Going to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone

Silverstone to mark 50th British Grand Prix at 2014 race

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    This year’s British Grand Prix will be the 50th to be held at Silverstone and the race organisers have announced plans to mark the milestone. Press release:

    This year’s Formula One Santander British Grand Prix at Silverstone will be a landmark occasion in the circuit’s illustrious history. 2014 will see the 50th British Grand Prix to be held at the famous track (04 – 06 July) since Luigi Villoresi won the first ever event on 02 October 1948, two years before the inauguration of the FIA Formula One World Championship in 1950.

    During the Second World War many of Britain’s existing circuit layouts had become unusable, which lead the Royal Automobile Club to take out a one-year lease on the newly-redundant RAF Silverstone airfield site in 1948. The original race track was created using the two longest runways as straights and large sections of the perimeter road, which were narrowed in parts by hay bales to funnel the cars through the corners.

    The inaugural 65-lap Royal Automobile Club International Grand Prix, run under the then-new Formula One regulations on the long 3.7-mile (5.9km) circuit in front of 100,000 spectators, was won by Italian Villoresi in a Maserati, with his team-mate Alberto Ascari in second ahead of British driver Bob Gerard.

    20 out of the 28 drivers that took part in that first ever race were British and, while an Italian took the honours that day, more British drivers have gone on to win their home race than any other nationality. 12 British drivers have won their home Grand Prix over the years, ten of whom have won at Silverstone. British motor racing legends Peter Collins, Jim Clark, Sir Jackie Stewart, James Hunt, John Watson, Nigel Mansell, Damon Hill, Johnny Herbert and David Coulthard have all taken the chequered flag at the Northamptonshire circuit, and Lewis Hamilton – the last British winner in 2008 – will be pushing for victory again in July, with the support of his home crowd at Silverstone.

    To commemorate this special milestone in Silverstone’s history, the circuit is organising a number of events for fans attending this year’s British Grand Prix, including a Heritage Village, which will feature displays of memorable moments in the circuit’s history and iconic Formula 1 cars from Silverstone’s 50 British Grands Prix.

    Richard Phillips, Managing Director of Silverstone Circuits Limited, said: “2014 is a very special year for Silverstone as it marks the 50th British Grand Prix to be held at the circuit. To commemorate this milestone we are celebrating Silverstone’s rich motor sport history with fantastic displays of F1 cars from eras gone by in a one-off Heritage Village area at the circuit for fans to enjoy.

    “The British Grand Prix is the jewel in the crown of British motor sport and one of the most important races on the Formula 1 calendar; the drivers often comment that Silverstone is up there with circuits like Monaco, Monza and Spa as a race they really want to win. 2014 will be extra special with plenty of commemorative events and activities for fans to look forward to, as well as the race itself, which promises to be as exciting as ever as the teams fight to get the most out of their cars under the new regulations.

    Former Formula 1 driver Martin Brundle, commenting about Silverstone and its 50th British Grand Prix at the Autosport International Show, said: “Classic events like Silverstone mean so much. It’s a really important race for British F1 drivers. Not having a British Grand Prix would be like not having a Monaco Grand Prix or Monza. It has a massive halo effect on everything we do, including helping to develop young drivers into Formula 1, NASCAR, IndyCar, rally or Le Mans drivers. Look how important the British motor sport industry is to this country; we have this incredible business, history, heritage that is British motor sport, and the British Grand Prix is at the heart of it all.

    “Thank goodness we have such amazing fans. The spectators keep the British Grand Prix alive, because we don’t have government funding. It is driven by selling tickets.”

    1964 Formula 1 World Champion John Surtees, the only person to have won World Championships on both two and four wheels, said at the Autosport Show: “The British Grand Prix and Silverstone have a special place in my heart. I remember going with my father when he was racing a motorcycle and side car just after it stopped being an airfield. Silverstone is special, it’s in the right part of the country, it’s a superb circuit and I hope the fans continue to support it.”

    Further details of Silverstone 50th British Grand Prix celebrations will be announced in due course.


    More details of the historic British Grand Prix winners’ parade:

    This year’s Formula One Santander British Grand Prix (04-06 July) will be the 50th Grand Prix to be held at Silverstone Circuit. To mark the occasion, fans attending this year’s event will be treated to three special commemorative parades, featuring British Grand Prix winning cars and drivers that have provided unforgettable moments in the circuit’s illustrious history.

    The three parades – one scheduled for each day of the three-day event – will transfer spectators and drivers back to a bygone era, as a host of British Formula 1 legends are to be reunited with the cars they drove to British Grand Prix victory.

    Silverstone has begun its search for these iconic, original cars and is delighted to announce that the first driver and car to be involved in the parade is two-times British Grand Prix winner (1969 and 1971) and three-times Formula 1 World Champion Sir Jackie Stewart OBE, who is expected to be reunited with his 1969 British Grand Prix winning Matra MS80.

    The car, driven by Sir Jackie and originally run by Ken Tyrrell’s Matra International team, was one of the first F1® cars to be designed with wings for downforce. 1969 was also the year that Sir Jackie went on to win his first Formula 1® World Championship.

    Looking ahead to this year’s 50th Grand Prix at Silverstone and the commemorative parade laps, Sir Jackie commented: “Britain should be very proud that the very beginning of Formula One was at Silverstone, and that we will be celebrating its 50th Grand Prix in July. Silverstone, at that time, was one of the fastest racetracks in the world and I am extremely proud that my name is down as a winner of the British Grand Prix; as to win your home Grand Prix has a special meaning. I had one of the greatest battles in my racing career with Jochen Rindt in ’69, when there were more than thirty lead changes during the race. My father and my brother were there to witness it; it was one of the proudest occasions of my career. My victory at Silverstone was to lead on to me securing the World Championship for the first time also.

    “Britain is now the technology capital of the whole world in motor sport. We have had great drivers and great cars born and bred in Britain. The Formula One World Championship is now the greatest sporting series around the globe, which is a huge credit to GB plc.”

    Richard Phillips, Managing Director of Silverstone Circuits Limited, said: “No other circuit has the history of Silverstone. We are looking forward to celebrating our 50th Grand Prix and are in the process of locating the cars that have won at Silverstone over the years. We are planning to run the three track parades with as many of the original cars and their drivers as we can.

    “We are delighted to be in a position to announce the first car already. To have Sir Jackie reunited with his 1969 race and championship-winning Formula 1 car in front of the home fans is a huge privilege and something that will make this year’s British Grand Prix even more special.”

    The 2014 Formula One Santander British Grand Prix will be the 50th Grand Prix to be held at Silverstone since Luigi Villoresi won the first ever event on 02 October 1948, two years before the inauguration of the FIA Formula One World Championship in 1950.

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