The LDN Collective, a group of built environmental experts, and consultancy firm DAR have proposed an ambitious plan to develop a “globally recognised waterfront destination for sports, leisure and entertainment” in east London. Their plan envisages a London Grand Prix at a high-speed street circuit located at the riverfront area. The proposed circuit features a 3.64-mile route consisting of 22 corners at an average speed of 127mph, creating an estimated lap time of 1m42s. Also similar to Montreal, the circuit has prolonged stretches of full-throttle running intertwined with heavy braking zones to encourage overtaking. This London Grand Prix concept would run alongside the British Grand Prix that takes place at Silverstone.
As part of the redevelopment of the Docklands site, the LDN Collective proposes the heavy use of floating modules that can be disassembled to reveal an FIA-grade track surface. These floating units would alternate between forming cycling and running tracks and grandstands with a total capacity of 95,000, combined with trackside entertainment facilities. One of the standout features of the proposed track is the “unique” pit lane that would run along the first-floor servicing and loading deck of the ExCeL Centre, the same venue that played host to Formula E’s London E-Prix.
The LDN Collective has designed an elevated platform to enhance viewing opportunities at the track. This platform would also enable a grandstand on the main straight to sit between the track and pit lane. Max Farrell, CEO of the LDN Collective, expressed his optimism about the project and revealed that they already discussed it with the Greater London Authority, who plan to develop a water strategy and planning framework with Newham Council.
Formula 1 has shown interest in a London Grand Prix in the past, with former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone targeting a street circuit that passed famous landmarks, including Buckingham Palace. Liberty Media, the current owners of F1, has also considered the concept, encouraging Silverstone to negotiate protective clauses when forming its new contract in 2019. Regardless of F1‘s participation, the LDN Collective sees their plan as transformational, a potential major economic boost for London and the UK globally as they emerge from the pandemic.