24TH JULY 2015
Silverstone is the current home of the British Grand Prix, which it first hosted in 1948. The 1950 British Grand Prix at Silverstone was the first race in the newly created Formula One World Championship. The race rotated between Silverstone, Aintree and Brands Hatch from 1955 to 1986, but relocated permanently to Silverstone in 1987.
The circuit is built on the site of a World War II Royal Air Force bomber station, RAF Silverstone, which opened in 1943. The airfield's three runways, in classic WWII triangle format, lie within the outline of the present track.
Silverstone was first used for motorsport by an ad-hoc group of friends who set up an impromptu race in September 1947. The next year the Royal Automobile Club took a lease on the airfield and set out a more formal racing circuit. Their first two races were held on the runways themselves, with long straights separated by tight hairpin corners, the track demarcated by hay bales. However, for the 1949 International Trophy meeting, it was decided to switch to the perimeter track. This arrangement was used for the 1950 and 1951 Grands Prix. In 1952 the start line was moved from the Farm Straight to the straight linking Woodcote and Copse corners, and this layout remained largely unaltered for the following 38 years. For the 1975 meeting a chicane was introduced to try to tame speeds through the mighty Woodcote Corner (although MotoGP would still use the circuit without the chicane up until 1986), and Bridge Corner was subtly rerouted in 1987.
The track underwent a major redesign between the 1990 and 1991 races, transforming the ultra-fast track into a more technical track. The reshaped track's first F1 race was perhaps the most memorable of recent years, with Nigel Mansell coming home first in front of his home crowd. On his victory lap back to the pits Mansell even found time to pick up stranded rival Ayrton Senna and give him a lift on his side-pod after Senna's McLaren had run out of fuel on the final lap of the race.
In 2014 Silverstone hosts the following major race championships: British Grand Prix, British motorcycle Grand Prix, FIA World Endurance Championship, GP2 Series, Formula 3 Euro Series, British Formula 3, British Touring Car Championship and the British Superbike Championship.
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