Date : December 2005
Car : 996
Track Day ability : Beginner
The full Grand Prix circuit is the one to do, which adds to the event from everything that you may have seen on tv before !
Another half hour session on off event, where such sessions do work especially if you're experienced enough to avoid the no-mirrors bridgage but you do need a powerful car to stay at the pace of the more experienced machinery, otherwise you spend most of the lap watching what's coming up behind !!
Instruction is a MUST if you've never done the GP before as it is very easy to miss all of the ideal lines as the track (perfect surface quality!) in most parts is very wide, which makes it very safe ! Obviously there a few small run off areas and the odd concrete barrier waiting to say hello, but the width allows you to make a mistake and still be on the black stuff, rather than most other tracks where there is only 1 line ! but overall the design of the circuit is very safe, run off areas are cleverly designed, etc. I also learnt that you can also take a bit of kerb (only a bit) so rather than avoiding them like all other circuits, this adds to the track day experience.
Technically the circuit is very challenging with the track flow keeping ou entertained, especiallly for a fast and powerful vehicle, but in my mere 996 (!) the straights were quite long and I did feel I was waiting for the next corner as the day wore on.
It also does take a while to get around, which also means it is moderately heavy on the brakes but the flow of the circuit means there aren't actually many heavy braking points due to the high speed nature of the circuit, but as always you still have to keep an eye on the brakes!
Tyres pressure settings are vital on the Silverstone GP circuit, so make sure you have the correct track setting, as the odd red flag (and the cold temps on the day) meant it took a few sessions before I finallly got the tyres at the correct track setting.
Overall there is mixed opinions on Silverstone, but it is after all the British GP Venue with 1st rate Pit Garages (as one would expect) and proper catering, with a good section of track day photographers (if only they had taken snaps looking down the pit straight! when I was there!) very recommended.
Have only ever done the GP circuit. Would agree the facilities are first rate and being an F1 venue the run offs, together with the track width gives a good confidence feel.... A bit flat and featureless but the complexity and changes make up for that.
When it's damp/wet watch out for wetter areas at the end of the Hangar Straight, just where you really need to brake hard! and the entry to the start/finish straight.... which is a bit of a curve.... which has caught out more than a few and often results in a visit to the concrete pit wall!
For a beginner, while Silverstone is big enough (generally) to recover from a mistake without grief, the track is so wide that it can feel like driving around a car park. It doesn't help that it is so flat. If the organisers put out entry/apex/exit cones this can help a great deal.
Copse is brilliant and can be taken at spectacular speed (provided it is dry and the tyres are warm)
Maggotts/Becketts is great fun, particularly if there is a bit of suppleness in the suspension.
The rest of the track feels a bit like vast straights ending with big breaking sessions for relatively sharp corners.
Bridge tends to command some attention as it can be taken quite fast but can also end in tears if it goes wrong.
Luffield is so slow that you feel like you could get out and walk but is good fun trying to establish the edge of what grip is available.
As noted above - be very careful of standing water any where on the track, but the start finish curve is particularly treacherous. There seems to be a river that runs across it just at the point of total commitment. Having a car go sideways on you at 100mph (even if it is only a little tweak) does tend to exercise muscles in the lower body area you didn't know you had.
Silverstone is a fine circuit (GP circuit was what I used) with very modern facilities, but I'm not sure it thrills and excites as much as some circuits. It is wide and open in places, so feels as if you are the welly boot being thrown down the high street, and there isn't a lot of change of gradient etc. It is good for safety, so features and landmarks tend to be further away, lending to the feeling of isolation until you get back to the pit straight (this is, of course, also a good thing).
The big question is... is it worth the money, as it is normally quite an expensive circuit to drive? I would say yes, but not very often. It is a circuit you must experience for its heritage, but not one that will have you wanting to go back to it time and again.
If you want to play, go to Bedford or an airfield. If you want fun, Donington or even Castle Combe may entertain more. And you'll be saving money at all of them.
User Review-5 wrote:
"Feel like Hamilton at about 1/4 of the speed."
