Mansell’s ’87 and Hamilton’s ’08 British Grand Prix winning cars to be featured in 50th Grand Prix Heritage PaddockAs part of celebrations for the 50th Grand Prix at this year’s FORMULA 1 SANTANDER BRITISH GRAND PRIX (04-06 July), Silverstone has announced that the centre of the circuit will be open to fans over the course of the event for the first time since 2003.
Fans will be able to access the north section of the centre of the circuit, where the GP2, GP3 and Porsche Supercup support Paddocks are situated. In addition, the centre will feature a 50th Grand Prix Heritage Paddock, hosting a display of winning cars from the previous 49 Grands Prix. The Centre Access pass will also open up new viewing points including the inside of Copse, the fastest corner on the circuit.
On each day of the event there will be parade laps featuring British Grand Prix winning cars where a host of British legends will be reunited with the cars they drove to victory. Sir Jackie Stewart’s 1969 British Grand Prix winning Matra MS80 has already been confirmed to take part in the 50th Grand Prix celebrations, and Silverstone can now confirm two more iconic winning cars for the Heritage Paddock display: Nigel Mansell’s 1987 Williams-Honda FW11b and Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren-Mercedes MP4-23, which he drove to World Championship winning glory in 2008.
Mansell, who won the British Grand Prix in 1987, 1991 and 1992, commented: “Silverstone is the spiritual home of Formula 1 and we should all feel proud of the circuit hosting its 50th Grand Prix. It has a special place in my heart and a rich heritage that cannot be replicated by other circuits. It’s still one of the most exhilarating circuits in the world, but it’s the fans and their passion that make the British Grand Prix so special.
“I have a stand out memory from each of my three Silverstone wins – in 1987 it was the overtake on my teammate Nelson Piquet down Hangar Straight, dummying to go around the outside before taking him on the inside going into Stowe. That was a really satisfying win. 1991 was another great win, but is probably best remembered for me stopping to give my rival Ayrton Senna a lift back to the pits after he ran out of fuel on the last lap. However, the most special memory for me is probably 1992, when all the fans invaded the track at the end of the race. It’s not something I’d recommend nowadays, but the euphoria took over as a sea of people surged onto the track. It was absolutely amazing and something I’ll never forget.
“If I can, I’m hoping to be at this year’s British Grand Prix to celebrate the occasion and see some of my British GP winning cars back at Silverstone.”
Speaking of his own Silverstone highlights, 2008 British Grand Prix winner Lewis Hamilton commented: “The British Grand Prix is the race I look forward to most in any season obviously, but this year will be even more special with the circuit hosting its 50th Grand Prix. Silverstone and Formula 1 come hand in hand and you just have to look at the list of winners there to appreciate its history. But it’s not just the history – British fans are the most knowledgeable and passionate in the world. As drivers, we’re really lucky to have that level of home support and it’s not something I take for granted.
“My personal Silverstone highlight has to be when I won there in 2008. It was a really wet race that year, with cars going off everywhere but I managed to keep the car on the track – most of the time – and drove a pretty good race. The team also made the right calls tactically. But it was a huge win for me and an unbelievable feeling to win my first British Grand Prix. The reaction from the crowd was amazing. That win was also a real momentum changer, in the season I went on to win the World Championship. Hopefully we can deliver a similar result at this year’s British Grand Prix.”