7 things you might not know about Silverstone
The Silverstone circuit has finally agreed on a five-year deal to continue to host the British Grand Prix. The contract was finalised after almost two years of negotiation and announced on the Wednesday before the British Grand Prix 2019. With the agreement securing the future of the oldest meeting in the sport until 2024, we look at some of the moments that made Silverstone the British institution it is today.
1. It started life as a WW2 Royal Air Force bomber station
The first mean machines to grace Silverstone were military planes, not racing cars. Post-war, the RAC leased the one-time airfield and turned it into the UK’s premier destination for motor racing. Its location, roughly in the centre of the country, was one of the reasons for their choice. The conversion from airfield to racing track was undertaken in just two months. When the first cars took to the track in 1948, they looped around a piggery and crop fields which were still in the centre of the track.
2. It can be lapped in 1.5 minutes…
… but only if you’re Lewis Hamilton. The British champion set a record for the fastest official race lap at Silverstone in 2017 in a Mercedes W08. His exact time was 1 minute and 30.621 seconds. Hamilton described the experience of driving the W08 as ‘like a kid on a rollercoaster ride’. He also set the fastest ever lap of the current circuit configuration was 1:25.892 recorded in qualifying for the 2018 British Grand Prix!
3. Maggotts Corner is the fastest of the lot
The attractively-named Maggotts is the speediest turn on the circuit, being taken flat-out at around 300km/h. It takes its name from Maggots Moor, a local wild spot. The interlinked Chapel and Beckett’s are named for the medieval saint Thomas Becket, whose chapel stood nearby. (Whether he was partial to high-speed sports is unknown.)
Corinthian Sports packages include tickets to the grandstand located right between Maggotts and the Wellington Straight, an exclusive spot reserved for our corporate hospitality guests
4. Silverstone only became full-time home to the British GP in 1987
The event was originally shared between Silverstone and Aintree, hence the honorary name of the Aintree corner. The tracks alternated years hosting the event from 1955 to 1962. From 1964 until 1986, Silverstone’s role as GP venue was shared with the equally legendary Brands Hatch.
5. It’s literally fit for a king
The 1950 F1 Grand Prix at Silverstone was attended by HRH King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, who turned out to mark the historic occasion of the first ever FIA Formula 1 World Championship. This was the first and only time a reigning monarch has attended a British GP race to date. The 1950 race was won by Dr Guiseppe Farina, driving an Alfa Romeo 158. He took home the princely sum of £500 in prize money.
6. It’s not technically champagne sprayed on the podium
After champagne brand Mumm withdrew its F1 sponsorship in 2016, the bottles on the podium for the winners were supplied by Chandon, and were chardonnay rather than champagne.
The tradition of spraying champagne from shaken up bottles started by accident in 1966, when Jo Siffert’s bottle was inadvertently shaken up and sprayed into the crowd at Le Mans.
For Corinthian guests wanting to raise a glass to the occasion, there’s a prosecco or champagne reception in our corporate hospitality suite to get your race-day experience off to a sparkling start.
7. Runners and cyclists also use the track
Maybe not as often as F1 cars, but the Silverstone venue holds running and cycling days, when the public can come and make the circuit using pedal power or their own two feet. It’s a golden opportunity for those who want to say they set foot on the hallowed track.
Corinthian Sports GP packages give you unparalleled access to the action