Known as the “Home of British Motor Racing”, Silverstone is located near the villages of Silverstone and Whittlebury in England. At the end of World War II, Britain had no major racing courses, but what they didn’t lack was a great quantity of abandoned airfields. The site of RAF Silverstone was picked by the Royal Automobile Club in 1948 as an ideal location to bring international racing to Britain. After arranging a 1 year lease with the Air Ministry, James Wilson Brown was a former farmer who was only given two months to transform the air strip into a race track.
On 2nd October 1948, over 100,000 people flocked to see the RAC’s first International Grand Prix at Silverstone, who watched legend Luigi “Gigi” Villoresi and his Maserati beat a full grid. It didn’t take long for the track to grow in popularity, encouraging a new form of racing called The Formula One World Championship. Rings a bell, doesn’t it? Yes, the highest class, single-seat auto racing sanctioned by the FIA, started on an abandoned air field in 1950. From 1955 to 1986, the Formula One World Championship was rotated between Silverstone, Brands Hatch and Aintree, before permanently being moved to Silverstone in 1987.
Silverstone also has a racing club for enthusiasts, if you’d like to join, you could always fill out an application. With a history as rich as the course itself, The Silverstone Racing Club was started in 1966 by the aforementioned James Wilson Brown, as a place for others to enjoy the their love of auto racing, while getting the chance to race the same course as their idols. The love of the sport and the circuit has been the life’s blood of the organization of Silverstone. Silverstone also hosts the Silverstone Classic, a three day care and race event, which takes place over a weekend every July. Started in 1990, the cars raced at these events range from historical Formula 1 vehicles, to sophisticated prototypes in the Le Mans touring category.
With people who have supported the circuit since its conception 66 years ago, Silverstone is a track that isn’t going anywhere for a long time. You can catch the action of the 2015 Silverstone leg of the Formula One Championship series July 5th.
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