They've only just begun

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179

They’ve only just begun

A work in progress is how I described Silverstone last month, in the wake of a British Grand Prix that left some of our readers less than enthused by their ‘fan experience’ (see letters, page 40). The same goes for the Classic, it seems, which can stake a claim to the title of biggest race meeting ever at a circuit. In terms of the quality and quantity of cars on track and on display, this event, held two weeks after the GP, was an astounding achievement. But the traffic, the car parks and the split paddocks tested our patience, as Andrew Frankel

writes on page 115. Silverstone world-class? Not yet.

But you can’t say they’re not trying. Hot on the heels of the big summer events comes news of more development. The `Masterplan’, as it’s been dubbed, has only just begun.

If you find Silverstone unrecognisable now, go back in five years time. An ambitious planning application has been lodged with the district councils of Aylesbury Vale and Northants that would further transform the old airfield. They need to raise the money to build it, of course, but the crescent-shaped main entrance with its ‘welcome centre’, museum, hotels and so on looks impressive. That’s all very well, but what about the basics for the fans? Well, a massive permanent grandstand opposite the ‘Wing’, and a bridge and tunnel to improve pedestrian access should be good news for the paying spectator. The catchword for sports venues these days is to make them

‘destinations’. That was the aim of the major developments at the Niirburgring, a circuit whose heritage we celebrate in this issue. A roller-coaster that we’ve never seen run and a cavernous (and often empty) shopping mall are soulless warnings to Silverstone of how not to do it.

Intentions are sound at the home of British motor racing. The task is daunting, but the potential — for us all — should make it worth the mammoth effort and budget it will take. Nigel Roebuck and I saw Truth in 24 for the first time earlier this year, we were amazed. How had we missed this? As motor racing films go, this fly-on-the-wall documentary which follows Audi on its quest to win Le Mans in 2008 is up there with the very best. For me, it’s at least a match

for Senna, which has inspired so many people this year. Truth in 24 has never been released commercially in the UK. Now we’ve seen it, we feel compelled to champion it — which is why we’ve organised a very special viewing of the film in London on October 8. Tom Kristensen, Allan McNish and their engineer Howden Haynes — who totally steals the show, incidentally — will join us for what will be a terrific forum after the film. For more details, turn to page 46. The film made a huge impact on us all, and I hope you’ll join us to discover it for yourselves.

A week earlier, on October 1, we also invite you to join us at Brooklands for a special Bill Boddy Tribute Day. What better place to celebrate the life of our founder editor? A collection of suitable cars and special guests promise to make it a day to remember. For a special reader discount on admission, e-mail us [email protected], labelling your message `WB Tribute Day’. We look forward to seeing you there. Damien Smith, Editor

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