Silverstone Circuit


Silverstone Circuit

United Kingdom

  • 52 Laps
  • 1950 First Grand Prix
  • Biritsh Grand Prix Grand Prix
  • 5.891km Circuit Length
  • 306.198 km Race Distance
  • 1:27.097 Max Verstappen (2020) Lap Record

Located in England, near the Northamptonshire villages of Towcester, Silverstone and Whittlebury, Silverstone Circuit is renowned as the venue for the British Grand Prix. Its rich history in the world of motor racing began in 1948 when it hosted the first British Grand Prix. However, the circuit gained even greater prestige when it held the first race in the newly created FIA World Championship of Drivers in 1950, now recognised as the first ‘official’ F1 race.

Between 1955 and 1986, the British Grand Prix rotated between Silverstone, Aintree, and Brands Hatch. However, since 1987, the Silverstone track has been the permanent host for the British Grand Prix.


First Grand Prix1950 British Grand Prix
Number of Laps52
Circuit Length5.891km
Race Distance306.198 km
Lap Record1:27.097 Max Verstappen (2020)


When was Silverstone Circuit built?

The historic Silverstone circuit is situated on the site of a former Royal Air Force bomber station, RAF Silverstone, which was operational from 1943 to 1946 and served as the base for No. 17 Operational Training Unit. The airfield’s three runways, designed in the classic WWII triangle format, now lie within the outline of the present track.

Located on the Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire border, the circuit is located near the villages of Towcester, Brackley, and Buckingham. The closest city is Milton Keynes, which is home to Formula One team Red Bull Racing. Although many F1 teams have bases in the UK, Aston Martin has recently built a new base just outside the gates of the race circuit, making them the closest team to the track.

Silverstone’s rich motorsport history dates back to September 1947 when an ad hoc group of friends organised an impromptu race. One of their members, Maurice Geoghegan, lived in nearby Silverstone village and realised that the deserted airfield was an ideal venue for racing. Twelve drivers participated in the race over a 2-mile circuit, during which Geoghegan ran over a sheep that had wandered onto the airfield. Unfortunately, the sheep was killed, and the car was written off. In the aftermath of this event, the informal race was dubbed the Mutton Grand Prix.

When was the first British Grand Prix?

The following year, the Royal Automobile Club secured a lease on the airfield and laid out a more formal racing circuit. The first two races were held on the runways, featuring long straights and tight hairpin corners marked by hay bales. However, for the 1949 International Trophy meeting, the decision was made to switch to the perimeter track. This arrangement was used for the inaugural official British Grand Prix in 1950 and the following year in 1951.

In 1952, the start line was moved to the straight linking Woodcote and Copse corners, and this layout remained largely unchanged for the next 38 years.

Between the 1990 and 1991 Grand Prix weekends, the circuit underwent significant modifications, transforming it from an ultra-fast track to a more technical one. The redesigned track’s first Formula One race was won by Nigel Mansell in front of his home crowd. On his victory lap back to the pits, Mansell famously picked up his stranded rival Ayrton Senna and gave him a lift on his side-pod after Senna’s McLaren ran out of fuel on the race’s final lap.

In the wake of the tragic deaths of Grand Prix drivers Senna and Roland Ratzenberger at Imola in 1994, many circuits were modified to enhance driver safety. The entry from Hangar Straight into Stowe Corner was modified in 1995 to improve the run-off area, while the flat-out Abbey kink was turned into a chicane in just 19 days in preparation for the 1994 Grand Prix.

Since then, certain sections of the track, including the starting grid, have complied with the latest safety guidelines and are 17 m (19 yd) wide.

Silverstone circuit lap record

The official race lap record for the current F1 Grand Prix configuration, which has existed since 2011, belongs to Max Verstappen, who achieved a lap time of 1:27.097 during the 2020 British Grand Prix.