Silverstone has revealed a record crowd figure for the first day of the three-day British Grand Prix weekend, as 42,000 fans - many attracted by the Lewis Hamilton phenomenon - poured through the gates on Friday.

That figure is four thousand up on the corresponding day in 2006, with Hamilton and three fellow Brits proving the main attraction as a fascinating season continues with the ninth round of the year.

"Today's attendance of 42,000 is a record for a Friday of the British Grand Prix," Silverstone Circuits MD Richard Phillips confirmed, "We have the best fans in the world and the fact that they've all come out in the current weather conditions is a true testament to their commitment and passion for the sport

"Each year we get more and more fans coming to Silverstone for all three days of the British Grand Prix. We are now a three day event which, with tickets available from as little as ?99 - effectively ?33 per day - offers great value for money. The weather forecast looks good over the weekend, so we can hopefully look forward to a fantastic race on Sunday."

The bigger crowd and the unusually poor weather conditions which preceded the event have, however, led to further contingency plans being laid down by the circuit in an effort to make the Silverstone experience as pleasant as possible for everyone.

Following on from initial plans set up earlier in the week, Friday precautions were put in place to preserve a number of temporary public car parks being used over the weekend. Further heavy rain on Thursday evening led circuit officials, the Highways Agency, police and other agencies to limit access to a number of non-hard standing car parks on Friday morning. This enabled Friday to be used as a 'drying out' period which, following the adverse weather, was essential if normal traffic management systems and car parking facilities are to be resumed in time for the weekend.

The steps taken to protect car parking facilities led to a revision of the traffic management system and, in order to filter traffic into Silverstone's hard-standing car parks,
the number of lanes for traffic heading into the circuit had to be reduced, causing an element of disruption for fans heading into the circuit. Circuit bosses are confident, however, that normal service will be resumed for Saturday and Sunday, and that the one-way traffic management system will be in place for the remainder of the weekend.

"We've been keeping a close eye on the weather throughout the last few weeks and have undertaken considerable contingency measures," Phillips commented, "Following further rainfall on Thursday evening, we implemented additional contingency plans to preserve and protect a number of car parks.

"We have to take a sensible and measured approach to getting spectators in and out of the circuit and, while the changeable weather doesn't offer any guarantees, we have given ourselves the best possible chance of successfully managing vehicle movements over the weekend.

"The enjoyment of our spectators is of paramount importance and, in light of the weather conditions, we are doing everything possible to ensure that the customer experience is not compromised. Once again, we would like to thank the fans in advance for their understanding and co-operation over the next few days. I am confident
that they will all enjoy a fantastic British Grand Prix."

In addition to the weather, the circuit is also taking extra precautions following the recent terror alerts around Britain. As a result, Silverstone is working closely with Northamptonshire Police and, while there is no intelligence to suggest any threat to the grand prix, increased searches of vehicles and people will be carried out throughout the weekend. With this in mind, circuit bosses again reiterate their advice to racegoers to leave extra time to gain entry to the circuit and be prepared for the possibility of minor disruption.

 

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