Silverstone knocks down grandstands to build new Arena circuit (Pictures)

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Silverstone Arena circuit
Silverstone Arena circuit

Silverstone has begun work to build the new “Arena” circuit which it intends to use for this year’s British Grand Prix.

The grandstands opposite the pits have been knocked down and several bridges have also been removed as the circuit’s remodelling begins.

These stands will be re-constructed in time for this year’s race and the circuit’s maximum race-day attendance of 120,000 will remain unchanged.

When they are re-built the stands will be positioned slightly further back from the track which, say the race organisers, will allow fans to see more of the track, as well as allowing more run-off space for the cars.

The organisers are keen to use the new Arena circuit for this year’s race and plan to have the building work complete by March so the Moto GP and World Superbike events can run on the new configuration.

F1 will race on the Arena circuit as well – as long as it’s logistically possible. The new sequence will bring cars into the middle of the circuit leaving less room for F1 and support race equipment to be held. The stage for the post-race Grand Prix party will have to be moved, as will the Paddock Club.

But F1 will continue to use Maggotts and Club corners in their current forms, unlike the bikes which will use new variations. You can see the differences in the corners (numbered six and ten) in the map above.

A spokesperson for the circuit confirmed they would use the regular Grand Prix circuit for the F1 race if they can’t use the Arena track. Here’s a look at the development work so far.

Silverstone Arena circuit development

2010 British Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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64 comments on “Silverstone knocks down grandstands to build new Arena circuit (Pictures)”

  1. I wonder if the F1 2010 PS3 game with have the update sliver stone track?

    And any word on that dam game too

    1. I spoke to Codemasters about it last week – they expect to announce the launch date next month.

      1. did they say anything else about the game? :)

        1. Nothing to report yet.

          1. Ask Codemasters if they are using the versatile EGO engine to power game Keith.

            You might get cookies for bigging up their in house developed game engine.

      2. Thanks Keith,

        am guessing its going to be a June release maybe Aug. It will have to see stores by the end of the season

        1. I read the game was gonna be released december :\ . I hope not

    2. i am really hoping that for the first time, when a car crashes there will be a safety car situation instead of the car simply disapearing to the pits, i rekon that should add another dimension to the race

  2. I heard talk of the pits/start moving from it’s current place to the straight between club corner and abbey (abbey obviously being the “turn off” for the new section) is there any truth to that,

    also, I would love to say, it will great to get seats in the new arena that will hopefully wraparound the arrowhead hairpin ala abudhabi haiprpin!! The new layout is awsome with even more fast bits than silverstones current offering, I detest the luffield “s” curve complex.


    1. I think the plan is for the new section to be visible from the Becketts stand opposite, giving them two chances to see the cars each lap. Looking at the map of the circuit it doesn’t look as though there are any new grandstands around the infield hairpin.

      1. I hope so because this is the exact reason why I decided to go for Becketts tickets when I realised the Pit Straight had sold out!

    2. The pit straight should be the Hangar straight. That would make the end of the lap very difficult.

  3. Wow, thats some serious work going on there. Dear Donington – This is how you do it. I see there’s a new pitlane for the southern circuit planned between Club and Abbey. Can’t wait till they start of the new pit garage complex as shown in those renders a couple of years back. it looked really smart.

    By my reckoning (and looking at that map), there will be a total of 7 layouts – Arena, Grand Prix (traditional), National, National Extended, International, International Extended, Southern. Then there’s the Stowe circuit with all it’s different combinations too.

    1. Agreed – and doesn’t turn 11 look promising? They approach Abbey at 290-300kph, so presumably they’ll be doing the same there now – but turning into a much quicker pair of bends. Nice one.

      1. 11 and 12 look as if they’ll be very fast. maybe a dab of break or feather of throttle, but nothing like the Abbey Chicane in the opposite direction. Sets up opportunities into 13 and 14 too. I guess thats why they designed it like that. It’s a very good use of the infield.

        I still think they should have turned Brooklands into a sweeper that cut across the path of Priory, and then into a tight-ish luffield turn.

        Was Tilke involved in this revamp? A little niggle in the back of my head says he wasn’t.

        1. Was Tilke involved in this revamp? A little niggle in the back of my head says he wasnít.

          No it wasn’t – apparently it was a company called Populous. Probably these guys:

    2. I agree, this is how it’s done. I like that they adding a new section, without messing with the existing sections. It’s a shame though that all the new sections need all the seal runoff though.

  4. From the map it seems there are some minor changes at the exit of Chapel. Seems to be slower, isnt’it?
    The new layout seems quite stylish, I like the fast new Abbey corners. I wouldn’t want the start to be moved. The curved start grid of Silverstone is a classic!

