The British home of Formula 1 racing perhaps isn’t the shiniest racetrack, with the surreal setting of city tracks – but it’s one of the most historical, with its origins in WW2. With the 2023 Silverstone Grand Prix speeding towards us (taking place on 9 July 2023), here’s everything you need to know about the stalwart British racetrack.
The Ultimate Guide To Silverstone Grand Prix
The History Of Silverstone
Picture the scene: it’s September 1947, you live in a small village called Silverstone in Northamptonshire, and your name is Maurice Geoghegan. You and 11 friends are seeking a large, empty space to race around in your cars. Where better than a deserted airfield? You race over a 2 mile circuit, accidentally hitting and killing a sheep in the process, totalling your car. Yikes. End of story? Strangely, this is just the beginning.
Now known as the ‘Mutton Grand Prix’, Geoghegan’s encounter with that poor sheep is firmly in the F1 history books. Previously used between 1943 and 1946 as an RAF bomber station and operational training centre, RAF Silverstone was home to three runways arranged in the ‘Classic A’ WWII triangle format; you can still see these runways within the track today. A year after the sheep incident, the Royal Automobile Club, inspired, leased the airfield and set up a more formal racecourse, hosting two races on those runways, with long straights separated by tight hairpin corners and the track marked out with oil drums and hay bales. In 1949, meeting again, the race switched to a track circling the runways. In 1950, the race was incorporated into F1 – and the rest is history.
Though you can still make out the ghost of the airfield with the ‘A’ symbol haunting the track, the Silverstone circuit is more complex than it used to be. Consisting of 18 landmarks, long stretches of track are interrupted by more technical portions, with twisty corners keeping things exciting.
Over the decades, this track has spawned some iconic F1 moments, from Juan Manuel Fangio’s triumphs in the 1950s to the rivalry between Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost in the 1980s to Nigel Mansell thrilling the home crowd with a remarkable victory in 1991. At present, Max Verstappen holds the record for fastest lap, coming in at 1 minute and 27 seconds in the 2020 British Grand Prix (which he naturally won).
What Is It Like At Silverstone?
Like all racing events, Silverstone isn’t just a race track: the circuit is hemmed by viewing stands brimming with racing fans cheering on the action. But it’s not only about the racing. Silverstone is home to official after parties once the racing is done, as well as a whole host of different zones during the day, from the street zone (think street food and market stalls) to the family zone to the sports zone.
Plus, for the first time in 2023, there will be a star-studded launch party to kick off the action; headliners are Calvin Harris and Jess Glynne on Thursday 6 July 2023, with performances from Jax Jones on 7 July, the Black Eyed Peas on 8 July and Tom Grennan on 9 July. There’s a hotel and camping and glamping on site if you fancy making a long weekend out of it.
View this post on Instagram
How To Get Tickets To Silverstone Grand Prix
There are a limited number of tickets available for the Silverstone Grand Prix 2023, with Friday (practice session) tickets starting at £169, Saturday (qualifying) tickets at £209, and Sunday (race day) tickets at £549. Three-day package tickets start at £499, including admission to one of the after parties. Discover more at silverstone.co.uk