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FEBRUARY 17, 2006

The redesign of Silverstone

The details of the redevelopment of Silverstone are yet to be made public but already there is talk that some of the famous corners at the track will be axed when the track is rebuilt. This is not surprising. The most logical development would be to axe the Club, Abbey and Bridge sections of the circuit and move the circuit to the east.

While some complain about losing classic corners, the reality is that Bridge did not exist before 1991 and both Club and Abbey have both been completely revised and have completely different characters to the original corners and thus removing them from the circuit would not be quite the disaster that some would claim.

Moving the southern end of the circuit to the east would have a number of important effects, not least the fact that this would use the available land much more effectively. At the moment there is a large area of unused land in the centre of the track in this area. At the same time there is not enough space on the outside of the circuit to develop the area. Thus moving the circuit to the east would allow for a much more efficient use of the acreage and also provide for independent access to the zone from an existing roundabout on the Dadford Road.

This would also offer the circuit designers the opportunity to create some challenging sections of track in what is now the unused infield area.

One can theorise that the new design will probably retain the current Woodcote, Copse, Maggotts, Becketts, Hangar Straight and Stowe sections. It is not clear where the pits and paddock will end up but there is an argument that it would be wise to build a completely new facility on Hangar Straight and retain the current pits for other races. This would save the cost of demolition and provide pits for both the National and South circuits as well. Logically, the redesign of the track would means that the track would either go into the infield from the exit of Stowe or by way of right turn in the Vale area and then a section of track (with grandstands relocated from Club and Abbey) in what is now the middle of the circuit leading up to the southern end of the National Circuit and the straight which would take the circuit back up to the Priory-Brooklands-Luffield complex.

It would be entirely possible for there to be a corner very similar to Bridge (a fast lefthander rather than a fast righthander) to take the track into a redesigned version of the "stadium" area with a major braking area is full view of all the grandstands. Spectators would thus see a great deal more action.

The other advantage of this is that it would have very little effect on the parking capacity of the track and could create much better access for teams and VIPs with access to the new pits being from the southern end of the Dadford Road rather than being mixed up with the public access from the north.

For the moment this is speculation but clearly there is much to be gained from development in this area of the track.