On January 9th the BRDC unveiled the new-look Silverstone, just five months after the first hole was put in the tarmac of the old circuit. Now measuring 3.202 miles, a slight increase over the 2.97 miles it originally was, the circuit has been significantly altered and designed to take the track through the next decade. The extent of the alterations are as follows:
Copse: The run-off area has been substantially increased by tightening the entry and re-routing the track. This has partly been done to reduce speeds at that part of the corner by obliging drivers to brake earlier, but as the exit is easier, average speeds through it should be little changed.
Maggotts: The run up to Maggotts is unchanged.
Becketts: Immediately after Becketts, heavy braking is required for the new Becketts complex which comprises a right-left-right series of fast sweepers.
Chapel: Chapel Curve and the Hangar Straight are unchanged, except for the traffic bridge that now spans the straight.
Stowe: The most daunting of high-speed corners has now been neutered and the indications are that it will now be taken in fourth in an Fl car.
The Vale: A gentle descent of which the spectators on the bank atop Stowe should get a good view.
Club: After the little kink in The Vale, there is a left flick of tightening radius before the haul back through Club via the double apex.
Abbey: Abbey is another of the unchanged sections although the cars will not carry so much speed through it after the modifications to Club.
Bridge: The most significant changes have been made here. Drivers of race cars will be confronted by what appears to be a bridge running smack along the surface of the road as they exit Abbey and go along Farm Straight, but as they near the new vehicle access bridge the road drops away and flicks through the slightly banked Bridge corner. The exit wall is perhaps a trifle close here, but cars will then pull hard over to the right for the ideal line to. . . .
Priory: which is the sharp left-hander which is followed almost immediately by. . . .
Brooklands: which is a similar corner.
Luffield is next, the double left taking cars back round the newer section. This has been straightened at its midpoint where there used to be a small wiggle.
Woodcote: That once-feared corner remains unchanged and leads cars round to the pit straight. Removal of the chicane will increase speed onto the straight.
Photographers should be delighted to learn that the earth banks in many places are now so high that it is possible to take photographs over the top of the debris fencing.
* * *
Motor Racing Show
Enjoying full support from Motoring News this year and expanding upon the success of the event at the same venue last year, Donington Park’s Motor Racing Show 1991 is boasting a wide variety of attractions for visitors. In addition to the exhibition hall, which itself houses over 50 competition cars including the World Championship McLaren and Al Unser Jr’s victorious Indycar Lola, there is the opportunity of visiting the fabulous Donington Collection, the world’s largest gathering of single-seater racing cars, at a special bargain price.
Yet the entertainment centres not just upon the buildings, but upon the track itself. There is the chance of being driven around the circuit in a Jim Russel Racing School Astra 16-valve whose chirf saloon instructor, double British Touring Car Champion Chris Hodgetts, will be on hand to demonstrate his skills. So to should be Anthony Reid, who finished third at Le Mans this year in a Porsche 962C.
In addition the C1 and C2 Spices which will be giving rides around the track and are already sold out, the Ferrari Owners’ Club will be present and has guaranteed that at least three F40s will be giving a sizzling alternative to the Group C machinery.
Kart fans are encouraged to visit the paddock where Class One Race Developments will be holding three days of practice and racing and those readers interested in autotesting will be able to join in with activities going on elsewhere. In the paddock where experienced aototester Malcolm Clark heads the line-up of drivers giving the public two-minute rides and demonstrations around a specially constructed course.
Finally the National Off-Road Association (NORA) is bringing the thrills of quad bike racing, which has been described as an exhilarating cross between motocross and BMX biking, to Donington. There will be the opportunity of having a go on one of these four-wheeled machines which are capable of speeds up to 100 mph.
The Show will be open to the public from Friday February 8 to Sunday February 10.
* * *
Monte Carlo Run
At 8am on Monday, February 11th the 2nd Monte Carlo Challenge will get underway with over 100 cars, ranging from a 1925 3-litre Bentley to a fleet of Austin A35s, setting out from Edinburgh Castle on a four-day journey to Monaco, En-route they will meet up with 30 cars which have departed the same time from Oslo.
The event, which is open to pre ’64 cars and where marks are lost for modern equipment such as halogen light bulbs, promises to be very tough with some sections requiring up to 20 hours at the wheel.