BRENTWOOD, September 14, 1999: Silverstone's International circuit has proved a major hit with competitors and spectators since its inauguration. Overtaking opportunities are plentiful and action guaranteed. It's adrenaline all the way from...
BRENTWOOD, September 14, 1999: Silverstone's International circuit has proved a major hit with competitors and spectators since its inauguration. Overtaking opportunities are plentiful and action guaranteed. It's adrenaline all the way from Woodcote to Becketts, and cars often come through Abbey three abreast. Ford Team Mondeo's Alain Menu takes us on a lap of the circuit.
"At the start of the lap you pass the start-finish line in fifth gear before hitting sixth and the rev limiter just before the braking point for the first corner. Copse is a fast right-hander taken in fifth at around 100mph. Although the surface is flat here, you still need to be careful not to run too wide on exit, but can use the flat kerbs to keep the power on.
"On the long run up through Maggotts to Becketts you reach speeds in excess of 135mph. At Becketts, the first kink is taken flat in sixth before dabbing the brakes and dropping a gear for the right-hander. This is the trickiest part of the circuit as you go back on the throttle, then brake hard and down to second whilst cornering. The car always oversteers at this point and it is very easy to overdo it and spin off. On the turn-in to Becketts, you can use the kerbs, but not too much as you don't want to upset momentum. A good exit is very important as you now enter the fastest part of the circuit.
"This is the only bumpy part of the circuit and a good place to overtake as you approach the tight first gear hairpin, Abbey. Then you run down to Bridge, a right-hander taken almost flat in fifth. On entry you can't see the exit as you go uphill slightly. You could take the corner flat here, but you would run wide on exit and find yourself on the wrong side of the track for Priory.
"Priory is taken in third gear, then it's back on the throttle again before quickly braking again for the second gear tight left Brooklands corner, then back on the throttle again briefly before the Luffield right hander.
"It is very easy to lose time under braking here as you need to brake late, but keep the car tidy as you don't want the car to understeer. For Luffield - probably the longest hairpin in British motor sport - you can turn in early or late. Through the corner, it feels like you are on the inside line forever in second gear at about 70-75mph. You need a clean exit here using the kerb to build momentum for the long run past the Pits Straight to the finish line."