Gaining membership to the BRDC was one of the biggest moments of my career as a young driver. I was awarded it after winning the Formula Three support race at the 1964 British Grand Prix. I still have that trophy proudly displayed in my home; it was a huge year for me. Having that badge on my overalls meant so much. Being allowed to wear it for the first time is one of those events I will always remember. I must admit that it brought out the poseur in me, but I was as proud as punch — it was a prestigious accolade.
I still feel the same way about the Club; it has an immense history and a roll-call that is second to none in motorsport. It is the only racing drivers’ club in the world that has its own grand prix circuit. It works hard to retain the prestige that it has rightly earned over the past 75 years, and has a style and a dignity that are of a very high level.
The Silverstone circuit is owned by the British Racing Drivers Club, and it was here in 1950 that the first F1 world championship race was held. We are currently spending a large amount of money at Silverstone to improve the facilities for the general public and the motorsport community. We want to go even further and create a 365-days-per-year world-class activity destination that will celebrate the car, and motorsport in particular.
The BRDC has faced many challenges in its life. It has often been threatened with the possible loss of the British Grand Prix because its amenities have not equalled those of other venues around the world, where countries and governments have supported the creation of more modem facilities. We are hopeful that the British Government, together with the private sector, will assist us in creating a unique motorsport centre of excellence; we will then be able to boast of another first for British motorsport and its industry.
Motorsport is a great ambassador for our country; we lead the world in motorsport technology. We have a very broad-based infrastructure, from the grass roots all the way up to the very top, and I am confident that the BRDC and its Board will not only continue to keep the Club in the foreground of our sport, but also will continue to develop young drivers to succeed and build on the reputation created by those who have given so much to the sport since the Club’s creation.
It is right that we celebrate our 75 years and our members’ achievements during that time. It is also right that we celebrate what the Club stands for and look towards the future with enthusiasm and commitment to further advance our Club, our sport, our industry and our country.