Exploring the circuit — World Series by Renault at Silverstone

Last month I attended the World Series by Renault event at Silverstone. I have become a big fan of the World Series by Renault. I have already recently enthused about its centrepiece event, the Formula Renault 3.5 series. So I was pretty excited to go and see it for real.

Despite having been massively interested in motorsport for over 15 years now, I have never managed to get myself to any kind of motorsport event before. I haven’t even been to watch a race at Knockhill, which is an hour down the road. So I was pretty excited to be making a trip to Silverstone to see some top-class international motorsport action.

First glimpse of the Wing

We entered the circuit on Saturday morning at the new Wing pit complex. It is a very impressive building to see in real life.

Daniël de Jong goes for a spin

While this is the location of the new international pit straight, World Series by Renault was using the old start–finish straight, so there was no bustle here. But the first piece of excitement was watching Daniël de Jong spin at Club corner during Formula Renault 3.5 qualifying.

My friend’s mission was to walk round the perimeter of the circuit, which I was all for. For this World Series by Renault event, you can freely walk in and out of almost any grandstand you choose. So during the qualifying session we made our way round the circuit, travelling anti-clockwise (the opposite direction to the cars).

Here is me posing at the bridge at Hangar Straight as though I am standing next to the pyramids of Egypt.

Standing at Hangar Straight

It is amazing how close you can get to the circuit at some points. I was dead proud I managed to take this photograph of Felix Serralles at the apex of Aintree during the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup qualifying session.

Felix Serralles

We continued on to Copse. Here there is a tunnel that goes underneath the circuit and leads to the inside. This is where most of the World Series by Renault action takes place. World Series by Renault is as much a festival of motorsport (or, more accurately, a festival of Renault) as a day at the races. That is underlined in this ‘village’. But I will write about that in a separate post.

After visiting the village, we walked along the national pit straight. All of the World Series by Renault pitlane action happens here. However, it is very difficult to see what is going on in the pitlane, even from high up in the grandstands.

But a little creative thinking enables you to see what is going on in the reflections from the pit building! This photograph is of Kevin Korjus being wheeled into his garage following Sunday’s Formula Renault 3.5 race.

In the pits

Bridge corner

We then went round Woodcote to visit the old Bridge corner. We were able to freely walk around this disused part of the circuit. It is pretty cool to walk across such an amazing, historic corner.

But it is also a bit sad. While I was taking a photograph of Bridge, I didn’t notice that a wheelie bin would be the most prominent feature of the photo! It kind of sums up what has become of Bridge.

I found the newer parts of the circuit harder to access. When walking round the perimeter, it is easy to completely skip past the new inner section. We didn’t manage to properly explore the Loop section until late on in the day.

You might wonder if we managed to watch much racing given all this wandering round! That will be the subject of a separate post to be published in the near future.

But the wandering round was certainly beneficial. We got a good feel for the best places to view. I can’t imagine there is a better place to sit than the stand at Becketts.

Views from the stand at Becketts

This photograph doesn’t demonstrate the best view available from this stand. I later discovered that by sitting further to the right, it is possible to see the entry to Maggotts, through Becketts, Chapel and the first part of the Hangar Straight. Then you can also see the ‘opposite’ end of the circuit, when it doubles back on itself at the Loop, then all the way along the full length of the Wellington straight. The end of the Wellington straight is very far away, but you can see it nonetheless.

When we sat up here for Saturday’s Formula Renault 3.5 race, there was almost always a car in view. Neatly, these two parts of the circuit are at exact opposite ends in terms of lap time, so you get an update on a car’s progress twice a lap in an even fashion. Brilliant stuff.