MCN Exclusive: Silverstone unveils £5m British MotoGP revamp

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Silverstone’s £5m revamp for the 2010 British MotoGP will have two prime goals – close racing and a better viewing experience for the paying public.

That is the blueprint for Silverstone Managing Director Richard Phillips, who has given MCN exclusive access to the redevelopment plans, which includes major modifications to the Northamptonshire circuit’s layout and spectator viewing areas to transform the track.

Silverstone recently landed the rights to host the British MotoGP race in a shock five-year deal that took the race away from its home of 22 years at Donington Park.

The deal was the conclusion of over two years negotiations between Phillips and Dorna boss Carmelo Ezpeleta and sees the elite class of world motorcycle racing return to Silverstone for the first time since 1986.

As much as Donington has been derided for having sub-standard facilities, riders universally praise its fast and flowing 2.5 miles layout, while fans have also praised the circuit in terms of viewing.

Silverstone’s infrastructure has far exceeded the standard at Donington, but it has been heavily criticised for its poor viewing areas, with complaints that fans are too far from the action after previous World and British superbike events.

Phillips though has vowed to leave no stone unturned in his bid to get Silverstone to capture the imagination of British bike fans.

Part of the redevelopment of Silverstone will see a new ‘Arrowhead’ section constructed on the current infield, the scrapping of the chicane at Woodcote and the modification and creation of new spectator viewing areas.

Work will start on the track revisions November and be ready for the circuit to be homologated in March next year.

“We have always been aware of Silverstone’s failings. If you look at Donington and Brands Hatch, they are circuits in the country you associate with bikes and there is a challenge to get Silverstone into that category because we have been recognised more as four wheel than two wheels for some time.

“All the toilets and the infrastructure like access roads in, I am very happy with all of that but I think the one area we need to make sure we get right is making sure that this is a circuit where the fans get value for money.

“I don’t think it is a case that bikers don’t like us. I think they just want to be convinced that the viewing is going to significantly better and that is our challenge.

“We have recognised that it is not necessarily the best viewing circuit so we have looked at that and that is why we are investing a lot of money and MotoGP is not a cheap exercise for us, but it is part of our commitment to the sport.

“We are willing to spend a lot of money on making this a much more versatile venue.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt