Northampton

Silverstone to open £20m motorsport museum

Artist's impression of the Silverstone Heritage Experience Image copyright Silverstone Heritage
Image caption The Silverstone Heritage Experience is expected to welcome about 500,000 visitors a year once it opens in 2019

A £20m museum dedicated to motorsport is to open at the British home of Formula 1 with nearly half the money coming from a lottery grant.

Leading names from the sport including Sir Stirling Moss and Nico Rosberg have welcomed the announcement of the museum for Silverstone.

It will display dozens of Formula 1 and other racing cars and bikes along with personal items from famous drivers.

The centre is due to open in 2019 after the £9.1m Heritage Lottery Fund grant.

Image caption World Champion Nico Rosberg said he hopes to visit the museum when it opens in 2019

Formula 1 world champion Nico Rosberg, whose father Keke achieved a record-breaking fastest qualifying lap at the Northamptonshire circuit in 1985, said: "The heritage of the sport is massively important - and it has such an incredible heritage.

"I hope one day I will be able to go to the centre and see all the stuff there."

The Silverstone Heritage Experience will be housed in the only remaining World War Two hangar on the former aerodrome site and is expected to attract about 500,000 visitors a year.

A collections and research centre encompassing an archive for the British Racing Drivers' Club and other motorsport collections will also be based there.

Image copyright BRDC Archive
Image caption Sir Stirling Moss, pictured racing at Silverstone, said the museum would let people explore the sport's British history
Image copyright BRDC Archive
Image caption The museum will chart 70 years of motorsport history at Silverstone and will also house an archive
Image copyright BRDC Archive
Image caption Sir Stirling Moss has described the Silverstone circuit for the first British Grand Prix in 1948 as "crude"
Image copyright Jakob Ebrey
Image caption Former racing driver Derek Warwick, Silverstone Heritage's Sally Reynolds, Sir Stirling Moss, Heritage Lottery Fund's Peter Luff and Nigel Mansell (l to r) have welcomed the go-ahead

Sir Stirling Moss, who as an 18-year-old raced at the first British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 1948, said the museum was "important" to the sport's history.

He said: "I think for people who go up there, they'll see what it is all about. See how things started - what has been done."

Image copyright Silverstone Heritage
Image caption The latest technology will be used in the museum's permanent exhibitions
Image copyright James Roberts
Image caption Items owned by Lewis Hamilton, pictured on the Silverstone podium earlier this year, are set to go on display

The museum will offer circuit tours, while the latest technology will chart the stories of drivers and people who have had ties to the site back to medieval times.

Sally Reynolds, chief executive of Silverstone Heritage, said: "It's the very centre of global motorsport but that story isn't told anywhere and it's also important to tell the fantastic history of British motor racing."

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