Silverstone, Verstappen, old and new


Editor Joe Dunn on the latest issue of Motor Sport magazine and getting that crucial balance right…

1948 British Grand Prix Silverstone start

One of the great challenges and pleasures of editing Motor Sport is managing the balance between old and new. Yes, we love the history of the sport and are suckers for the characters and machines it has thrown up over the decades; yes we find ourselves curiously drawn to the historic curio that illuminates a forgotten bit of the past but Motor Sport also has a mission to explain the contemporary and the modern as well.

In many ways this month’s cover story is the ideal marriage of both these imperatives. Silverstone, the home of British racing, celebrates its 70th anniversary and what better way to mark it than to invite those that know it best to relieve their greatest memories of it. 

Our coverage kicks off with Murray Walker talking about his memory of the first international race meeting at the circuit in 1948, where, as he recalls, there were still pieces of barbed wire and old aircraft left over from when the circuit was an operational base during the WWII. It didn’t matter, says Murray, all that mattered was that racing was back. It is an inspiring read.

We follow that up with one race from each of the following decades remembered by some of the greats of the sport: Sir Jackie Stewart, Nigel Mansell and, of course, Lewis Hamilton to name just three. It says something about the fondness that the old circuit is remembered with that we were able to find drivers of such calibre to freely give their time to talk about it.

Elsewhere in this month’s magazine we tackle the very modern problems that Max Verstappen is encountering in asserting himself in the Red Bull team. As Mark Hughes brilliantly explains much of his perceived impetuousness is not ingrained in him, but is instead a relatively new phenomenon begging the question: why is it apparently getting worse now?

From here we whizz back in time to the 1950s and meet Pat Appleyard, now in her 90s, who recalls her escapades along with her husband Ian in one of the most famous Jaguar’s of all time, the NUB 120 registered XK120. It is a journey that takes us back in time to the golden age of continental rallying; an era that has now all but been lost but which still has the power to thrill.

Although perhaps not as much as Petter Solberg does during his exploits at the wheel of a World Rallycross supercar… We take Solberg to lunch at his favourite London sushi restaurant and are regaled with tales from the sharp end of RX and of course the World Rally Championship which he won in 2013 including hair-raising accounts of his time as a team-mate of Colin McRae. Not for the faint hearted.

The balance between old and new can be hard to get right but hopefully we have managed it this month. And of course as well as all this the magazine is packed full of our regular contributors including Doug Nye, Gordon Cruickshank, Dickie Meaden, Mat Oxley, Andrew Frankel and Simon Arron. 

I hope you enjoy the issue and join me in raising a glass and wishing Silverstone a very happy birthday come July 8 and the 2018 British GP.

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