The BRDC strives to safeguard not only British motorsport’s future, but also its past. So at Silverstone the Club stores an extensive archive. Tim Scott paid a visit in search of hidden gems
To call it thorough does not do it justice. The British Racing Drivers Club archive is beyond that – it’s a painstakingly meticulous record of just about every event that the club has staged since its inception. To delve in is to find a multitude of treasures, large and small, crucial and irreverent.
The range of material is vast. In terms of large, three-dimensional objects, the major theme of the collection is the Club’s trophies on display in the clubhouse.
In addition to this are boxes upon boxes of paperwork from down the years, all being carefully sorted over time by BRDC archivist James Beckett.
Still surviving are the minutes from the original 1928 meeting when the Club was formalised. There are great bound volumes, tomes of primary material, recording BRDC events from the 1930s on – from organiser’s bulletins, entry forms and lists, letters quibbling about starting money through to practice times and race results.
The long-term aim is that it should all end up on public display, as part of an interactive motorsport centre at Silverstone. In the meantime, here’s a taster.
Opposite page, clockwise: Central to one of the clubhouse displays is the beautiful British Empire Trophy, weighing in at over 20kg; presidential mainstay Earl Howe’s car badge in mint condition; officials’ armbands from 1933 BRDC 500; archive includes meticulously stored passes and tickets from events through the years. Above, clockwise from top: Menus from silver and golden jubilees (counting from informal 1927 meeting); central to BRDC ethos were dinners to recognize achievements in the sport – four were held in Land Speed Record breaker Malcolm Campbell’s honour during 1932-35. Shown in toast order and guest list from dinner on March 23, 1932.