The Strat Pack
Strategy and simulation gaming and adjacent interests
Getting the full Martin Brundle experience at Thruxton
I got back to Thruxton last week after nine months away, travelling down to Andover to watch the British Touring Car Championship, Formula 4, and other support races. It was a gorgeous day (so much so that I felt its effects for days to come) - perfect for sitting out in the fresh air and watching some racing from the grass banks at one of the country’s fastest circuits.
Last time I visited the track the action came mainly from the racing - notably a particularly incident-packed Mini Challenge race. The drivers seemed a bit more chilled out this year, however, and while there was some good jostling for position, the racing was friendly enough that the only DNF we saw was a Mini whose front left wheel simply gave way coming out of the Club chicane behind the safety car - a rather bizarre incident.
While I still maintain that Brands Hatch has the best views in the country, Thruxton’s grandstands at Club give a good angle on the action, and its banked viewing areas mean you can see well no matter when you arrive or how much you move around. This year I explored a bit further than before, moving past Campbell and Cobb and around towards Segrave and Noble.
Watching Formula 4 cars navigate the Campbell-Cobb chicane from just behind the barriers was quite something. The angle reminded me of the segments in Sky’s Formula 1 practice coverage where Martin Brundle stands at different points on the track, observing the variations between drivers’ approaches and watching the weight shift across the wheels as they turn in.
The northmost viewing area is set up on a hill on the exit of Segrave and running down towards Noble. Therefore it doesn’t offer quite as much action as the complex itself, but it does provide a nice, clear space to catch the cars running at speed for any budding motorsport photographers, and was well worth the climb to see the cars from the slightly different perspective.
Another area I visited for the first time this year was the paddock. Accessible via a pedestrian tunnel on the home straight, it extends out towards the airfield and is fully open to spectators, at least on BTCC weekend. Of particular interest to me were the Formula 4 team tents, where some of the cars were stripped down for all sorts of work, with panels missing to expose their front suspensions, engines, and more.
All in all, it was another successful day out. I feel like Thruxton isn’t often mentioned in the same conversations as more famous circuits like Silverstone and Brands Hatch that have hosted Formula 1 grands prix, but it should certainly be high on your list if you live in the south of England and you want to watch some exciting motor racing on a very fast track.