Silverstone officially opened its new Arena Grand Prix circuit on Thursday with the promise of a great venue for spectators and a big challenge for drivers.
The new infield layout, which is set to make it the quickest track on the F1 calendar, features a spectacular section that turns right at the old Abbey Bend and heads up to an arrowhead that rejoins the track on the National Straight.
The venue was given the green light by FIA race director Charlie Whiting for its F1 circuit license earlier this week.
BRDC president Damon Hill thanked the efforts of Silverstone's chiefs in getting the track completed after it secured an extension of its British Grand Prix deal late last year, and was excited about what it meant for the track's future. He also believes the revamped venue was a winner for both fans and competitors.
"This is a new circuit for a new generation of people to enjoy motorsport and we believe it will offer a big challenge to drivers as well," he said.
Silverstone managing director Richard Phillips said a huge effort was being made to ensure the venue was a hit with fans.
"Everything is being looked at," he said. "The banks are being addressed and everything we can do to help the fans is being looked at."
HRH the Duke of York attended the launch as a show of support for the motorsport industry that he believes is vital for the British economy. Speaking after being offered honorary membership to the BRDC, his Royal Highness said: "I am deeply honored about being asked to be an honorary member of the BRDC – although I have no qualifications! The real reason I am here to support Silverstone and the BRDC is because high-performance engineering is vitally important for the British economy. Motorsport is right at the pinnacle of this industry, so it is through events like F1 and Superbikes that we can demonstrate our expertise. And I can say I hope the future will continue to be rosy, not just for motorsport in the UK but also high-performance engineering as a whole."
The opening was attended by a host of racing figures including Mark Webber, David Coulthard, Mike Gascoyne, Nick Fry, Christian Horner and Johnny Herbert.
Full Q & A with Silverstone's Richard Phillips