    1. You’re right, I missed the Chapel tightening… it’s very subtle, but it’ll have to be taken a gear or so slower, I would have thought.

    2. Chapel is one of the places where the F1 cars are sticking to their current route but the bikes will use the new (in this case, tighter) route. At least, that was the case when I spoke to them about it last month.

  5. An obvious comment but the pit straight looks so different with that grandstand knocked down.

  6. Does anyone know where the Becketts grandstand is? That’s where I’ll be – apparently it will be moved “closer to the ciruit to get nearer to the action”! But the problem is, I’m not sure where the grandstand is! Anyone have any experience of it?

    1. I sat in the Becketts grandstand in 1997, it was pretty good as we had the TV screen opposite us.

      When I went last year I was struck at how far back the stand was – it was probably that far back in ’97, but I didn’t notice it at the time. There was a large gravel-covered spectator area on a mound in front of the stand, which gave a better view of the track itself including the gradient change through that complex (only small, but you don’t see it on the TV at all). Hopefully they will move the stand closer – if they moved it onto the mound then you’d get a fantastic view of the new infield section.

      I’m in Vale this year, so I’ve no idea what the view will be like from there or if we’ll be able to see the infield at all…

      1. oh, and Becketts grandstand is at the top of the map (between turns 3,4 and 5)

      2. The view from Vale is brilliant. It was my favourite place to watch from when I went for practice last year. There was some fun GP2 overtaking (yes, during their quali, they are crazy!). You can see from the Hangar straight until almost Abbey if I remember right!

  7. I do like the look of the new track layout.

    However. Are Silverstone just hugely missing the point here or is it just me? Constantly Bernie complains about the lack of facilities at british tracks. Donnington went over the top with their plans – way too expensive and ambitious – but how does just adding an inner loop make an already great race track with poor facilities any more suitable for F1?

    1. I think it’s more a case of making a virtue out of necessity. They had to make revisions to the track to run the bikes on them – for example, the bridge after the Abbey chicane was a problem for the bikes. This way, they’ve potentially got something that works well for both series.

    2. And actually, in recent years, the current configuration hasn’t produced great racing. It’s a good challenge, but overtaking opportunities were rare.

      I’m quite hopeful this new section will add to the track – though we saw some good crashes at Abbey!

  8. How about lopping off the chicane at turn 8/9? That would improve it a lot.

    1. I don’t think they have enough run-off area to do that – for F1 cars, anyway.

      1. I think it would be perfect if they bypassed it. It couldn’t cost that much to make a little more run-off there? Although at a glance on Google Maps maybe there’s a grandstand in the way.

        1. A grandstand in the way doesn’t really matter… they’re only scaffolding. I mean, look at the photos at the top of the page. They’ve dismantled all of the grandstands along the start-finish straight.

        2. There is no grandstand on the inside of 8/9 (“Club”). There’s a big bank around the outside of it though.

          My biggest worry is that the best overtaking is at the Abbey chicane (11) as drivers brake for the tight left, and into Priory after the fast hard right under the Bridge. Turning right at Abbey – even for another high-speed sweeping curve section like Maggotts/Becketts, won’t be the same. Although Turn 13 looks like it might produce some dives down the inside, 14/15/16/17 to the end of the lap will just be cars following one another…

  9. HounslowBusGarage
    27th January 2010, 18:14

    I think this looks pretty exciting! And I’m very pleased that Abbey T11 is a nice fast flick onto the new section.
    There’s a new grid marked out between Club T10 and Abbey T11, but I take it that it won’t be used for 2010, will it?
    @ MattB Wherever the Becketts Stand turns out to be it should have a superb double view of the action.
    Is that a new tunnel beneath Hangar Straight? And is the bridge over the National Straight being replaced by a tunnel as well?

    1. I think that grid (and associated new pit lane) is for use on the Southern Circuit, which will surely get a lot more use now.

    2. T11 reminds me of Blanchimont. Now if that section can be undertaken at full speed or nearly, imagine how much overtaking friendly Silverstone will become since car setups will change to favour top speeds!

      For this reason, I want them to start using this layout.

  10. The red line on the pic, is that the new proposed layout?
    If so it’s a tighter exit to Becketts and Club. I hope the Becketts exit doesn’t make it worse for following another F1 car. I never noticed that before.

    Also, the new section from Abbey onwards has slightly altered but looks good.

  11. Fingers crossed they get it done on time and on budget. I am curious to know where and how they have got the money from to do this especially concidering the difficulties Donnigton had…

  12. HounslowBusGarage
    27th January 2010, 20:20

    Silverstone has not updated their circuit maps (or news) so I can’t find out how much the lap (3.194 miles) will be lengthened. Half a mile – ish?

