Inside line -- Richard Phillips

MD of Silverstone Circuits

What’s your background?

For the last 20 years I’ve been working in the events industry on events like Wimbledon, Lord’s cricket matches, Euro 96 and so on. I know what makes an event tick.

What brought about the return of the historic festival event at Silverstone?

We had this fantastic event in the 1990s and unfortunately it lapsed. We are reintroducing the event as it was so popular. We also want to value Silverstone’s heritage.

Is this a long-term plan?

This isn’t just a flash in the pan — this is the first year of a continuing programme of Silverstone Classics. In the initial year it has to get off the ground and there is a lot of investment going into it. For 2006 we aim to go to a three-day event with general admission on Friday as well. We will be increasing the type and scope of the racing and will introduce motorcycles as well. The traditional date for the event is the end of July and that’s the weekend we are committed to keeping from here on. The investment from Silverstone and the BRDC is in the hundreds of thousands of pounds.

What level of crowd are you aiming for?

It’s very difficult to predict crowd numbers at this time. A very good crowd for this type of event would be 20-30,000. So if we can get anything between 15-20,000 this year I’ll be delighted. It is vital that you have a balance of what happens off as well as on the circuit. You have to appeal to a wider public.