Posts Tagged ‘Silverstone’

Summer 2013 – Photo Scrapbook

September 8, 2013

A selection of images from this summer’s motorsport based shenanigans.

Scrubbing a Vanquish at Oulton Park.

Scrubbing a Vanquish at Oulton Park.

After the tragic passing of Alan Simonsen, we tried to honour him as best we could at the AMR Le Mans hospitality unit.

After the tragic passing of Alan Simonsen, we tried to honour him as best we could at the AMR Le Mans hospitality unit.

Rally Ypres takes over the whole town, electric atmosphere.

Rally Ypres takes over the whole town, electric atmosphere.

Alan Simonsen tribute sticker designed by Lillynd Design.

Alan Simonsen tribute sticker designed by Lillynd Design.

More Aston Martin GTs than you can shake a stick at. The grid for the awesome Festival race at Brand Hatch.

More Aston Martin GTs than you can shake a stick at. The grid for the awesome Festival race at Brand Hatch.

MotoGP, it doesn't matter what you drive, the appeal of a certain gentleman is universal.

MotoGP, it doesn’t matter what you drive, the appeal of a certain gentleman is universal.

The GT4 Challenge cars line up with the Dutch GTs in one of the Spa 24hr support races.

The GT4 Challenge cars line up with the Dutch GTs in one of the Spa 24hr support races.

Our view from the truck of the Spa 24hr, what a mega place.

Our view from the truck of the Spa 24hr, what a mega place.

Rally Ypres, cuts plus sump guards equals sparks.

Rally Ypres, cuts plus sump guards equals sparks.

Rally Ypres, the locals were fully lit for the whole event.

Rally Ypres, the locals were fully lit for the whole event.

Freddie Liox using as little of the road as possible

Freddie Liox using as little of the road as possible

Silverstone, Moto 2, a field of utter, utter lunatics.

Silverstone, Moto 2, a field of utter, utter lunatics.

Scott Redding on his way to winning the Silverstone round of Moto 2

Scott Redding on his way to winning the Silverstone round of Moto 2

The Doctor at Silverstone, biggest cheers of the weekend.

The Doctor at Silverstone, biggest cheers of the weekend.

Local hero Cal Crutchlow flying through Becketts.

Local hero Cal Crutchlow flying through Becketts.

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Imitation is the highest form of flattery – Austin’s F1 Greatest Hits

September 2, 2010

Imitation is the highest form of flattery.

Yesterday the proposed layout for the new Austin F1 track was revealed. When the promoters stated a few months back that they were seeking inspiration in existing circuits, it turns out that they weren’t joking. The track seems to be a collection of corners from a ‘Greatest Hits’ album of the world’s racetracks. The diagram below highlights the sections in question. The Maggots/Becketts section could also be likened to Suzuka’s first sector and the Hockenheim and Istanbul sections are also unmistakable.

Mr Tilke has had some hits and misses in recent years, creating some hugely entertaing and challenging tracks one year (Istanbul) then turgid, precession generators (Bahrain) the next. I know the current aero regs are partly to blame, but his output has been a mixed bag. With the Austin track he seems, to my mind anyway, have struck gold as a ‘curator’ rather than a ‘creator’. What a fantastic jigsaw puzzle, taking your pick of the world’s great corners and piecing them together to form a new and unique circuit. This layout is augmented by some dramatic elevation changes, with sector 1 looking particularly spectacular thanks to a climb up to turn one with the track falling away afterwards.

It’s fun to think what other corners might have been discarded as options. Obviously the track needs to flow and remain coherent, so something like Spa’s Au Rouge leading in to Laguna Seca’s Corkscrew sounds awesome but probably wouldn’t work in practice. It’s an intriguing way to go about designing a circuit, but not one that you would want repeated too often. Stringing together these great corners does not guarantee lots of overtaking, potentially quite the opposite, but there’s enough variation for both quick, barnstorming corners and slower, overtaking places.

Overall, I’m very glad that F1 is returning to the US, it’s about time and the fact that the track looks so interesting means that 2012 could well be a year to look forward too.

BTCC Silverstone

August 22, 2010

Just a wee quick one.

I made a quick trip over to Silverstone for the Saturday of the race weekend. I couldn’t make race day and fancied a gander at Quali and the airshow that the circuit was laying on. I had a quick whistle stop tour of the Team Aon hospitality and pit garage then watched Qualifying from the Copse A & B grandstands.

