The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded Silverstone Heritage Limited a £9.1 million grant which will enable it to build the Silverstone Heritage Experience at the home of British Motor Racing in Northamptonshire.
Sir Stirling, a patron of the Silverstone Heritage Experience, and as an 18-year-old raced at the first British Grand Prix at Silverstone held in 1948, said the museum was "important" to the sport's history, adding "I think for people who go up there, they'll see what it is all about. See how things started - what has been done."
Sally Reynolds, CEO of Silverstone Heritage Limited, said “We were delighted to hear that our bid has been successful. This means that work on the project can start in the New Year and that the Silverstone Heritage Experience can open to the public in spring 2019.”
Sir Peter Luff, Chair of HLF, said: “Silverstone is a place where so many legends of British motor racing have their roots. The speed and the glamour, though, are only part of the success of British motorsport since the late 1940s. Thanks to National Lottery players, more of the stories in this exciting heritage can now be told; stories of drivers and sporting glory, yes, but also of the extraordinary creativity of British engineering and of all the people behind the scenes who, quite literally, have kept the show on the road. When completed this project will help visitors, many of whom will know little about these aspects of Silverstone’s heritage, to understand much more about the context and importance of this internationally renowned racing circuit.”
The project will bring the extensive heritage of Silverstone and British motor racing to life for an estimated half a million visitors a year, through the creation of a dynamic, interactive and educational visitor experience.
The Silverstone Heritage Experience will include:
- A permanent exhibition that will take visitors on an exciting two hour journey through motor racing past, present and future. The exhibition will be housed in the only remaining WWII hangar on the site, which is to the left of the main entrance. The hangar will be fully refurbished and re-clad to create a fantastic, authentic backdrop.
- The latest technology will be used to tell the amazing stories of the people that have been part of the site’s history, from medieval monks and WWII air crew to the racing drivers, riders, engineers and marshals of today.
- A Collections and Research Centre, offering museum and archive accredited storage for the unique British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) archive and other motor sport collections as well as a specialist library and learning space for school groups.
- A series of themed tours stopping off at iconic sites around the circuit.
The Silverstone Heritage Experience will ensure that the heritage of Silverstone and British motor racing is explained and interpreted for today’s public as well as being protected for future generations. It will celebrate the circuit and the country’s position at the very heart of the global motor sport industry by explaining their historic and continuing importance to the sport.
By telling the extraordinary story of the UK’s central role in technological innovation and leadership within global motor sport, we aim to inspire the next generation of world class engineers and motor sport experts.
In addition to the support from the HLF, the Silverstone Heritage Experience Project has also been supported by South Northamptonshire Council, Aylesbury Vale District Council, Buckinghamshire County Council, Northamptonshire County Council, Cherwell District Council, Buckinghamshire and Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership and South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership.
The exhibition is being designed by sector specialists Mather and Co whose previous projects include the National Football Museum, Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum, The Springbok Experience, The Olympic Museum, Chelsea FC Museum and the Warwickshire County Cricket Museum. The Project Architect, heading up the building services team, is Jane Lock-Smith of Cube Design who was awarded Architect of the Year at the Women in Construction Awards 2016.
The audio visual and multi-media content for the exhibition will be created and produced by Wentworth Media & Arts and Moonlake Entertainment who will also be producing a feature length documentary film entitled "Silverstone - The Cradle of Motorsports” for release in 2018.