Mining a vintage back catalogue is all the rage – from Aston Martin’s continuation models to this magazine’s recent drive to give readers access to 95 years of history via its online archive section – and now the home of British motor racing is getting in on the act.
Launching this month the Silverstone Experience promises to tell the story of the circuit and of racing in Britain, through a collection of priceless memorabilia – some of which hasn’t been seen by the public for decades.
The exhibition, which will be open all year round and is housed in a refurbished WW2 aircraft hangar at the circuit, will feature archive items including a driver scrapbook from the 1940s, a collection of BRDC gold stars won by Formula 1 champion James Hunt and a 1992 grand prix signing-on sheet featuring the scribbles of drivers such as Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher, Nigel Mansell and Damon Hill.
Visitors will also learn about the science behind the modern-day sport as well as seeing historic cars and bikes – such as Barry Sheene’s 1979 Suzuki, leathers and helmet – modified with a hole to allow him to smoke whilst wearing it – and Mansell’s 1992 British Grand Prix-winning Williams.
The exhibition has cost £20m, including a £9.1m grant from the National Lottery Fund, and will form a key part of a rejuvenated circuit which earlier this year reached agreement with Formula 1 to continue to host the British Grand Prix.
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