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  • Tarmac, A CRH Company, combined a bespoke material design with some of the most ambitious cutting-edge digital construction technologies available to address an ambitious brief and resurface the iconic Silverstone racing circuit.
  • An essential track upgrade was required in a window of just three weeks ahead of the British Grand Prix, able to withstand the extreme stresses of elite motor racing with a focus on both safety and performance.
  • The innovative technology used at Silverstone has since been transferred to British public highway projects with the capability to make public highways more resilient, durable and sustainable.
Division(s)
CRH Europe
Product Type(s)
Road Planing
Asphalt
Paving & Construction
Location
Northamptonshire, United Kingdom

The internationally famous Silverstone Circuit sees thousands of vehicles race around its track every year, at speeds of up to 200mph.

In need of an essential upgrade ahead of the 2019 British Grand Prix, the Silverstone team turned to Tarmac, A CRH Company, to design and deliver a bespoke surfacing solution that would withstand the extreme stresses of elite motor racing.

Given the high speeds on the track, a focus on both safety and performance was key. Technical experts created an innovative new asphalt mix capable of providing the hi-tech surface critical for safety and speed. Consistent grip for tyres in both wet and dry conditions was also needed, along with the ability to shed water quickly.

Before Tarmac could lay the new surface, the old track had to be removed. The programme schedule was tight. There was a limited window of opportunity before the Grand Prix, and poor weather further reduced the delivery time available. Rising to the challenge, a surface equivalent to eighteen football pitches was milled in just three days and two nights. The team deployed a laser scanning system that could detect and eliminate near invisible bumps to create a 3D model of the track. This was used by the milling machines to adjust gradients and improve drainage as they worked.

Next came the carefully choreographed resurfacing. A specialist setup of three digitally controlled paving machines in close formation followed the 3D model to ensure the new surface was joint-free across the width of the track. The paving machines had to work continuously as any stops in the laying process could result in bumps in the final road surface, making a significant difference to track performance, safety and durability.

The Silverstone resurfacing project was delivered in just three weeks and set a new standard for the finish of racetracks, resulting in a quality level impossible to achieve with more traditional methods. Including 18,000 tonnes of recycled material it went straight into action and saw Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton set a new race lap record as he clinched victory in the British Grand Prix.

While very few motorists travel at such high speeds, they can all benefit from higher performing road surfaces. The innovative technology used at Silverstone has since been transferred to British public highways projects, making journeys better by reducing road noise and improving ride quality which, in turn, leads to less fuel consumption.

Our drive to advance innovation and make roads safer, more resilient and more sustainable continues. We are proud to stand together to reinvent the way our world is built.