Renault appear to be doing a great job with their World Series Renault meetings, if the event at Silverstone was anything to go by. They reportedly gave away 100,000 tickets for the weekend; the circuit may not have been that full, but there were plenty of spectators across the weekend, with Sunday in particularly being well attended. And gave away is the right term, all the tickets were free, downloadable from their website in return for answering some questions about you and car ownership, they even throw in parking for the day. And in return, you get racing from 4 series plus some quality demonstrations. The racing includes Formula Renault series 3.5 and 2.0 and the Megane trophy; plus a round of the Clio Cup. At Silverstone they also ran the Renault F1 show car and provided some nifty car driving from Jean Ragnotti. All the on-track action was supported by off-track entertainment, with fair rides and plenty of Renault-themed stalls to view. There were plenty of families bringing their children of all ages and from all appearances having a great time – so if you get the chance, definitely go next year, it was a lot of fun.
First up in my experience (well, after sampling some of the food from the many vans) was the pit walk. The WSR were using the old pits; I’m not sure if this is going to be the usual plan for events at Silverstone, with only F1 using the new buildings. I didn’t think I’d make the pit walk given the queue which was wrapped around the paddock, but they moved everyone through pretty quickly. Plenty to see, lots of drivers were signing.
Then a quick dash to find a seat in one of the Copse grandstands, which enabled me to watch the start of the main 3.5 race. They all made it round the first corner and settled into a steady race. Copse gives you a great view of the straight but I wouldn’t choose it for an F1 race, much preferring the multiple track views of Becketts where I sat this year.
It was a typical English summer day, with rain and a cold wind…so I next took up an invite from Ian (who runs @FortecM) at Fortec Motorsports to go and visit him at the garage where I could get a lovely cup of coffee to warm up! That was the end of day one, as I left early to go to a party – and, in doing so, also managed to miss Mark Webber visiting the team later in the day.
Sunday I was back again, joining the traffic jams to get to the circuit. I think the traffic surprised some, as driver Robert Wickens also got caught up in it and only just made the morning outing. Again I was lucky enough to be able to visit with Fortec and this time got to watch some of the race, including pit-stops from the garage.
During the day, the benefits of Twitter were obvious as I met up with Leigh (@TheF1Archive,) and had a chat with Emma (@emmastonier) and Emma (@EmBuxton). I even got recognised a few times form twitter, which is slightly weird.
Overall, it was a brilliant weekend, a lot of racing and a lot of people. I’m not sure if all the people with tickets turned up, but I did watch them open additional grandstands during the weekend, to let as many people have a seat as possible. It shows what can be done when a great show is put on and you open up the sport to those who may not be able to afford an F1 ticket. So thank you to Renault for providing such an event and lots of thanks to Fortec for their lovely hospitality.