Silverstone celebrate rich heritage with new Experience Centre

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After a seven-year-project to restore a WW2 RAF hangar into an interactive museum, the all-new Silverstone Experience centre will open its doors to the public on Friday, October 25.

Celebrating the esteemed motorsport heritage of the Northamptonshire-based circuit, the project is a result of the Silverstone Heritage Ltd charity receiving a £9.1 million investment from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.    

Billed as a 2.5-hour immersive experience into the world of two and four-wheeled motorsport, attractions include a number of legendary racing vehicles, which have been curated with help from the likes of Suzuki GB and the National Motorcycle Museum, amongst others.

Machines on display include Maverick Viñales’s 2016 Silverstone race-winning Suzuki GSX-RR MotoGP bike, alongside Barry Sheene’s 1979 XR27, which finished that year’s British grand prix just 0.03 seconds off the win behind Yamaha’s ‘King’ Kenny Roberts.

Away from this, visitors can also enjoy a lap of the track in a 4D cinema, complete with commentary supplied by motorsport broadcasting legend Murray Walker.

"It really felt like we could build an attraction that would be very interesting to a wide range of people," Silverstone Heritage Ltd CEO, Sally Reynolds, told MCN. "We had our soft opening last Sunday and the feedback coming through has been great.

"The bikes and cars are on loan and we will change them over time. Hopefully we can get the winning bike from next year’s MotoGP race on display, too!" She added.

Alongside celebrating the great racing that has taken place at Silverstone, the new experience also aims to encourage the next generation of engineers, with individual interactive exhibits explaining things like tyre wear, suspension, braking and the inner workings of a combustion engine.

What’s more, the project also aims to encourage more women in motorsport, with Reynolds adding: "There are not enough women working in motorsport, so it’s our opportunity to inspire more women in motorsport."

Based close to Luffield corner, the 4000 metre-squared venue will be open every day of the year bar Christmas Day, with advanced adult tickets costing £20, £16 for concessions and £10 for children aged five to 15. Children aged four and under go free. Parking is also free, with food and drink also available.

It’s not all about racing either, with the museum also exploring the reasons behind Silverstone’s corner names, which stem from centuries of history long before the circuit was built. There’s also a section exploring the wildlife found at the track, as well as a tribute to the pre-WW2 racers killed in the war effort.

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Dan Sutherland

By Dan Sutherland

Senior Writer (motorcycling), sportsbike nut, currently riding a FireBlade