May 17th (F1plus Team).- The British Silverstone Circuit has officially open its new paddock and pit lane area, which is known as “the wing”.
His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent, KG, who is also President in Chief of the BRDC, formally opened the new building that represents the second stage of a multi-million pound investment in the Home of British Motor Racing and heralds an exciting new era for British motor sport.
The new construction follows last year’s major expansion of the track, with Formula 1 racing on the Arena Circuit for the first time Also the start-finish line moved from between Woodcote and Copse to between Club and Abbey.
The building, costing £27 million, was opened by HRH the Duke of Kent in front of a large contingent of motor sport names past and present. At 16,500 sq ft the facility is significantly larger than its predecessor.
The Northamptonshire circuit, which hosted the first ever Formula 1 race in 1950, now hopes to retain all-time status in the World Championship.
Visited on Tuesday by a selection of well-known faces like Stirling Moss, Jackie Stewart, John Surtees, Nigel Mansell, BRDC President Damon Hill and current racers Jenson Button and Mark Webber. Also present - amongst several others - were team heads Frank Williams, Christian Horner and Ross Brawn plus David Coulthard, BBC anchorman Jake Humphrey, legendary commentator Murray Walker and multiple MotoGP Champion Valentino Rossi.
“This is wonderful,” said BBC commentator Martin Brundle. “It’s the result of hard work by the BRDC (British Racing Drivers’ Club, circuit owners). It looks great and is a milestone. This is now the center of the racing world.”
The development has helped to secure the long-term future of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone after the circuit’s management was able to sign a new deal to host the race for 17 years in late 2009. BRDC chairman Damon Hill, who has been actively pursuing improvements to the facilities since taking over the position in 2006, commented that it had been crucial for Silverstone to match the standards set at new tracks such as Abu Dhabi and Shanghai.
"It's very important for everyone we've managed to do this," Hill said. "We've had people putting up palaces around the world, so it's fantastic we've got this facility
The Wing will bring income to the circuit all year round, being able to hold up to 4,000 people in conference and catering facilities, as well as being home to the new pit garages and pit lane. Silverstone managing director Richard Phillips also said 50,000 seats will have been relocated over the last 18 months as in order to provide a better spectator experience.
Few building and construction figures:
- The Silverstone Wing measures 390 metres in length.
- The build programme, from start to finish, will be 54 weeks (end of April 2010, to Spring of 2011).
- Up to 110 personnel work on site at any one time.
- Total man-hours in the construction phase of the project expected to reach 260,000.
- The height of the ‘blade’ measures 30 metres.
- The roof area spans 9,700 square metres.
- 1,200 tons of steel has been erected in and around the building.
- Approximate floor space for ‘functional areas’: 41 garages covering 6,200 square meters; Media Centre covers 2,780 square meters; Spectator and hospitality zones cover 8,200 square meters; Race Control covers 950 square metres.