new overtaking places throughout not only the old, but new part!

they even have got it right for spectators if they get good, big stylish stands that overlook the new section, as fans will be able to see a good thrid of the circuit from many vantage points, and with the cars dicing for position and racing, rather than parading slowly around, like nuremburg.

congratulations to the BDRC,the designers and builders too, for the quick construction of the new layout. when the new pit complex is in place, silverstone will be the top drivers and fans circuit of all the F1 tracks.

I deeply appreciate the guts the determination, the design and inventiveness, and thehard work every one involved with the project has shown in updating the circuit, and possibly exceeding the expectations of many, from motor sports organisations, racing teams, and drivers with this brilliant new circuit.

welll done! look forward to seeing it finally all completed!

16

Wow, after not having been too Silverstone for ages due too being boring, i will definately be there this year. Well done everyone looks great and a massive improvement.

17

Yet another great article. I have so much admiration for Martin Brundle. He makes everything he does from commentating, to grid walks, to race analysis to driving round Silverstone and doing a commentary like he is popping to Tesco.

I don’t want to be disrespectful to Jonathan Legard but I do wish it was you and Martin back together for the races. Great knowledge matched with a good chemistry.

18

This is the place to come for the inside stuff on F1. This video is a great scoop – thank you! James, I wish you could get back as commentator on TV somehow.

19

I think if Brundle went back to F1 he might show a few guys a thing or 2, Brundle raced in the Senna era and drivers at that time could go flat out knowing the risks that it can take away your life, they played with danger, but today with current F1 cars, you can still afford to take risks and get away with it, race tracks are now a lot safer.

I dont see why there is no support race which features retired drivers, you can tell by watching Brundle that he loves racing and you cant blame guys like Schumi coming back.

Silverstone is just iconic and i do hope the new UK Government that would be in power would support Silverstone and the motorsport industry.

20

I and some colleagues had the privilege of walking the majority of the Silverstone track back in March and been one of the first to walk the new section straight after the pavers finished. As my job involves testing roads mostly around Lincolnshire we were brought in for a few days to do similar testing on the whole circuit.

21

Excellent additions to make Silverstone even more exciting. BTW does that flying lap make Martin the current lap record holder? 🙂

22

You need to get Martin back out in the dry, ferchrissakes. Let’s see what he can really do!

Oh, yeah, Martin, you need to yell “yeehaw” as you are sliding the tail around through those last few corners. =)

23

One thing that I really like is new fast Abbey.And they didnt relocate the start-finish straight.For me, a real British circuit means a slightly bent finish straight.So at the moment,everything is under control.

The new slow section for overtaking seems to be quite good as well.It is nicely situated between fast Abbey and reasonably long straight.Reminds me sections from Blanchimont to Bus Stop,or 130R to the chicane.It is refreshing to see something different to perfectly straight airfield like sections(think Shakhir).

24

Hang on a sec – you mean to tell us that, for the first time since 1994, someone modified an existing GP to add a fast corner, rather than remove three??

Oh yes, something has changed in F1..!

25

It looks like a significant improvement however I’m still shedding a tear for the loss of Bridge which was my favorite corner of the previous layout for F1 cars.

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