Silverstone, well, it's got to be done hasn't it. At the end of the day, unless you're in something really ballistic it's not very rewarding. Plus points are plenty of run off and excellent facilities, but at a more moderate pace you're hard pushed to feel that you're actually pushing on a bit.
Copse was more fun until they replaced the gravel with tarmac run-off. Now you can attack it without fear. The complex at Brooklands and Luffield are the most technically demanding on an otherwise straightforward circuit.
User Review-6 wrote:
It's a tricky one Silverstone. It's so fast, and so wide, that at the speed we mortals drive it's virtually impossible to get the same line on any given corner lap by lap.
The circuit is very demanding, as the corners are very very fast, and you can misjudge your speed as you approach a tighter corner like Abbey.
Having said that - run off's are massive, and there are less gravel traps these days (although the cat litter is still there ready to bruise the ego).
I love Bridge, Maggots is a blast and I've not yet even worked out how the hell to take the final 4 corners without screwing at least one of them up.. but tradition, facilities, quality of track surface and parking in the same garage as the F1 cars make Silverstone a great day out.
Date : May 2008
Car : 964 C2
Track Day ability : Getting there
Conditions: Extremely wet!
I have been looking forward to doing this for ages and I can now say it must be one of the most 911 friendly tracks around.
I had instruction and although the conditions were treachorous, the instructor (Scott from Goldtrack) showed me the dry line as it was my first time there. I was glad I took the instruction because I feel I would have got lost round there and got frustrated trying to find the flow. With instruction you realise just how this circuit really, really flows.
Copse is pretty much blind because of the pit wall but very fast when you get the confidence to use all the track. Once through there it's power all the way to Maggots where you clip the first apex and brake and then straight line the next two apexes. Then a late apex in Becketts sets you up for the Chapel apex allowing you to get on the power very early for the Hangar straight where it's a case of nailing it and drifting gradually to the left for the next corner (Stowe).
From there it's on to Club corner but don't brake too late as it's very easy to miss the turn in to Club. This corner seems to go on forever because it's pretty slow compared to what has gone before. You have to wait patiently to get back on the power. Once out of there, nail it down to Abbey. Here you can turn in quite early to create a straight line for the next right hander. Use all the track on the exit and fly down to bridge. At bridge a dab of the brakes settles the car and then you can power all the way round to Priory. It's amazing how fast this corner is.
After priory it's the slowest section of the track, Luffield. A really late turn in at the first part of the complex sets you up for the rest of the corner where you essentially hug the inside of the bend and drift out to the left on the exit. Finally you're at Woodcote, a very fast right hander that takes you onto the pit straight. It's fast but tightens on the exit and there is no room for a mistake on the left. Definitely the most dangerous part of the circuit so don't go for glory over the finish line or you might not make it.
I did the GP circuit a couple of weeks back as part of a bigger 911uk group, and what a superb experience! This is not a cheap track to drive, but the facilities are excellent and the track itself I thought was magnificent. Overall well worth the extra costs compared to other tracks.
This was my second ever trackday and what a contrast to Bedford the month before. The theatre of track driving was all there - the cool drive-thru open garages, the pitlane, the iconic bridge with "Silverstone" written on it - all in all a great visual spectacle and a place that actually looks like a race track.
Also, worth saying there was very little hassle with regards to noise limits. Limits seem to be enforced, but on an exceptions basis - e.g. they don't waste time noise testing everyone before going on track, rather it's down to you to make sure you're not so noisey you get black flaged and thrown out. Good policy I thought.
The briefing in the main Wing building at the beginning of the day was very good - us novices were made to feel especially welcome which I thought was a nice touch.
The track is wide and very fast as you would expect from a GP circuit, and there's loads of places where you can properly stretch the cars legs. Highlights for me was the Maggots-Becketts-Chapel bends that launch you into the Hangar Straight. Such a great feeling going through those bends and then accelarating hard down the straight.
The worst thing about the trackday was knowing the drive home would be on normal roads at normal speeds.... how boring....
All in all, a fantastic track, I look forward to going back again _________________ 2007 997.1 GT3
2009 BMW X5 30d
All times are GMT - 12 Hours
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