Iconic British race track Silverstone is set to carry out a full resurfacing of the entire Grand Prix track this summer, just over a year after the botched renovations that resulted in the abandonment of the 2018 MotoGP event.
Roadbuilding giants Tarmac have been brought in to carry out the work next month, and the track will be closed between June 10 and June 30, two weeks before the Northamptonshire circuit hosts the 2019 British Formula One Grand Prix.
Aggregate Industries resurfaced the track ahead of the 2018 season but the work was much maligned. Formula One drivers slammed the track as bumpy last year, while drainage problems caused the MotoGP event to be abandoned due to standing water on the surface.
World-renowned motorsport track expert Jarno Zaffelli has been engaged as a consultant for the project. The Italian and his company Dromo have been at the helm for refurbishment work at Malaysia’s Sepang circuit and Termas de Rio Hondo in Argentina. He has been working with Silverstone since October 2018 to ensure that the track modifications improve the safety for MotoGP riders. As well as resurfacing, engineering works on several sections will see changes to some cambers to improve water drainage.
The commitment to fixing the circuit has seen Silverstone handed an extended contract to host the British motorcycle Grand Prix through to the end of the 2021 season. Silverstone Managing Director Stuart Pringle said: “Getting to this point has involved a lot of work by the staff at Silverstone but throughout it all we have been completely focused on making sure we make the right decisions to guarantee the future of our most important events with Formula One and MotoGP.
“We have a globally-renown company working on the surfacing of the track and we have one of the most respected of track designers in Jarno Zaffelli working as an expert advisor to Silverstone during the works.
“The extension to the MotoGP contract is excellent news for all of us at Silverstone and allows us to plan long-term for the future development of MotoGP at our circuit.
“All of us at Silverstone are committed to the future of MotoGP and all the two-wheel action at Silverstone and look forward to making the MotoGP event weekend the best motorcycling event in the UK biking calendar.”
Paul Fleetham, Managing Director of Tarmac’s Construction business added: “We are exceptionally proud to be working with the team at Silverstone to resurface the iconic British race circuit – the UK’s premier roadway. It demonstrates both the quality of our people and our first class track record in delivering high-profile, nationally significant schemes.
“We’ve assembled a highly skilled team of professionals from across the country who will be working with pioneering innovations in automated construction to deliver the project to the highest possible standard. We look forward to getting underway.”
MotoGP boss Carmelo Ezpeleta confirmed the contract extension, adding: “The extension to the contract at Silverstone is a mark of the confidence we have in the circuit to host a successful MotoGP event over the next three years.
“Silverstone is one of the most historic of all the MotoGP venues and we have been working closely with Silverstone to ensure the race has a successful future. We will be assisting with any changes that need to be made regarding the track surface after the events of the 2018 MotoGP.
“We look forward to continuing to work with Silverstone in what will be the highlight of the motorcycle racing calendar in the UK.”
The 2019 GoPro British MotoGP takes place this year on the August Bank Holiday weekend of August 23-25.