Category: 05 – Silverstone BTCC 2022

In which proud parents Ben and Linda go to see their son in action at the Silverstone BTCC 2022 race day in Silverstone, UK.

Silverstone, UK – Day 1

When offered weekend passes for the British Touring Car Championships at Silverstone, it wasn’t a hard decision. Even if it meant booking a hotel at the last minute.

The drive into the ‘heart’ of England was unremarkable and we arrived just after 8:30am. We met our host from Team Dynamics at the gate and made the long walk from the car park to the pit lane. Early on Saturday it’s quite clear no one is quite sure what is happening – including the ITV crew who are here to broadcast races tomorrow.

There is a full programme of events today including some ‘real’ races. The touring cars will have two free practice sessions in the morning. Later in the afternoon there is a qualifying session which will determine grid placement in the first proper race tomorrow.

Having toured the pits we make our way to a grassy bank at the end of the home straight to watch the first practice session. The noise is immense!

When the session ends we stop for a coffee and a bacon roll from one of the many burger vans. One roll sets me back £5.

Top tip: Food and drink is extremely expensive at Silverstone. Expect to spend £10-£11 for a burger, ~£4 for chips and £6.50+ for beer. If you’re on a budget, you can bring your own picnic.

Later on in the day we learn that grandstand access is unrestricted. If you have a paddock pass, you can take a seat in any of the open stands. We snag some decent seats on the Copse Corner bend which gives a great view of the Start/Finish line, home straight and the first bend where much of the action takes place during a race.

The racing is entertaining and we stay until the end of the touring car qualification. With places settled, we make our way back to the car and on to our hotel for the night.

The Paisley Pear in Brackley is just six miles from Silverstone racetrack, which will be handy for tomorrow. Operated by Marston Inns, you check in at the pub next door – if you can get someone’s attention. It takes a while to get anyone to acknowledge our presence.

We have been allocated an accessible room on the ground floor of the hotel. It looks much like a Travelodge – nothing special at all. And definitely not worth £130 as charged by Revolut (or even £119 after cash back). £50-£60 would have been fair, but that’s the price you pay for late bookings.

Top tip: If you book direct with Marston Inns, you will get 20% off your food bill in the restaurant next door.

We decide to eat in the pub restaurant, which appears to be very popular with locals. The staff aren’t keen on giving us a table, even though we are staying in the hotel. Not a great start.

We end up ordering three courses. The food is decent and very filling. The service is sullen and unwelcoming. Given that there is nowhere else to eat within walking distance of the hotel however, you don’t have a lot of choice.

Really we’re just here to crash. Race day tomorrow!

Silverstone, UK – Day 2

We’re up and out of the hotel by 8:30am so we can get to the racetrack before the action starts. It is much busier today and we have to queue to get into the car park – and again to get onto the track. There is a definite sense of excitement among the crowd which is much, much larger than yesterday.

Top tip: You are allowed to take your own folding seats. This is great if you don’t like standing for long periods and don’t think you can get into a grandstand.

We head towards the merchandise store to buy a beanie hat each. It’s grey and breezy and very cold, so a warm head covering will be welcome! We make another pass by the Team Dynamics garage to thank them for organising our tickets. Then it’s back to the grandstand at Copse Corner to catch the end of the Porsche Challenge – and the first touring car race of the day.

There’s plenty of action and excitement. A big screen has been erected on the other side of the track too, allowing us to see what’s happening elsewhere on the track. It’s great – we don’t miss a thing.

Because the Silverstone complex is so large, you spend a lot of time wandering between garages, food outlets and various other promotional displays. We end up walking a long way and the periods between races goes quite quickly.

Top tip: The drivers are generally quite happy to sign autographs and programmes if you hang around the garages between races.

For Race 2 we’ve also been given grid access tickets. This allows us onto the hallowed Silverstone Grand Prix track. We walk between the various cars and chat with some of the pit crew. It’s great to get up close to the racers as they go through their final preparations.

Top tip: Speak to some of the crews when you walk through the pit lane – they can arrange grid access passes for you. Sometimes you may even be able to pick them up for free.

Because there’s no time to get back trackside, we’re invited to watch the second race on the TV in the Team Dynamics garage. This adds a whole new element of excitement – especially as their driver finishes third.

Afterwards we head to the Pit Stop Café for some food and a beer. We end up with butter chicken with rice, poppadum and onion bhajis (£11). It’s actually pretty decent albeit a little cold.

For the final race we head back to our favourite grandstand on Copse Corner. The third and final race of the day is crazy as the drivers all push themselves to the limit. There’s crashes and spins and aggression as the competition to be named BTCC 2022 Champion enters the final stages. The race is very exciting – as is the fact that no one will claim the crown today – that will be decided in the final meet of the season at Brands Hatch next month. I’m quite disappointed we won’t be able to go to that.

Afterwards, it’s a very long walk back to the car park. And the queue to leave the car park. And the queue to leave the town of Silverstone. We end up taking a very long detour home – and it’s still faster than the direct M1 route.

Motorsport has never really been our thing, but this weekend has been great. We would definitely do it again if the opportunity presents itself.

Next stop, London Heathrow

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