Your Guide To Silverstone

The British Grand Prix is fast approaching and for anyone who is going to be delving deep into the British countryside in two weeks to get to Silverstone I thought it would be nice to focus on where best to position yourself to see the action on the track…and after a hard day’s observing I’ve some suggestions as to where one could rest those weary (and most likely wet) bones.

The British weather is so unpredictable and finding an appropriate ‘home’ is priority for most ticket holders. We all have different needs and enjoy our time away from the action on the track differently.  The local campsites offer the chance of staying close to the circuit and there is always much to do with the thousands of like-minded people who gather from all over Europe and beyond.

However, speaking from experience I know that if the weather turns nasty there is very little fun associated with this so many visitors opt to stay in more permanent fixtures, with running water, light, heat and an in-house bar…all under the one roof. So especially for those who like the more luxurious option here are a few suggestions in case it’s a wet day at the track. Then, a warm, cosy bed to climb into each night and no chance of waking up to discover that you, your tent and your car are covered in mud would be a delight.

So what hotels are close to Silverstone? Who knows…. you might be staying at the same hotel as drivers or team crew.

There is the Holiday Inn in Milton Keynes located only 30 minutes from the Silverstone circuit. Red Bull fans might like this as the factory is located in Milton Keynes and you’d never know who you might bump into. The Holiday Inn in Northampton, which can be found, again only 30 minutes from the circuit and the Holiday Inn in Oxford, located around 35 minutes from Silverstone.

Once you have a bed sorted out, the focus will inevitably switch to where you can get the best view of the action.

For those travelling to Silverstone with a full weekend, general access ticket, the Grandstands are open to all for both Friday sessions. If your ticket doesn’t give you access to the Grandstand on Saturday and Sunday, FP1 is a great time to take a seat across from the pit lane.

As you will well know, FP1 lacks the action of the later sessions as teams begin work on the car and generally tinker around in the attempt to find the perfect balance. This leads to a lot of ‘installation laps’ or one lap runs – the driver leaves the pits, circles the circuit once and returns to the pits. For this reason, a spot somewhere far from the pits may not be as appetising as it would be on Saturday or Sunday. With a seat across from the pit lane, one can see the cars running, and also watch the engineers working and teams practising pit-stops.

For the second practice session on the Friday, try moving to Luffield. One gets a nice view of the cars coming up past the pits, through the entire first sector and on towards the old pit straight, essentially making it the perfect place to get pictures for the scrapbook.

For Saturday, I’d move to copse corner. There’s a nice bit of space at what was the old turn 1, and there is a huge TV screen across from the stands, to make sure you know exactly what’s happening out on track.

For Qualifying, I find Stowe corner to be the best place. Again, there is a giant TV screen opposite from where you can see the goings on of different sections of the track, while also keeping up to date with the timing which will appear on the screen.

I’d then stay at the same place for the race. As Stowe corner boasts the sole chicane on the track, it provides an ideal spot for first lap action. Again, the screen will keep you up to date, while you will be the first to see the cars pitting, literally entering the pits in front of your eyes. As for the start of the race, you’ll be able to see the back of the grid from your seat, although the front is blocked from view by the pits building.

While those, to me, are the ideal spots for each session, for those who enjoy feeling the power of the cars, stand on Hangar straight, particularly near the top of it. From there you can see the Maggots/Becketts section. You’ll also be incredibly close to the cars as they accelerate towards top speed. Consider watching at least one support race from here. The Porsche building is also right beside Hangar straight, so that’ll help to kill time in between sessions.

So there you are – my guide of where to stay and where to sit. If you will be going to Silverstone, enjoy the race. The British Grand Prix has a knack of throwing together fantastic action and providing the perfect forum to meet likeminded individuals. It’s essentially a feeding hole for 100,000 petrol heads!

Oh, and one final piece of advice: Bring some wellies – you’ll need them!

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