  13. I’m amazed at the progress. I had no idea it had started yet. For all the problems the BRDC has, when they do decide on something, they know how to get on with it. Good on ’em.

  14. Looks interesting.

    Any ideas who has designed this section?
    A bike track designer perhaps…

    … not the dreaded you know who surely!?

    1. see above

      1. Ah yes. Thank you.

  15. I dont understand

  16. HounslowBusGarage
    27th January 2010, 22:23

    @ Bartholomew.
    There’s nothing to understand. This is the premier racing circuit in Britain making a new viewing spectacular for its visitors and a new, challenging high-spped-curve-straight-bends-straight sequence for the competitors.
    What’s not to like?

    1. OK now Iīm starting to see it — the new section must be the middle one in dark.
      As long as the cars go fast there, these changes would be OK.
      I want to see fast high speed racing

      1. HounslowBusGarage
        27th January 2010, 23:07

        Yes that’s right mate,
        Instead of the hard 90 degree left at Abbey, there will now be a 45 degree right into a long quick left and a slow, sharp right et cetera. Once they’re out of that seqence, it’s a decent length blast down the National Straight and into a medium right which has been the scene of many an overtaking manouvre in the lower formulae that use the National Circuit.
        More to the point, there will be a great opportunity for spectators in that general area (Becketts and Turns 13 – 15) to see race traffic twice in one lap.
        I’d like to be there.

  17. Prisoner Monkeys
    27th January 2010, 23:55

    It’s looking very eeries without grandstands …

    1. Looks a bit like Istanbul on race day…

  18. This design looks very promising! A definite improvement over the design they had several months back. T-11 looks wicked fast (probably faster than copse even, by my reckoning), and the faster T-16 should be interesting too. Shame they couldn’t do away with the T-8/T-9 chicane, otherwise we’d have fast corners all the way from T-1 to T-13!

  19. “stands will be positioned slightly further back from the track”


    1. So you can see more of the track from the grandstands, and I heard that they are planning on making the pit straight wider…

    2. They needed to make room for a larger run-off area around woodcote bend. The old run-off area was acceptable for F1, but not for the upcoming MotoGP race.

      1. Correctomundo…

  20. For more background on Populous.

    It was formerly called HOK sport, but the name was changed after a management buyout, HQ’ed in Kansas City, USA with other offices in the USA and overseas. They’re responsible mainly for baseball stadiums, including my hometown team the Phillies’ Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia PA. While ballparks may be the specialty (this is just an assumption since their in the majority) they build amazing Areans, football(USA) stadiums, International football stadiums, multipurpose training facilities and convention centers. All of their projects, old and new, are works of art. They also appeal not only to major sport franchises but also minor league teams.

    It’s nice to see they’re getting into race tracks. I don’t think they’ll disappoint. The grand stands will be nice, and the race control center will be a quality piece of art blending the old and new of Silverstone.

  21. I agree with Rob R: why don’t they remove this ugly Club wart-corner ? If they lack of run-off space, they should go right (not left) at turn 8…

    I admit T11 looks nice (much better than the former chicane), but loosing Bridge corner makes me sad…

    1. Club’s a really good corner. The fact that it opens gradually is why there’s so much overtaking at Bridge: if you can get the power down, you can get a good run at the car you’re chasing.

  22. Bebilou, I’m with you on Bridge corner.
    And also I would like a lot to see again the old Club corner. If by adding some new run off area this was feasible, I’d be really glad.
    Anyway the new lay out looks very good.

  23. I’m running the Silverstone Half Marathon in March – I wonder if the route will take in any of the new bits…

  24. I think the new layout looks interesting (a lot better than the Bahrain cornerfest addition), although it’s a shame it couldn’t still have incorporated Bridge somehow.

  25. And the straight between the new turns 15 and 16 is fairly long, must be a semi-reasonable chance of some overtaking into there.

  26. Very impressed.

    Only criticisms are they should cut out T8, and use gravel traps more.

    Apart from that it looks awesome. Are you paying attention Mr Tilke??

  27. According to Autosport:

    the new pitlane between Club aand Abbey will be complete for 2011, and it seems as if they’re the ones that’ll be used for F1

  28. Losing bridge is a shame, I’ll never forget seeing the Ferrari fly off in front of me in 08! That said it was never as good after they screwed up abbey.

    Those corners in the middle look a bit over tight, but if it makes the racing better, so be it. The average speed will probably go up as there are more straights!

    I’m spectatating at the new Abbey Corner this year, it looks to me like a 4th/5th gear flick, so quite fast.

    I still think they should do something with Luffield (bank it maybe?), rubbish corner, club is ok, but maybe they could use the faster entry version.

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