Hello TC

The airshow was curtailed by the weather unfortunately. Both the Spitfire and the Vulcan had to cancel due to appalling fog in the south of the country, a real shame as I was very much looking forward to seeing the Vulcan (plane geek as well as car geek you see). The show was still good, the Yaks put on an interesting, display and the Extra 330 stunt plane was fantastic.

The Yak display team

An airborne handbrake turn.

For me the most evocative aircraft on display was the P51-D Mustang, probably the greatest single engined fighter of the second world war. The noise was wonderous, the P51 (D) used the same ‘Merlin’ engine as the Spitfire. It’s a 27L, supercharged V12 and it was spine tingling. The triumvirate of a deep, V12 roar coupled with the whine of a massive supercharger and the prop tips whistling as they went supersonic was breathtaking. I enjoyed that sentence.

I wish I could post the sound on here.

The Qualifying action was great, plenty of incident with the Fords looking imperious. So imperious in fact that due to being over 0.5s quicker than anyone else, TOCA once again reduced thier engine’s power output via a smaller air restrictor and lower turbo boost pressure.

James Nash slams on approaching Becketts.

I like qualifying days, I still maintain that they’re the best way to see F1 if you need to see it live. The atmosphere is relaxed and there’s simply more space to move about.

Matt Jackson

Full set of BTCC shots: http://www.flickr.com/photos/38587975@N00/sets/72157624658158795/

So yeah, a quick one like I said, next event will probably be Trax on 5th September. Hopefully see you then.

British Drift Championship (pro) Rd.2

May 24, 2010

British Drift Championship (pro) Rd.2

Silverstone hosted round 2 of the British Drift Championship on Sunday 23rd May. The drifting was running as part of the Japanese Tuning Show (more on that later). I was especially enthusiastic to see the drifting due to the track changes at the circuit. The drifting took place on the Brooklands/Luffield/Woodcote complex. Brooklands has been opened up during the recent circuit developments, creating a faster, wider corner. Before the event, the BDC organisers were predicting entry speeds of 100 mph, a pretty serious prospect when at this point, and speed one of the techniques to initiate a drift is to simply yank the handbrake. Oh yes, I HAD to see this.

The pro field offered a great mix of machinery. From Mk2 Ford Escorts and classic Toyota Starlets via a host of Nissan Silvias and a Toyta Supra, reported to be running 700 bhp. There was a clear gap between the tops guys and ‘the rest’, but that can be said of most motorsports. Throughout the day, the qualifying sessions whittled down the 40 or so drivers down to the top 16.

The top 16 battles (pairs of cars drifting together to nick points off each other) were thrilling to behold. The judges award a split of the points based on the drivers sticking to the lines and clipping points as instructed, but also on speed, angle, noise and of course, smoke. Every so often, one of the competitors would hit the perfect drift, a full 90 degrees to the corner, on full lock, but also on full power. Amazing precision and aggression. In one of his qualifying runs, Phil Morrison from Driftworks put the car so side ways at Brooklands that he entered the corner facing backwards, but he kept his foot in and achieved an incredible score. Vid here: http://vimeo.com/11972299

The battles between the differing cars was fascinating too. Declan Munnelly in the green Mk 2 got some impressive scalps, despite having ‘only’ about 250 bhp. When he came up against Shane Lynch, yes, him out of Boyzone’s Twin Turbo V8 powered Nissan however, his plucky run came to an end. Declan is always a crowd pleaser and was managing some insane angles all day, he eventually shared 3 place with Phil Morrison.

The end result was a 1-2 for Team Japspeed, both in S15 Silvias. The winner was Danny Eyles with the runner up, Shane Lynch a close 2nd. It was an afternoon of incredible action, I can’t recommend drifting highly enough. No it’s not for everyone, but it might be for you.

It’s a shame that the event was marred by a few other factors though. Crowd attendance was appalling, probably down to Japfest being held at Castle Combe only a week before and the fact that the tickets weren’t exactly cheap at £20 on the gate. The actual JTS show was very small, which after being billed as having ‘1000s of cars’ on show was particularly disappointing. There wouldn’t have been 1000s of cars if you’d included those in Silverstone village as well. While the car displays were small, there was a few gems hidden amongst them, but if it hadn’t been for the drifting, there wouldn’t really have been much reason to bother.

