Silverstone Circuit is all set to celebrate this weekend as the local track plays host to its 50th Grand Prix motor race.
Silverstone has been regarded as the home of British motor racing since witnessing its first Grand Prix event in 1948, and now, 66 years later, the venue that straddles the Northants and Bucks border is to host the ninth round of the 2014 F1 World Championship.
A party atmosphere is expected and with hopes of a home winner in Lewis Hamilton high, the enthusiastic British public are set for a unforgettable weekend of top flight international racing.
Hamilton arrives at Silverstone placed second in the World Championship Drivers’ standings, 29 points behind team-mate Nico Rosberg for Brackley-based Mercedes.
Ahead of the race, the 29-year-old said: “Winning at Silverstone is very important. The fans at Silverstone are the best in the world and I am looking forward to giving them all something to cheer about. It would be a great result to win at Silverstone. I will be doing my very best.”
Formula One has adopted a new set of regulations for the 2014 season, and this weekend will be the first time the V6 turbocharged engines will be seen in Britain. Gone are the high-revving loud 2.4-litre V8 engines, with the technologically advanced V6 powerplants adding a new dimension, and sound, to the world’s leading race series.
Former Buckingham University student Marc Gene, who is the official Ferrari reserve driver, said: “The new sound of F1 is very different. Every country we visit we see different the reactions from people. The turbocharged sound is very space age and I think the Silverstone crowds will like what they hear.”
Aside from Hamilton, two further British drivers will line-up on the grid for the race that is scheduled to start at 1pm on Sunday afternoon. Jenson Button will drive a McLaren, while Max Chilton drives for the Marussia team.
Despite winning the world title in 2009, victory in Britain has so far eluded Button, who says: “I would love to win at Silverstone. I know it will be tough but anything is possible. Winning the British Grand Prix is certainly something I want to do before I leave F1.”
The Advertiser & Review region will also be well-represented in the big race by Brackley’s Mercedes, Silverstone’s Sahara Force India and Bicester’s Toro Rosso.
Silverstone’s history will also be celebrated throughout the weekend by a parade of former Grand Prix cars driven by British Grand Prix winners including Sir Jackie Stewart, Nigel Mansell, Johnny Herbert, David Coulthard and Emerson Fittipaldi.
The former racers will be reunited with cars of yesteryear for a number of laps around the famous circuit.
Sir Jackie said: “This is a great way for Silverstone to celebrate its 50th Grand Prix. I am really looking forward to driving the Matra-Ford that I won the 1969 British Grand Prix with. It will be a real tribute to motor racing to see so many famous cars and drivers on-track at the same time.”
Nigel Mansell added: “I was very pleased to be asked to take part this year. We are set for a great party!”
Aside from the F1 action, Silverstone offers support races for the GP2 and GP3 Series and the Mobil 1 Porsche Supercup, with the Royal Air Force Aerobatic team, the Red Arrows, making their traditional visit to kick-start the build-up at midday on Sunday.