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Racing to the funding winner's podium

With all the money splashing around in Formula One it is often overlooked that the home of the British Grand Prix Formula One race, Silverstone, is actually run and owned by a not-for-profit organisation. With the UK economy experiencing such tough times there is little spare cash around to help fund such organisations, so it is good news indeed for British motorsport fans that Silverstone has managed to secure £9.1 million in funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

With all the money splashing around in Formula One it is often overlooked that the home of the British Grand Prix Formula One race, Silverstone, is actually run and owned by a not-for-profit organisation. With the UK economy experiencing such tough times there is little spare cash around to help fund such organisations, so it is good news indeed for British motorsport fans that Silverstone has managed to secure £9.1 million in funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). The racing circuit is owned by the British Racing Drivers Club (BRDC) who submitted ambitious plans to the lottery fund for development of the site.

These plans include a project to redevelop the area around the visitor entrance to make it a 'heritage hub.' This would house the BRDC's extensive archive collection and also provide a centre for the collection of oral histories from motorsport luminaries such as Sir Jackie Stewart and Sir Stirling Moss. The BRDC also intends to use the site as an education centre, nurturing the talent of British motorsport and engineering. Many motorsport industry firms are based around Silverstone, making it an ideal hub for a centre of excellence.

Welcoming the news, Sir Jackie Stewart said: "I am very pleased to hear that such an important initiative is underway. Silverstone holds a unique place in the history of motorsport, having hosted the first ever World Championship Grand Prix in 1950. Silverstone holds special memories for me as I am proud to have won the British Grand Prix in 1969 and 1971. This grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund is hugely important as a first step in helping the British Racing Drivers' Club and Silverstone to ensure that the heritage of the site and that of British motorsport can reach a far wider audience than before and cements its importance for future generations". It is thought that the project will create around 50 permanent jobs at the site.

Silverstone hosted the British Grand Prix in the very first year of Formula One competition in 1950 and has since held the race a further 46 times. The circuit was originally formed from part of a Second World War airstrip perimeter track and was one of the fastest in the world until slowed by a deliberate redesign. The funding comes on the back or previous sizeable investments, required to maintain Silverstone's position as Britain's home of Formula One. Chair of the HLF, Dame Jenny Abramsky praised the Silverstone proposals for their "strong focus on regeneration and importance to their local communities".
 

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