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January 3, 2002

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Converged Security in 2019: Highlights and Insights from IFSEC International

BRDC revs up access control at Silverstone

Although currently under threat from the FIA, the British Formula 1 Grand Prix at the Silverstone race track in Northamptonshire remains one of the most prestigious events on the motor racing calendar. Tens of thousands of fans crowd the circuit each year for qualifying and the race proper.
Managing such levels of visitors, of course, involves careful organisation. For the 2001 event a new proximity-based access control system was installed, not only to ease the flow of visitors but also to enhance security on the vast site.
Prior to last year, a mag-stripe card entry system had been deployed, but event organisers the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) had repeatedly experienced read failures during main events. "We’d often have to physically open the gates ourselves to let the visitors in, which rather defeats the objective of having an access system," said club secretary Rear Admiral Roger Lane-Nott.

Tracking visitors at Silverstone
The BRDC organises most of the 37 race meetings held annually at Silverstone, including the four World Championship events (F1 plus Formula 3000, GT and World Sports Cars). Each BRDC member is allowed to invite up to four guests to each event. With 5,000 potential visitors at each racing ‘showcase’, then, effective access control becomes a priority.
"In the past guests would often arrive before the BRDC member," added Lane-Nott, "and then gain access to the grounds. This made it difficult to track visitors, so we had to prevent it."
Lane-Nott called in access specialist the Databac Group to solve the problem. A system was installed that involves two tripod-like turnstiles fitted with HID proximity card readers and red/green traffic lights.
In addition, Climarques’ KeyMaster Pro access control software was then customised to cater for the BRDC’s stringent requirements. This Windows NT-based system was programmed with anti-passback functionality only, allowing access to members ahead of their guests.

Access control: future developments
The system was fully-tested and ready three weeks before the 2001 F1 Grand Prix, held on 16 July. No read failures occurred and access was fast – hampered only by bulk arrivals waiting to enter through the twin turnstiles.
Lane-Nott is now looking at adding a further two turnstiles to manage the sheer volume of visitors at Silverstone’s most popular events.

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