Silverstone circuit is built on the site of a World War II bomber base, RAF Silverstone, which opened in 1943. It is best known as the home of the British Grand Prix, which it first hosted in 1948. The race at Silverstone in 1950 was the first in the newly created Formula One World Championship. From 1955 to 1986 the British GP rotated between Silverstone, Aintree & Brands Hatch, but has been held solely at Silverstone since 1987 and following the failure of Donington Park to secure the funding Silverstone has secured the rights until 2026.
The first races used the original runways, with long straights separated by tight hairpins, and hay bales to demarcate the track. In 1950 the circuit was re-configured to use the perimeter road, and remained largely unchanged for ~40yrs, when average speeds for a GP car exceeding 160mph became unacceptable. A major re-design was completed for the British GP in 1991, which Nigel Mansell won, famously giving Ayrton Senna a lift back the pits on the back of his Williams.
Silverstone is roughly equidistant from Milton Keynes, Northampton and Oxford, with half the circuit in Northamptonshire, half in Buckinghamshire. It is clearly signposted off the A43, about 10 miles NW of Milton Keynes, accessible from the M1 (J15a) or M40 (J10).
Circuit configurations include GP, International, National & Stowe, it's the GP layout you'll probably use for a track day.
(update coming soon:) Heading over the start finish line and into Copse there are a choice of reference points to pick for a braking point, but the turn in point is at the arrow board on the left hand side of the circuit. The apex is at the second floppy marker and you can let the car run all the way out to the exit kerb as there is plenty of tarmac run off on. The run down to the Maggot's/Beckets complex is quite long and you need to bring the car back to the right of the circuit but be careful of the pit lane exit as cars may be joining the circuit as you try to move across. On the entry to Maggots turn in before braking so you can brake in a straight line. Try not to use the kerb on the left hand side. Turn back to the right taking a small amount of kerb on the right as this will help keep the car straighter for Beckets. A late turn in means you can carry more speed through the corner and keep the car to the left for the final part of the complex. On the exit of Chapel, run right out to the kerb and then try to straighten the wheel as much as you can on the exit as the final section can be very slippery in the wet. There's not much to do for the next few seconds while you head down Hanger Straight, so check for faster cars in your mirrors.
After the bridge bring the car back to the left and gauge your braking from the white line that crosses the circuit. The turn in point is the tarmac access road on the left and from the point it's a very gradual turn through the very fast Stowe corner. Look for the end of the kerb on the inside for your apex and from there let the car run all the way out to the exit using some kerb if needed. From here if you look far ahead towards the gantry you will see a floppy marker board just below. Drive in a straight line towards this marker using the gantry and the countdown boards to judge your braking. This is the slowest corner of the lap, (remember that a current F1 car only turns in at 55 MPH) so it's extremely unlikely you can match this. From the apex it is a gradual turn through the long right hander of club. You should apply power all the way through, moving out from the apex all the way through the corner. The exit is the kerb right out on the outside of the corner. The run down to Abbey is very fast and you can use the road that comes from the international circuit as a brake reference. Turn in at the service road - the apex is very apparent. Take a small amount of kerb on the left and then a lot more on the left in an effort to try and straighten the exit out.
The next corner is a true favourite among drivers: the ultra fast Bridge. The turn in point is just under the bridge and then bring the car into a gradual apex at half way around the inside kerb. From here it is important to let the car run right out to the left as this will stop you loading the car more than is necessary. The trick is then getting the car back to the right for Priory. To do so you will need to set the car up so that the braking zone which is diagonally across the circuit. Aim towards the floppy bollards which will prevent you from using the access road but are used as a guide to turn in. From the turn in look to the inside where there are more of the floppy markers. Aim for the second one and use a bit of the apex kerb. From here there is plenty of room on the exit to let the car run all the way out to the kerb. The turn in point for Brooklands is towards the end of the kerb on the right hand side. From here turn in tight to the apex and take the inside kerb. Let the car run all the way out to the exit; it is unlikely you will have time to get all the back to the left so about one third out is fine. Luffield is the most frustrating corner on the lap. From the apex, which you need to prolong, you feel like you're waiting forever to get back on the power but be patient. The final corner of the lap is Woodcote which is very fast and not much or a corner, but should be treated with caution as plenty of people have gotten it wrong and paid a heavy repair bill.
In 2010 there will also be an alternative GP Layout to be known as the Arena GP and LOT will bring you a detailed guide as soon as possible.
Words kindly provided by Jamie Stanley.