The Silverstone Wing building is now iconic in British and worldwide motorsport, playing centre stage during the F1 and MotoGP British Grand Prix.
When its pit garages and the pitlane aren’t in use during a race weekend The Wing can be used as a huge conference and events facility capable of housing over 4000 people.
What is the Silverstone Wing?
On the ground floor it houses 41 pit garages that the Formula 1, MotoGP and a number of other race series use. On the higher floors it is a large conferencing and events facility, with numerous rooms and halls available for hire.
Additionally, the podum is on the end of The Wing, close to the pitlane entrance. At the end of the F1 races fans flood the track and all stand in front of the building to watch the podium celebrations.
Why is it called The Wing?
Silverstone is built on an ex-RAF WW2 airfield. The design brief for the new building insisted that the themes of both aviation and speed were included in its design, ensuring the past and present history of Silverstone were embodied. The angular and streamlined nature of the building’s roofline does exactly that. It represents something in both motion and flight.
The naming of the building was opened up to the public where over 3500 people submitted entries. The BRDC whittled them down to a final 20, before selecting ‘The Wing’ as the new name for the building.
Of the 3500 entries, 10 different people submitted The Wing as the building’s name. Silverstone kindly awarded each of them with VIP hospitality tickets to both the F1 and MotoGP races in 2011.
Why was it built?
Building the Silverstone Wing was part of a bigger plan to upgrade the circuit in its entirety, which incorporated the new infield “Arena” section of track that is made up of the corners Farm, Village, the Loop and Aintree.
The redevelopment of the circuit was required to secure a long-term deal for Silverstone to host the British Grand Prix. At the time F1 Boss Bernie Ecclestone was critical of Silverstone’s aging facilities, as he had been for a number of years, and his continued threats of moving the British GP to Donington had reached a peak.
Silverstone agreed that it would set about a major upgrade package on the circuit, its facilties and its surroundings. Most of these upgrades, including The Wing, were all done to appease the little man in charge and keep the F1 coming back to Silverstone for the foreseeable future.
Damon Hill was reported as saying that the majority of the way the circuit facility upgrades had been designed was because that’s how Bernie had wanted them.
The roof of The Wing is lined with solar panels, helping to get Silverstone closer to its aim of net-zero carbon by 2030, and also helping power the new Escapade Silverstone complex.
When was the Silverstone Wing built?
The Wing building at Silverstone was built during 2010 and 2011. It was opened to the public on the 18th May 2011 with a grand opening ceremony that saw many past and present F1, MotoGP, BRDC and motorsport stars in attendance. 2 months later the circuit hosted the 2011 British F1 Grand Prix.
How much did the Silverstone Wing cost?
The Silverstone Wing cost £27 million ($32 million USD) to build. It was designed by the architecture firm Populous, who also produced the design for the London 2012 Olympic stadium.
The cost of The Wing and all the other circuit and infrastructure upgrades, which have been continually going on over the last 10 years, has pushed Silverstone F1 ticket prices higher than ever.
Silverstone Wing events
The Silverstone Wing houses a number of different events facilities:
- 5 events halls ranging from 460 to 1050m2, each with a mezzanine floor and vehicle access
- 4 media suites between 210 and 286m2
- 4 race admin rooms
- A business centre with 7 rooms
- 1 auditorium
- 41 pit garages totalling 5768m2
When there’s no racing going on, the Wing’s main function is as a conference and events centre. The different facilities within the venue allow the Wing to serve as the perfect place to house many different types of events. It can cater for everything from car launches and conferences to full exhibitions.
Motorsports Days Live is a good example of an event that has used the facilities of the Wing to the fullest. As a large exhibition focusing on raising the profile of UK motorsport, it successfully used numerous halls and rooms within the building to hold exhibition stalls for suppliers and businesses involved in the motorsport industry.
The garages below the exhibition were demonstration areas for pit garage and workshop equipment, driving simulators, and even a live race-car build.
The circuit itself was active with a number of race cars offering demo rides to drivers looking to get involved in different series.
More information on the facilities within the Silverstone Wing building can be found here.
Silverstone Wing floor plan
Silverstone Wing capacity
The maximum capacity for the Silverstone Wing is 4530 people. This does not include the pit garages.
For full details on the venue’s capacity and how much space each of the different areas has, see this document.
Silverstone Wing hospitality
During the F1 weekend the Paddock Club is hosted in the Wing building, one of the most exclusive (and expensive) Silverstone hospitality packages. This gives guests a birds-eye view of the pit lane action and the start / finish straight, plus gives them access to pit walks and guided track tours.