Thruxton has announced it will take measures to enhance the safety of its iconic Church corner after it was brought into focus in the wake of a trio of high-speed crashes.

Considered the fastest corner on any British circuit, the challenging right-hander at Church was the scene for three sizeable accidents during the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship event, which resulted in each car coming to rest on the other side of the safety barrier.

As such, Thruxton and its owner, the BARC, has announced it will take steps to enhance the safety measures of the run-off and barriers to prevent a similar occurrence. The corner itself won't change.

This will involve levelling off the run-off area and removing a section of shrubbery and trees on the outside of the corner to be able to install more substantial barriers, with the entire work set to be completed over two winters.

Thruxton has always had a long-term desire to level off the run-off area at Church, but because of the slope at the early part of the run-off, a solution was always going to require planning permission," said Thruxton Group Managing Director Bill Coombs in a statement

"Although a fast corner, Church has always been a relatively safe bend and so the priority has always been to focus on improving safety at corners where accidents were most likely to result in injury - hence changes to the chicane kerbing for bikes and considerable work moving the entire start-line Armco back four metres at the beginning of 2014.

"We have been in discussion with the MSA, MCRCB, Environment Agency, Planning Authority and Thruxton's landowner Western Air for quite some time, and it is hoped that we will gain permission to enlarge the run-off area further - which will require about 300m of hedge coming down - and gain a gentle slope in the key, early area of run-off. Western Air has been extremely co-operative in helping us with this.

"This is a much more complex project than it might appear, and it will require a significant amount of material to raise the levels as well as considerable drainage work, and needs to be combined with some flood defence work for Thruxton Village. Hence there is still much technical detail to be sorted, but the hope is that we will get planning approval early in the new year.

"This should allow some work to be started prior to the February test and 2015 season, but it will be completed in stages, with the bulk happening over the winter from 2015 to 2016. The scale of the work and limited close-season time means it is expected to take a few years to complete fully.

"When finished, the key areas of run-off should have a gentle graded rise towards the barriers - rather than a drop as at present - should be much smoother, extended in key places by 10-15m and will be fronted by Armco and belted tyre barriers."


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