I have been to the Snetterton racing circuit in Norfolk three times for BTCC weekends. My first time there was not only my first trip to Snetterton, but also my first experience of a live motorsport event. Snetterton is one of the circuits visited by the BTCC which offers an open paddock as part of the ticket price – allowing you to get closer to the drivers. The first thing that struck me when I arrived at the circuit was the noise of the cars on track. The sound on TV is nothing compared to hearing it live. I instantly loved it and knew that I was going to have a great weekend.
I have had a number of great experiences at Snetterton which I will never forget. As a fan of Formula One as well, I was pleased to meet pit lane reporter Ted Kravitz on my first and second visits there. I also got to meet former ITV F1 reporter Louise Goodman. Getting to meet the drivers was a big thing for me – as the paddock is open, it’s a great opportunity to meet the drivers and chat to them about the cars, or their performances in a particular session. During my second year at Snetterton I was invited into Boulevard Racing Team’s garage just an hour before qualifying was due to begin and got to see them working on Martin Johnson’s car. To my surprise, I was then asked if I would like to sit in the car – obviously I said yes!
The next year I got to meet Adrian Newey, a key F1 engineer, who was there racing. I also enjoyed getting to stand just under the podium. For one of the races, two of my favourite drivers – Tom Onslow Cole and Tom Chilton – were on the podium and I managed to get to the front of the crowd. It did mean that I got sprayed with champagne, but that was part of the fun and the experience.
I enjoyed watching a lot of the action from the Revett Straight, which is now called the Bentley Straight on the new Snetterton 300 layout. I have never been to it so cannot comment on best places to watch from there. I also watched a lot from the final corner (which used to be a chicane) and also just after the straight before Bomb Hole and Coram.
As well as the racing there are plenty of other things going on such as merchandise tents, teams giving away freebies, racing games, food vans and a restaurant.
I went for both days and used the Saturday to suss everything out and find out where everything was, and work out the best places to watch. Saturday is generally quieter meaning that it is a good time to look for drivers if you are wanting photographs/autographs. On the Sunday there is a pit-lane autograph session which is good as teams are normally giving away signed posters. Generally, the bigger teams are busier, so it pays to go towards the smaller teams as it’s likely you’ll not spend so long standing around for one driver.
I would thoroughly recommend Snetterton, and while I was unable to attend this year, I hope to be going back in 2012!