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Silverstone gears up for 50th British Grand Prix

11 Jun 2014, Posted by Glen Gibson in Automotive, F1, Motor Sport

This year’s FORMULA 1 SANTANDER BRITISH GRAND PRIX at Silverstone will be a landmark occasion in the circuit’s illustrious history. 2014 will see the 50th Grand Prix held at the famous track (04 – 06 July) since Luigi Villoresi won the first ever event on 02 October 1948, two years before the inauguration of the FIA Formula One World Championship in 1950.

During the Second World War many of Britain’s existing circuit layouts had become unusable, which lead the Royal Automobile Club to take out a one-year lease on the newly-redundant RAF Silverstone airfield site in 1948. The original race track was created using the two longest runways as straights and large sections of the perimeter road, which were narrowed in parts by hay bales to funnel the cars through the corners.

The inaugural 65-lap Royal Automobile Club International Grand Prix, run under the then-new Formula One regulations on the long 3.7-mile (5.9km) circuit in front of 100,000 spectators, was won by Italian Villoresi in a Maserati, with his team-mate Alberto Ascari in second ahead of British driver Bob Gerard.

20 out of the 28 drivers that took part in that first ever race were British and, while an Italian took the honours that day, more British drivers have gone on to win their home race than any other nationality. 12 British drivers have won their home Grand Prix over the years, ten of whom have won at Silverstone. British motor racing legends Peter Collins, Jim Clark, Sir Jackie Stewart, James Hunt, John Watson, Nigel Mansell, Damon Hill, Johnny Herbert and David Coulthard have all taken the chequered flag at the Northamptonshire circuit, and Lewis Hamilton – the last British winner in 2008 – will be pushing for victory again in July, with the support of his home crowd at Silverstone.

To commemorate this special milestone in Silverstone’s history, the circuit is organising a number of events for fans attending this year’s British Grand Prix, including a Heritage Village, which will feature displays of memorable moments in the circuit’s history and iconic Formula 1 cars from Silverstone’s 50 British Grands Prix.