Silverstone motor racing circuit opened its new pit and paddock complex this week just in time for the British Grand Prix on the 10th of July 2011.
The new Pit complex, which cost over £27 million, is three-stories high and was designed by 2012 Olympic architects Populous. Known as ‘The Wing’ it was officially opened by the BRDC president-in-chief, His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent who praised the “dedication” of the British Racing Drivers’ Club, who own the circuit.
F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, 80, who was unable to attend the ceremony sent a message of congratulations that was tinged with disappointment:
“I’m delighted with the progress and prospects for the future of Silverstone. The pits and paddock complex is a state-of-the-art facility and will form the backbone of Silverstone’s plans to be a world-class facility. It’s a great shame it couldn’t be completed 10 years ago but well done.”
Silverstone first staged the British Grand Prix in 1948 and needed extensive refurbishment and upgrading before gaining the rights to host the GP until 2027 ahead of arch-rival Donnington Park. Mark Webber’s Red Bull F1 was the first grand prix car to use the pits, roaring into the opening ceremony to the delight of everyone there. The complex includes 41 garages, the race control building, the podium, hospitality suites, and a media centre.
The opening ceremony was also attended by BRDC president Damon Hill, who said: “There was a real threat the grand prix would go so this is very important.” Hill was one of five British world champions; the others were there were John Surtees, Sir Jackie Stewart, Nigel Mansell and Jenson Button.