Pembrey Circuit will write another chapter in its illustrious history this year with the introduction of new track layout options, designed to add yet more challenges to competitors who test and race, and further spectacle for those in attendance.
Entering what will be its 27th year of operation in conjunction with the British Automobile Racing Club (BARC) in 2017, Pembrey has become synonymous down the years as one of the pivotal proving grounds for teams and drivers with the likes of Formula 1 stars Jenson Button, Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen having all cut their teeth around the Welsh circuit.
Whilst testing has become one of the big draws for teams such as Double R Racing and Carlin, race meetings have also seen a diverse range of championships grace the BARC-run venue with the likes of British Touring Cars, British Trucks and British Rallycross all being staged there over the years.
Since the final chequered flag of 2016 fell, work at Pembrey has been ongoing and recently tarmac has started being laid as track developments begin. The latest changes to the circuit will allow for two different layouts to be used over a single weekend.
Crossing the start/finish line, cars and bikes will proceed through Hatchets Hairpin, Spitfires and Dibeni before approaching the new configuration. Heading over the circuit crossing, competitors will now have a circuit option to continue straight on instead of traditionally turning left, filing into a tight left hander before rejoining the existing layout and building up both speed and momentum.
This introduction of a heavy braking section followed by consecutive high speed right handers will test both the performance of the car/bike and the skill set of the competitor.
In conjunction with this latest track development currently taking place, plans are also being formulated for further work to be undertaken on the back straight. Once plans are finalised in early 2017, an alternative corner sequence will be introduced down the back straight heading into the infamous Honda Curve.
Rallycross will also welcome a new layout for 2017 too following the introduction of running events in both directions last year. Competitors will once again begin on the existing rallycross layout with the first change coming on the approach to the loose section.
Whereas previously drivers would head over the circuit crossing and onto the loose, they will now bear left and continue on the original circuit thus giving spectators another vantage point.
Tackling the new section in reverse via a chicane, competitors will rejoin the existing rallycross track and move further round the lap to tackle the newly improved joker section - all targeted towards providing even more challenging, entertaining racing and also offering the option to be run in the opposite direction too.
Learn more about the history of the circuit as well as an in-depth look into the changes that are being made with this mini documentary provided by Overdrive and Driven International, watch here.
Listen to all the latest audio on the Pembrey Circuit developments by visiting the official BARC podcast site by clicking here.
*Phil Davies, Pembrey Circuit Manager, said: *“These plans have been discussed for quite a while now so it is great to finally be able to start moving forward with them. Motor racing is a difficult business with constant changes, and we are determined to stay ahead of the game and offer test teams and competitors what they need to succeed. With these new developments as part of an ongoing upgrade program, the future looks bright.
“The reason we looked into this idea originally was regarding the younger drivers that are making their way through the ranks. When they come down and test with these big teams there are always going to be differing stages of driver experience as talent develops, so these changes are aimed at making it a little bit easier to develop core skills. We’ve worked alongside a lot of highly experienced motorsport people and taken their ideas on board to come up with the best package for everyone.”
Drew Furlong, BARC Chief Operating Officer, said: “As a club we are always looking to move forward and that goes for our venues too. Pembrey has continued to grow over the past few years and these developments are the next stage in moving forward. With the likes of the British Rallycross Championship and other series all consistently visiting the circuit, these changes are set to not only attract them back, but also to entice new championships to visit.”
Rhodri Jenkins, BARC Council Member, said: “Pembrey is the home of Welsh motorsport and a jewel in the crown of British motorsport; these changes are the start of further underlining why Pembrey is a great circuit to come to test and race at. When you look back through the history books you see how many of the very top drivers around the world have honed their craft at Pembrey, and the aim is to ensure that this trend continues for many years to come.”