Silverstone Hangar Straight: Where F1 cars hit 200mph+

Alex Gassman

by Alex Gassman

Silverstone Hangar Straight

The Hangar Straight at Silverstone is the longest and fastest straight on the Grand Prix circuit. Thanks to a DRS zone, F1 cars exceed 200mph here during qualifying and go even faster in the races. Let’s take an in-depth look at this part of the track.

Contents

Why is it called the Hangar Straight?

In World War 2 Silverstone was an RAF airfield used for training pilots in bombing operations in the Wellington bombers. The airfield perimeter road started being used as a race circuit, and this straight section of track had two large aircraft hangars directly adjacent to it.

The image below was taken in 1949, two years after the airfield had been decommissioned by the RAF and shortly after the first race had been held on the circuit. It shows the two hangars right next to the straight, which was named in their honour.

Silverstone in 1949 showing the two aircraft hangars

Which bit of the track is it?

The Hangar Straight only features on the Grand Prix and International circuit configurations at Silverstone. It is not part of the National track.

The maps of the current Silverstone Grand Prix and International circuits below show where the Hangar Straight is located on the track.

Silverstone GP circuit
Silverstone International circuit

The International circuit isn’t used very regularly. The Grand Prix circuit is used for the F1, MotoGP, Silverstone Festival (classic) and a lot more race events. On the GP circuit you can see the Hangar Straight is located between Chapel and Stowe corners.

Stowe corner, at the end of the Hangar Straight, is where four riders crashed on he poorly resurfaced track in the rain during warmup for the 2018 Silverstone MotoGP.

How long is the Hangar Straight?

The Hangar Straight at Silverstone is 760m / 2493ft long. This is measured from the exit of Chapel corner to the point at which the track starts to curve on the entry to Stowe corner.

There is a very slight right-hand kink about two thirds of the way along, but on the whole it’s a pretty-straight straight.

This is the longest straight on the whole Silverstone circuit. The second longest is Wellington Straight which is only 650m / 2132ft long.

Silverstone DRS zones

There are two DRS zones for the F1 at Silverstone. The first has a detection zone before the entrance to Maggots and Becketts, and an activation zone at the exit of Chapel / start of the Hangar Straight. The second has a detection zone before Village corner and an activation zone at the exit of Aintree / the start of the Wellington Straight.

The map below of the Silverstone Grand Prix track shows the F1 DRS detection and activation zones.

Silverstone DRS Zones map

In 2018 there was a third DRS zone at Silverstone which was active from the exit of Club corner, down the Hamilton Straight, through Abbey and Farm corners and ended at the braking zone for Village. 

This stirred some controversy as it was the first time DRS was enabled around a series of corners. Not all F1 cars had enough downforce with DRS active to take Abbey corner flat out, as they would normally, and two cars crashed there.

That DRS zone was subsequently removed the following year and Silverstone has just had 2 DRS areas ever since.

How fast do F1 cars go down Hangar Straight?

F1 cars can do over 200mph down the Hangar Straight during qualifying. This is when the cars are at their lightest, fastest, and carry maximum corner speed.

During qualifying the F1 cars can also use DRS. The activation zone at the start of the Hangar Straight allows them to reduce their drag significantly and reach their maximum speed at the end of the straight.

In qualifying for the 2021 British Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton reach 324kph / 201mph at the end of the Hangar Straight.

Speeds reached during the races are even higher thanks to the slipstreams from other cars. Here’s Carlos Sainz reaching 356kph / 221mph in 2021, after following a number of cars which all had DRS active.

Spectating at the Hangar Straight

There is a general admission viewing area that runs along the left side of the track all the way from the exit of Chapel, nearly as far as Stowe corner. The map below shows this as the blue line alongside the track.

This whole area is completely unsheltered, unless you are in the shadow of the bridge. Along here you’ll be stood at ground level and there is a catch fence right in front of you which limits your view and picture-taking abilities. 

As you look to the left you’ll see the cars entering Stowe, but will lose them out of sight just as they apex.

You can also see that there are three grandstands at Stowe corner. If you want a view of Stowe, Club, Village and Hangar Straight all from the comfort of an (uncovered) grandstand seat then these are a good option.

If you are sat in the right spot in Stowe B grandstand you can see most of the way down Hangar Straight towards the exit of Chapel corner.

From the general admission standing area, as you look to your right you’ll see the bridge over the Hangar Straight, but this will block your view any further and you won’t be able to see anything of Maggots, Becketts or Chapel.

The access up the banking to the side of the bridge is blocked off to spectators which is a shame as it would give a better, higher vantage point. Similarly you can’t see any of the action from on the bridge itself as the advertising and sponsor banners block the view completely.

As this video from the 2022 F1 shows, there were no giant TV screens visible on the other side of the track. If you wanted to be able to see one of those to keep track of the action, you need to go up to Stowe or down to Chapel where there are screens visible on the other side of the track to the grandstands.

The Octane Terrace hospitality area is located on the inside of the Hangar Straight during the F1, as is the new Hangar Enclosure.

Nearest spectator entrance

If you are walking to the circuit from a nearby car park or one of the local Silverstone campsites and want to head to Hangar Straight, the nearest spectator entrance is gate 10 by Stowe corner followed by gate 9 behind Becketts.

Nearest car park

The closest Silverstone car park to Hangar Straight is car park 40 behind Vale and Club corners.

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Alex Gassman

I‘m Alex. I write F1 and motorsport travel guides based on my experience as racing driver and full-time motorsport nerd. I’ve traveled the world watching F1 and other racing series.

I started oversteer48 with the aim of helping other motorsport fans who are planning on watching some racing themselves.

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