As I described in my previous post, early on Saturday morning we ventured underneath the tunnel at Copse to head towards the World Series by Renault ‘village’. This is where all the bustle is.
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’. There is so much to do here. World Series by Renault is a great event for families, with plenty of stuff for kids to do.
There is a Renault F1 area, where they fire up the engine and get it to ‘sing’ God Save the Queen.
It’s mildly entertaining the first time you hear it. But this engine is so loud you can hear it for miles away and the novelty soon wears thin!
Another draw in this area is the stand of classic Renault Sport cars. The highlight is the awesomely streamlined-looking Étoile Filante, an experimental car that drew heavily on aeronautic technologies.
Across from the classic cars is a stage with display versions of each of the Renault cars that were racing at Silverstone that weekend — Formula Renault 3.5, Formula Renault 2.0, Mégane Trophy V6 and the Clio. Alongside them are a couple of concept cars. These are a bit too stylish-looking for their own good, but interesting to see anyway.
I was beginning to wonder quite why this area was so crowded. Someone was banging on about how if I wanted autographs I need to join the queue at the back. A little while later I turned round, and there was Renault F1 reserve and test driver Romain Grosjean shaking a Sharpie around!
I am quite sure that, even across two days, we did not see everything that was worth seeing in the village.
Just next to the village is the paddock, where you can wander pretty freely. Here there were loads of Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup cars parked up after their qualifying session.
I was tempted to stick my head into the Fortec Motorsports garage. But just as I was about to crane my neck, an angry mechanic stormed past me and slammed the door behind him! I played things more conservatively from then on.
When we visited the paddock again on the Sunday, I managed to have a peek into the pitlane. There we saw Côme Ledogar waiting to go out during the qualifying session. He always seemed to be on the verge of getting going, but never did while I was there.
The World Series by Renault organisers also put on a great show on the track in between the races. The schedule is jam-packed on both days from 9am until after 6pm. The track is almost never empty. Combined with the attractions in the ‘village’, there is no way a petrolhead will get bored. This is especially brilliant considering the tickets are free.
Between races, a number of demonstration runs take place. There were at least five demonstration runs of the Renault R30 F1 car, driven by Romain Grosjean and Jan Charouz. It is the first time I have ever seen an F1 car driving at speed, and it is quite something else in comparison to everything else I saw during the weekend.
Romain Grosjean put on a good show, doing lots of doughnuts for the fans on the pit straight. Unfortunately I never managed to get myself in a really good position to see it. I managed to get a slightly hazy photo from Copse.
There is also a ‘Renault Sport Show’ (which is basically synchronised swimming on wheels) and Jean Ragnotti doing his automotive magic tricks in his Renault 5.
But the main draw of the weekend is of course the racing itself. That will be the subject of my next post.