I drove for about 20 minutes from my home over to Silverstone on Saturday and Sunday to watch the WEC racing. The ELMS were doing a 4-hour race on Saturday, but I didn't get to see them due to having the kids with me and the fact that they were based over in the National Pits. We had a good time, but it was too cold for the kids to hang around long. However, they greatly enjoyed being able to climb into the Nissan LMP1 show car and get some dodgem and karting action in (all included in the ticket price). Also included was the double-decker shuttle buses to get around the circuit in. These were very convenient, and invaluable in enabling us to watch the action from a variety of positions. It was so windy that we ended up doing 3 laps of the circuit on the bus to warm up again.

I returned on my own for the main race on Sunday and had a good time. The circuit is clearly tailored for F1, but so much more approachable when the Bernie circus is not in town. There were 45,000 people there, but it's such a vast place that it wasn't crowded at all. My ticket gave me access to all the grandstands, the paddock, part of the wing building and even half of the balcony over the pits. I could have stopped and chatted to a few of the drivers as they were moving from pit to hospitality areas, but they were busy doing their jobs and I didn't want to be the weirdo who grabs their hand and doesn't know what to say after "hello" (and then forgets to let go of their hand). Still, it was great to see them interact with the fans and not be hemmed in by a massive security presence.

The racing was intense, particularly among the LMP1 cars. The pole position Porsche with Mark Webber on board shot off at the start, and extended his lead moving through traffic (I think he was a bit more "decisive" than the following cars, and the speed difference between the LMP1s and the others was terrifying, so I guess most of them just jumped out of his way). That went well right up until his gearbox broke. :sad: Positions were changing for most of the race, and I lost track of how many times the leading cars swapped places.

Away from the action, Porsche were the team trying hardest to impress. The only car club with a presence within the circuit were PCGB, there was a large fleet of VW minibuses for ferrying guests around and the VIPs had Panameras on standby for the whole weekend (I eventually figured out why these cars were sat facing away from the circuit with drivers inside them staring at their phones or sleeping). The temporary hospitality buildings in the paddock were amusingly large (Audi's was the most impressive, but I think the Porsche one was the busiest).

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Porsche also has the coolest paddock bikes, individually assigned to their drivers. Electric bikes were on hand for the less-fit team members.

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These cars are so fast that a quite a few of my images turned out like this:

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However, I persevered and actually captured some entire racing cars. All images were taken by me using a hand-held compact camera with the wrong settings:

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Nissan were set up in Garage 40, right at the end of the pits

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No race versions of this car at Silverstone, but the show cars were available for all and sundry to have a poke around. They're a bit different from the real thing, as they are made with steel spaceframes with a composite body on top rather than a carbon-fibre monocoque, have no powertrain, and have a very short pedal box (presumably in order for children to get in and press the pedals).

On Saturday, my kids had a go. The seating position is quite low:

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On Sunday, I returned and had a good look. The very helpful and knowledgeable guy who was there to answer questions told me I wouldn't fit. Pah!

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OK, so my knees were both wedged, I couldn't turn the steering wheel and parts of me weren't in contact with the "seat", but I got in and out without requiring corrective surgery.

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One of the show cars has been wrapped in Manchester City FC livery for some cross-branding exercise that I don't quite understand...

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The proportions of this car are very strange. It has a very squared-off body shape, with a tiny canopy on top and the rear tyres are almost shrink-wrapped into the body.

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Note the vent holes in the base of the windscreen to ventilate the cabin, and their proximity to the exhausts. Someone had a lot of faith in their CFD analysis to sign that combination off:

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It's a very peculiar thing, and I can't wait to see it running in anger. On a television, most likely, as I'm not going to Le Mans this year (for the record, I've never been).

Looking out the little window in the pit-side door of the Nissan garage, I could see that the Strakka LMP2 team next door were having a pit stop. The time from it being dropped off it's jacks to starting the engine to leaping out of the pit box was so small it took me by surprise.

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All the other photos I took are in the following album:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/8103399…/

A Great Weekend!