The Home of British Motor Racing and the venue for the first Formula 1 World Championship Grand Prix in 1950; Silverstone is not only steeped in history, but is also renowned by racers the world over for its challenging, high-speed layout. It’s also the location for our first Supercar Trackday of 2019 on May 1. If you’ve never been, here’s some advice from Greystone GT Senior Driver– and British GT Champion racing driver – Tim Mullen on how to make the most of your time on-track.
Turn 1 – Abbey
One of the fastest corners in the UK and scene of many spectacular first-turn battles at the British Grand Prix since the circuit was revised in 2010. Approaching from high speed, position your car to the left hand side and brake in a straight line look ahead for your braking point. Brake lightly and avoid upsetting the balance of the car. At the turn-in point, steer smoothly and apply a small amount of balanced (constant) throttle to the apex. From the apex onwards, start to accelerate smoothly. Don’t run too wide on the exit because…
Turn 2 – Farm
…is already upon you. Looking well ahead from Abbey and spotting the apex, smoothly ease off the throttle on entry, before smoothly increasing throttle again from mid-corner onwards. This will keep the car stable. Don’t run out too far on the right as it will significantly compromise your entire corner strategy for the next section.
Turns 3-4-5 – Village/Loop/Aintree
The slowest section of the lap, but also one of the most demanding. Treat it as one section, as your strategy through one corner will affect how you tackle the next. Brake hard and brake late, positioning yourself as far left as possible. Trail-braking helps you to brake later and retain greater control on entry. This is a tight corner so be patient before applying the throttle, allow the car to complete the main part of the turn before accelerating smoothly.
Get as far right as you can, then brake firmly for the left-handed ‘Loop’ while keeping an eye on your apex. Avoiding trail-braking here and exit smoothly using all available track space on the right as this will optimise your entry for Turn 5 – Aintree – which should require no braking. Concentrate on achieving a good exit onto the long Wellington Straight.
Turn 6 – Brooklands
The Wellington straight is long, so you have plenty of time to think about your braking point. You can use trail-braking here. Look for a late apex, and only use three quarters of the available track width on the exit of to ensure that the entry to Turn 7 isn’t compromised.
Turn 7 – Luffield
A long corner that seems to last forever, treat it as two corners in one. A bit of entry trail-braking will help you hit the first apex, then let the car run a metre or two wide. Don’t apply the throttle too early as this can cause understeer (front of car losing grip). Patience is key as you aim for a second apex. Once you hit the second apex, accelerate smoothly towards Woodcote and the long straight that follows.
Turn 8 – Woodcote
One of the fastest corners on the track and more of a kink actually. At the start of the day you should apply the brakes on entry, but as you build confidence you will find that braking isn’t required for this corner in most cars in good conditions. When you do brake, do so lightly and smoothly as this is a high-speed corner. Release the brakes before you turn to avoid destabilising the car. The apex is hidden behind the barrier on the inside, making it difficult to see the exit so be careful as it will take a few laps to feel comfortable at this corner. After turning into the corner, apply a light balanced throttle to the apex then accelerate out of the corner.
Turn 9 – Copse
The old first corner; the close proximity of the barrier on the inside means the entry is completely blind. This makes it one of the most important turns in terms of preparation. Lining up on the left side, brake early and smoothly releasing the brake fully before turning in. As this is another high-speed corner – you guessed it – smooth throttle application is required. You’ll probably take longer to feel comfortable here than at any other corner. Don’t worry; we’ve all been there.
Turns 10-14 – Maggots/Becketts/Chapel
One of the greatest sequences of corners anywhere in the world. Lewis Hamilton even said so himself! Naturally, it’s a huge challenge. Build yourself up gradually through here as the turns are interlinked, meaning your exit from one has a direct bearing on how you enter the next. Approach on the right and turn in to the left-handed Turn 10. Don’t brake until you’ve straightened-up and are heading for the apex, and then it should be a light and smooth process. Release the brakes and turn right into 11, which will already be upon you. Don’t use more than three quarters the track on exit, but don’t worry about getting fully over to the right on the approach to Turn 12; it’s not possible without scrubbing off way too much speed. A light application of the brakes is necessary for Turn 12, and you should again release smoothly before turn-in to prevent destabilising the car. After the apex and don’t allow the car to run further than half-way across the track as will ruin your entry to the right-hander that follows. Provided your entry position for Turn 13 (about three-quarters of the way to the left) is good and your throttle application is smooth, you can use all the track on exit and accelerate through Turn 14 - Chapel - and onto the Hangar Straight, being careful not to run too wide as it is easy to end up on the grass on the exit.
Turn 15 – Stowe
One of the world’s most famous corners. Having had a breather and relaxed your hands down the Hangar Straight, brake hard in a straight line initially and then ease off the pedal to help settle the car before turning in off the brakes. There’s a late apex so don’t turn in too soon. Once into the turning process, use some light throttle to retain stability and then start looking towards the exit, which is visible as soon as you arrive at the apex. Looking ahead, as always, will help you judge your steering and throttle levels on exit.
Turns 16-18 – Vale/Club
Turn 16 is the biggest stop on the track with a downhill entry making it even trickier, while the complexity of the double-right at Vale means you should treat this as one sequence. On the approach stay right and brake hard. If your car is equipped with ABS, this could be triggered by the sheer number of bumps here. Some trail-braking will help the turn-in, and be careful of your entry speed to prevent running wide which will compromise your entry to Turn 17. A short-shift between Turns 16 and 17 will help settle the car and you shouldn’t need to brake again for the remainder of the lap. Instead, ease off the power as you head into 17 and turn in then accelerate smoothly on exit. There is negative camber at Turn 18, and this can cause understeer on entry and oversteer on exit. Look ahead and spot your turning point as early as possible. Ease off the throttle and turn into the corner before accelerating smoothly towards the exit. The exit to T18 can be hazardous, it has been known for drivers to lose concentration and control of their cars resulting in a spin. Maintain concentration! Once safely on the final straight, straighten the steering wheel as soon as possible and head for the Start/Finish line.
For more information on Greystone GT or to reserve your spot at Silverstone, please visit https://www.greystonegt.com/book-now.