Are you going to Silverstone this weekend for the 6 Hours of Silverstone? I wrote a little guide ahead of last year’s race and I thought I’d do the same again this year.
It should be an interesting change in dynamic with the race having moved to April from a mid-season August, it has now become the opening round of the series. It’ll be our first chance to see the competitiveness of the teams and drivers particularly those that did not make the trip to Sebring in March. The weather and temperature will be other factors to consider, though in fairness they may not be too different to the years the race took place in September.
Racing This Weekend
FIA WEC, ELMS, and FIA European F3.
What Are They?
The FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) is a world series for the cars and stars of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and 2013 is the second year of the revived championship. Four classes of car compete on the track at the same time, two sets of ‘prototypes’ and two sets of GTs. This weekend features a six hour race on Sunday.
The European Le Mans Series is a regional series also linked to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It also has four classes, two of which are identical to those in the WEC and two are ’entry level’ in nature. This weekend they’ll race for three hours on Saturday afternoon.
FIA European Formula 3 is a single-seater category for aspiring drivers, if F1 is the top tier of single-seater racing then F3 is the 3rd-tier. In reality the talent from F3 graduates into all types of racing including WEC and the like. They will have two races on Saturday and another one first thing on Sunday.
What To Bring
Tickets! You could get a 3-day weekend ticket for £35 in advance and they should still only be £40 on the gate, obviously single-day tickets would be lower!
Appropriate clothing! It is April – expect a mixture of sun and showers. It also a cold Spring so bring a thick jumper and a coat. It’ll be hard to choose between a heavy coat for warmth or an anorak to stay dry so put both in the car and decide when you get there! Bear in mind Silverstone can feel cold on a warm day so if the day is cool already, be ready. Bring a hat too. And sun cream! Seriously!
Shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty. Although Silverstone spent a lot of money on path improvements around the start/finish straight, and that area really does look impressive now, they don’t extend around the whole track and in any case you might not want to go where the paths go. With all the rain we’ve had the ground will be muddy.
A radio! When the cars are running you will struggle to hear the PA system around much of the track so you will need a radio tuned to 87.7FM Radio Le Mans, and a supply of batteries.
You might also want a camera, with a supply of batteries.
Andy Blackmore’s Spotter Guides. You might want to print these: FIA WEC – ELMS Wait as late as you can as they’re being updated.
Bring food or plenty of money to buy some. I usually buy my lunch on site. Silverstone’s food sellers have markedly improved in quality over the years, unfortunately they can now make a hefty dent in your wallet. At least it isn’t as pricey as Goodwood! Don’t bank on getting anything on your way back to your car though, they’re all packing up by then.
On the plus side, parking is free and very simple. Go along Dadford Road all the way down, past the main entrance until you get to the 2nd roundabout and turn left there signposted Public Parking. You’ll discover you are near the end of the Wing, by Club corner. Follow the people wearing orange or yellow and they’ll have you at a nice spot barely five minutes walk from the gate, which is about a half minute’s walk from the track. Obviously if you have to queue to buy a ticket it’ll be longer, but if you’ve brought your ticket with you, you can be out of your car and trackside within 10 minutes if you want to be. I usually follow my ritual of getting a cup of tea first, maybe a bacon roll!
If you don’t feel like walking the track there are free buses circulating the perimeter road, also visiting the pitlane, so you can still make that journey to Becketts or the Hangar Straight if you want to.
A lot of the grandstands will be open for no extra fee. Not all of them are open all weekend, Sunday is the day with most availability.
WEC teams will be based at the Wing paddock. ELMS and F3 teams will be based at the National paddock (the old pits).
Want To Watch The F1 Race Too?
Greedy so and so, but, me too! And there’s good news – if you can get to Silverstone early enough, the Paddock Diner in the National paddock will be open from 7.30am Sunday and they will be showing the Chinese GP on their TV screens. That race starts at 8am and should run until about 9.30. Racing starts at Silverstone at 9.15am on Sunday with F3, by then you should have a sense of whether it is worth staying for the end of the F1.
Info from the most excellent FIA WEC Twitter feed which you should definitely follow.
- 9.00am – 10.00am ELMS Practice
- 10.15am – 10.55am F3 Practice
- 11am – 11.40am F3 Practice
- 12.25pm – 1.55pm WEC Practice
- 2.10pm – 3.10pm ELMS Practice
- 3.25pm – 4.10pm F3 Qualifying
- 4.30pm – 6pm WEC Practice
- 9.00am – 10.00am WEC Practice
- 10.20am – 10.55am F3 Race 1
- 11.10am – 11.30am – ELMS Qualifying – LMGTE & GTC classes
- 11.35am – 11.55am – ELMS Qualifying – LMP2 & LMPC classes
- 12.10pm – 12.30pm – WEC Qualifying – LMGTE Pro & LMGTE Am classes
- 12.40pm – 1.00pm – WEC Qualifying – LMP1 & LMP2 classes
- 1.20pm – 1.55pm – F3 Race 2
- 2.20pm – 2.40pm – ELMS Grid Walk
- 3.00pm – 6.00pm ELMS Race
- 9.15am – 9.50am – F3 Race 3
- 10.00am – 10.45am – WEC Pit Walk & Autograph Session
- 11.10am – 11.40am – WEC Grid Walk
- 12.00pm – 6.00pm – WEC Race
When you leave I recommend allowing time to watch the podium ceremonies. Each of the four classes gets their own podium ceremony. Not only is it good to show your appreciation to the drivers it is a great way to let the car park empty before you hit the road. All traffic merges together into a single road and that means everything backs up, it takes a long time to get out, so instead of stressing in your car you might as well stick around for 20 minutes to congratulate all of the class winners.
I’ll be tweeting from @toomuchracing throughout the weekend for as long as signal and battery allow, unless it is too cold to use it! And do remember to follow @FIAWEC as well.
See you there.