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Silverstone Circuit is a motor racing circuit near the village of Silverstone in Northamptonshire, England. It is best known as the home of the British Grand Prix, which it first hosted in 1948 and which has been held on the circuit every year since 1987. The circuit is also home to the BRDC International Trophy, formerly one of the premier non-Championship F1 races in the calendar, today awarded to the winner of a race for historic F1 cars at the annual Silverstone Classic meeting.

Circuit Development Edit

Half the circuit is in Northamptonshire and half in Buckinghamshire, roughly equidistant from Milton Keynes and Northampton. It is built on the site of a World War II bomber base, RAF Silverstone, which opened in 1943. The airfield's three runways, in classic WWII triangle format, lie within the outline of the present track.

The first two races were held on the runways themselves, with long straights separated by tight hairpin corners, the track demarcated by hay bales. However, for the 1949 International Trophy meeting it was decided to switch to the perimeter track. This arrangement was used for the 1950 and 1951 Grands Prix. In 1952 the startline was moved from the Farm Straight to the present Finish Straight, and this layout remained largely unaltered for the following 35 years. For the 1975 meeting, a chicane was introduced to try and tame speeds through the mighty Woodcote Corner, and Bridge Corner was subtly rerouted in 1987, before the track underwent a major redesign between the 1990 and 1991 races. The reshaped track's first F1 race was perhaps the most memorable of recent years, with Nigel Mansell coming home first in front of his home crowd. On his victory lap back to the pits Mansell even found time to pick up stranded rival Ayrton Senna and give him a lift on his side-pod, after Senna's McLaren had expired towards the end of the race.

Following the deaths of Grand Prix drivers Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna at Imola in 1994, many Grand Prix circuits were modifed in order to reduce speed and increase driver safety. As a consequence of this, in 1995, the entry from Hangar Straight into Stowe Corner was modified so as to make its entry less dangerous (but less challenging).

Spectator traffic managementEdit

Historically, Silverstone has suffered traffic jams on race days. This problem has been largely eliminated with the completion of the A43 Silverstone bypass, a dual-carriageway road just to the north of the circuit. When the race was moved to an April date in 2000, rainy conditions turned the fields used for car parking into mud baths, causing chaos for spectators trying to park.[1] On F1 race day, a large amount of spectators travel to the circuit via helicopter, enough to make Silverstone Heliport the busiest airport in the UK for this day.[2]

Hosting Grand Prix and Formula One Edit

Silverstone is the current home of the British Grand Prix, which it first hosted in 1948. The 1950 British Grand Prix at Silverstone was the first race in the newly-created Formula One World Championship. The race rotated between Silverstone, Aintree and Brands Hatch from 1955 to 1986, but relocated permanently to Silverstone in 1987.

On 30 September 2004, British Racing Drivers' Club president Jackie Stewart announced that the British Grand Prix would not be included on the 2005 provisional race calendar, and if it were, would probably not occur at Silverstone.[3] However on 9 December an agreement was reached with Formula One rights holder Bernie Ecclestone ensuring that the track would host the British Grand Prix until 2009.[4]

FutureEdit

Bernie Ecclestone has stated that he will only negotiate the future of Formula One at Silverstone post-2009 if the BRDC gives up its role as promoter of the event. In an Autosport interview he said "I want to deal with a promoter rather than the BRDC. It is too difficult with the BRDC because you get no guarantees with them. We've said that unless they can get the circuit to the level expected from so-called Third-World countries, we are not prepared to do a deal. They know what we want them to build."[5] A new pit-and-paddock complex is the minimum redevelopment required.[5] Maurice Hamilton has described the attitude of the BRDC as "[appearing to be] inflexible and sometimes arrogant."[6]

On August 1, 2007, it was announced that a £25m redevelopment of the circuit has been approved, with new grandstands, pit facilities and a development centre planned to be built. [7]

Other competitionsEdit

The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship withdrew the track from its calendar in 2007, however demand from teams and sponsors saw the return of Silverstone to the 2008 BTCC calendar. Silverstone also hosts rounds of the FIA GT, British Superbikes, British F3, British GT and Le Mans Series championships as well as many club racing series. It is also host to the UK's only 24 hour car race, the Britcar 24, which is gaining in popularity, having first started in 2005.

It has in the past hosted exhibition rounds of the D1 Grand Prix both in Template:D1 and Template:D1. The course, starting from the main straight used in club races, make use of both Brooklands and Luffield corners to form a S-bend, a requirement in drifting and is regarded by its judge, Keiichi Tsuchiya as one of the most technical drifting courses of all.[8]. The section, used in drifting events since 2002, is currently used to host a European Drift Championship round.


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