The other, main problem was the scheduling. The drifting finals were timetabled for between 4-6pm, so a 2 hr slot. They started pretty much on time but soon delays started to creep in with mechanical issues etc. The BDC have a ‘five minute rule’ whereby if a car isn’t at its start point within 5 minutes of its allotted time then it’s disqualified, a rule which works well.

However, it didn’t work well enough as before the 3rd place run off and the final battle could be run, 6pm struck and all track activity had to stop. They sent through Danny and Shane on one run to decide the final result (they’d normally do 2 runs, taking it in turns to lead). Declan and Phil had to share 3rd place as they didn’t even get a run. This was a disappointing end to the day, and one which needn’t have happened. I can’t understand the logic of running the feature event at the end of the timetable, meaning that any delays are likely to impact the main reason for the spectators attending. It’s lead to a bit of ill feeling amongst the fans, which is fair enough. That said, noise limits and curfews are there for a reason and must be adhered to . I’ve heard stories that in the past the circuit once broke the 6pm curfew by only 6 mins but was fined £45,000 for it. Why oh why wasn’t the drifting run an hour earlier, with one of the public track sessions run at the end of the day instead? Shame.

I don’t want to end on a sour note, so I wont. It was a brilliant day and the BDC goes all over the country, other, smaller venues are cheaper than at places like Silverstone, so if you want to experiment then maybe try elsewhere first.

That said, seeing a car entering Brooklands backwards at 90+ mph whilst in total control sure takes some beating.

http://www.thebritishdriftchampionship.com/

FIA GT WIN

May 3, 2010

I was back at Silverstone again this weekend because the FIA GT circus was in town. It’s an event that I always enjoy, even if the time of year that it’s held often leads to some pretty unpleasant weather…

Look, look! Sunshine AND overtaking!

Amazingly, the weather held all day bar a few spots mid afternoon, even the ambient temperature was quite pleasant. I gather it was far more typical on the sunday though. I could only make the Saturday this year, but fortunately, thanks to the event’s  multi-race format, we all still got to see some top class GT racing. The format has changed quite a bit these days. The GT1 World Championship now features two 1 hour races, each with a mandatory driver change. Now, an hour long race isn’t exactly in the spirit of ‘Grand Touring’ is it? That said, it does mean that the field is closer together for more of the race, so you get to see more overtaking than you would with a multi-hour race like before. I’m in favour of this, if I want strung out battles of attrition I’ll watch some Le Mans Series instead. It somehow seems right that these supercars get to have a right good dust up, they sound aggressive and muscular and just what the racing is like.

I'm totally smitten with with Sumo Power GTRs

SRO (the event promoters) have done a bloody good job in rejuvenating the GT1 class. We were down a car due to the qualifying accident in Dubai involving one of the Matech Ford GTs. However the grid still consisted of Aston Martins DBR9s, Ford GTs, Lamborghini Murcielagos, Maserati MC12s, Nissan GTRs and Chevrolet Corvette C6.Rs. The series is in rude health, great news given the recent financial climate and international level GT racing ain’t exactly cheap. I must also mention the GT3 class. This year it’s offering an enormous variety of machinery (even with the Ford Mustangs having to sit it out due to homologation issues). It’s another sign than international motorsport is putting the last 18 months behind it and really getting in to its stride again.

The All-Inkl Lambos did this all day. Brilliant.

I spent most of my time at the new Arena section of the revitalised Silverstone Grand Prix circuit. The response to the new layout was mixed, some in favour, some not. Though racing drivers moaning isn’t exactly news, there are some sizeable bumps on the way through the now super-fast Abbey right hander. These will need to be smoothed over before the F1 boys get here or Mr Ecclescake won’t be a happy chappy.

Abbey corner, a hell of a quick place to bin it now.

The tight new bends ‘Village’ and ‘The Loop’ provided some good overtaking throughout the day, so that’s a positive move for the circuit. If huge GT cars can have a tussle through them, smaller, nimbler cars should have a field day.

One of the Vitaphone MC12s engages reheat.

Most importantly of all, the racing was very good. I normally go to watch GT racing for the shear spectacle of the cars themselves. For my money, GT racing offers THE BEST noise you can possibly get from motor racing so that fact that the racing was close and exciting really made it a brilliant day all round.

Some GT3 love to finish:

*Hi-Res versions at my Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/38587975@N00/sets/72157623859122903/