Reports have emerged today that hint at the possibility of a second British Grand Prix, which could be added to the calendar as early as 2012.
The Grand Prix will be a street circuit based in Somerset, with each of the two laps reportedly set to measure in at approximately 36 miles.
The start/finish straight will be in the centre of Taunton High Street, a move which already has local residents hot under the collar. One local said “It makes a mockery of the pedestrianisation of central Taunton. I for one won’t be shopping that day.”
Once all 24 cars have negotiated the tricky one way system, the drivers will enter a series of high speed corners as they follow the A38 east, and head towards the M5 underpass. Once under the motorway, the drivers skills are really put to the test as a highly complex series of villages and hamlets completes the outward stretch.
Ruishton and Creech St Michael will be the first to feel the throb of the procession thundering through, as the normal 20mph speed limits are flagrantly ignored. The cars will then whistle down the A361 through Durston, and then Lower Durston, where organisers are confident that overtaking will be a breeze as a ban on the transportation of farm machinery is imposed.
The race will then say hello, and very quickly goodbye, to West Lyng (population 154) before sailing into Lyng central, where an unfortunate clash with the village’s biannual marmalade festival could cause severe problems on the day.
Any drivers lucky enough to avoid the throngs of jam lovers will then pass through the keenly anticipated Burrowbridge chicane, where the race turns north towards West Yeo. The next few miles could prove decisive in terms of victory, as pot holes and overhanging shrubbery keep the drivers on their toes. After Northmoor Green, the drivers are on their own. Team radio contact is impossible as the cars go through a 4 mile blackspot, and legible signposting is at an absolute premium. A good knowledge of the local area must be acquired before the race, as the use of satellite navigation has been vetoed.
Any cars still running will then get the welcome relief of smooth tarmac as they join the M5 southbound at junction 24. Come race day, a 24 hour increase on the national speed limit is hoping to be achieved, else overtaking on the M5 could prove to be hellishly difficult, and undertaking simply illegal.
A lengthy motorway stretch has never been tried during a Grand Prix race before, and experts are predicting that it might be the low point of the event.
Shortly after passing Poundisford, the teams will be able to take on some fuel, and maybe pick up a magazine and a burger, as they hit Taunton services just before junction 26. Time spent dallying here could be the difference between winning and losing, so don’t be surprised to see the top drivers sans ice-cream as they scream back on to the motorway.
With the closing section of the race in sight, the key word is ‘alert’, because if you miss the exit at junction 26, you might as well pull into a Travelodge.
The final few miles sees the competitors back in the sticks with first Chelston, and then Bradford-on-Tone challenging the drivers skills with a series of tight country lanes.
When the B3327 turns into the A358 after Norton Fitzwarren, the competitors will know the chequered flag is just around the corner. Sadly, this corner is a blind, uphill right hander, with oncoming ploughing vehicles not uncommon. Only the bravest will attempt a move on the outside here.
Staplegrove Road is what’s passing as the home straight for the afternoon, which leads the drivers back into the Taunton one way system where the chequered flag will finally fall after several hours of countryside racing.
A spokesman has said of the event, “The Somerset Grand Prix could be the launching pad for motorsport in rural areas, and I look forward to the day when this dream becomes a reality.”
Click here to read the official press release