Actor Sir Patrick Stewart OBE has confirmed his place on an all Austin grid at this year’s Silverstone Classic.
The 76-year-old movie star –best known for his role as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in the Star Trek sci-fi series – recently passed his official ARDS racing driver test at the Silverstone Motorsport Academy and is now ready to compete in a special Celebrity Challenge Trophy Race at the home of the British Grand Prix.
“It was a lot of fun,” explained Stewart upon receiving his results. “For someone who has followed motor racing since being a teenager, to drive around Silverstone and negotiate such legendary corners as Becketts and Stowe is just such a thrill.”
“Speed is not a particularly big passion of mine,” he added. “But when you are behind the wheel of a nice car it’s quite exhilarating to open it up, and I am looking forward to the classic race meeting very much. Everybody has got a little bit of competitiveness and aggression about them, so it will certainly be entertaining!”
Other famous faces lining-up on the starting line alongside Stewart include Olympic gold medallists Mark Hunter MBE, Jason Kenny CBE, Greg Searle MBE, Jonny Searle MBE and Amy Williams MBE, bike racing world champions Wayne Gardner and Freddie Spencer, former England test cricket captain Mike Gatting OBE, Dragon’s Den TV star Theo Paphitis, former Top Gear presenter Tiff Needell, Wheeler Dealer’s Ant Anstead and adventurer Charley Boorman .
All are trackside to help raise funds and awareness for the Classic’s official charity patron – Prostate Cancer UK.
The Celebrity Challenge Trophy Race will be packed out with closely matched, competition-prepared Austin A30 and A35 saloons, with the race programme split into two parts. Owners of the Austins will qualify on Friday, July 28 and then race on Sunday, July 30; the celebrities swap paint on Saturday, July 29.
The cars are well-known in classic racing circles and were introduced a few years ago by the Historic Racing Drivers Club (HRDC) as a cost-effective route into historic racing. More than 50 have now been built, guaranteeing an enormous grid and competitive racing for science fiction and classic car fans alike.