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Silverstone debrief: A fan posts a question, the architect replies

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Silverstone debrief: A fan posts a question, the architect replies
Jul 14, 2010, 5:25 PM

As part of our look back at the British Grand Prix weekend, looking at fans' experiences of Silverstone we had a post left by Robert yesterday, rai...

As part of our look back at the British Grand Prix weekend, looking at fans' experiences of Silverstone we had a post left by Robert yesterday, raising the following question,

"Why is the pit lane in the new Club/Abbey complex so low ? Even with a grandstand opposite it will not be possible to see the cars, as the pitwall obscures the pitlane as it sits lower than the race track. Check it out please James. I thought the idea was to create a pit lane like Monaco where the main grandstand has a direct view onto the pit lane. Seems odd to me."

Drew McDonald, the designer of the new Silverstone corners saw the comment on this site and responded as follows:

"As one of the design team and specifically the track designer at Populous the answer regarding sightlines to the pitlane is simple. We always love to give great sightlines, that’s why all the stands this year were raised. We prompted, calculated and tested in CAD all the sightlines for Silverstone. For example we made sure this year you could see into the existing pits from the first row of the stand to the back row.

"However the new pits are located where the track level changes 5m over the new start/finish straight. To raise only one end costs in excess of £3 million. Silverstone want to run two pitlanes from a business point of view, hence the location. Therefore the entry of the pitlane is extremely visible as it’s actually higher than the wall and the exit is lower. That said, if you do sit at Abbey you will have an amazing view of the cars exiting the pitlane and arriving at the midpoint of Farm Corner, and a straight drag race to Village will develop. It will add a new and exciting dimension to the pitlane.

"If you want to see the action sit at Club, you may have noticed the building is at an angle relative to the track. This opens the sightline all the way down the pitlane for both Spectators and race control. Only Paul Ricard in France does this and now Silverstone.

"One final comment, the new circuit was designed for not only MotoGP and F1, but it’s designed to work best for next year’s start/finish straight, imagine they can go 2 abrest through Abbey and Farm, much like Copse, Maggotts, Becketts, but arrive at Village at less than half the speed followed by The Loop. Loads of first lap overtaking…..

"Hope you all enjoyed this year, I think next year will only be better. I’ve done the track but my colleagues have designed a stunning 335m long building and the best bit has yet to be built…..

For more on the thinking behind the changes, here is another look at a video interview with Drew and his boss John Rhodes I shot before the GP weekend.

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