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A Lap of Silverstone with Rob Bell

11th April 2008

The FIA GT Championship season gets underway next week at Silverstone with the RAC Tourist Trophy race meeting. CR Scuderia’s no.56 Ferrari is being raced by two of the fastest GT2 drivers in the world: Andrew Kirkaldy, who took pole position at this event last year, and Rob Bell, the pole man from the Le Mans Series race at Silverstone in 2007.

Silverstone’s Grand Prix circuit is a technically-challenging and physically demanding track. Join Rob Bell on a qualifying lap:

“We head along the pit straight towards the first corner, Copse, at about 235km/h in fifth gear, braking down into fourth gear and about 170km/h to take the turn. We get back onto the power early for the drive up to the Becketts complex, up to fifth gear again and 230km/h.

The Becketts complex, which includes Magotts, although I’m never sure which is which, is a tricky left-right-left-right, taken in third gear at around 125 km/h. It’s vital to get a good exit out of here as it leads onto the long Hangar Straight.

It’s flat out now along the straight, all the way up to sixth gear – the only time we use top gear on this lap – and 245km/h. At the end it’s down three gears, braking hard for Stowe. We turn in early, taking the apex at 130km/h then it’s quickly back on the power for the run up to Club, one of the slowest parts of the circuit.

We take this at about 80km/h in second gear before getting back on full throttle for a second or two and then lift for the right-hander. Back on the gas and all the way up to 225km/h and fifth gear in the run up to Abbey. During the race this is one of the best overtaking opportunities, as we go into the Abbey Chicane. You brake hard, shift down into second, use a bit of kerb on the entry, and if you stick to the middle of the track you’ll get a good exit.

Silverstone is quite a wide track so there are quite a few places to overtake, the best ones being going into either Abbey, Stowe or Club.

Through Bridge now in fourth gear with a little lift as you take the corner then it’s into Priory in third gear and the complex, the most technical section of the track. You have to concentrate here as if you carry too much speed you’ll get a poor exit out of Luffield which can really mess up your lap time.

Once through the complex it’s pretty straightforward. Up through the gears again, a quick blast through Woodcote, onto the straight and across the start/finish line, and hopefully pole position! Silverstone is a mega track; it’s very fast and flowing and it’s one that we all enjoy racing on.”