A project to establish a Scottish Motorsport Heritage Centre at the historic Rest and Be Thankful hillclimb and rally stage in Argyll has been granted official charitable status.

The Scottish Charity Regulator OSCR has approved the project, which would pay tribute to the Scottish motorsport heroes past and present. The plan is for it to be located near the classic hairpin at the top of the Rest, an iconic motorsport location for various disciplines over the years.

The project is the brainchild of Douglas Anderson, the Dundee man responsible for the return of the Monte Carlo Rally to Scotland in recent times. His vision is that the centre, on the dramatic hillside, would breathe new life into the popular stopping point, bringing tourism spend and jobs to local communities as well as acknowledging the Rest as one of the country’s most important motorsport locations.

“The location of the proposed building at the Rest and Be Thankful, Argyll, has great significance in motorsport terms because of the famous hillclimb races and international rallies,” said Douglas. “The idea is to mark that connection within a permanent exhibition space, but the project itself is much more than that. The building would be a multi-use facility which could be used by the local community for film, business and cultural events and there would also be retail and a restaurant area. There would be jobs in the construction phase, and full and part-time local jobs when complete.”

The concept has already been given the backing of Formula One world champion Sir Jackie Stewart, multiple British Touring Car Champion John Cleland and veteran Scottish rally driver Jimmy McRae. “The Rest is known around the world as one of the classic rally stages and is renowned by drivers and motorsport enthusiasts alike,” said Jimmy, who still holds the record for the fastest run down the Rest and Be Thankful rally stage.

“This project is a tremendous initiative which would acknowledge the important part Scotland has played in international motorsport over many years.”

Discussions with officials from Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, VisitScotland, The Forestry Commission, Transport Scotland, MSPs and the local council have all been positive. And, now that official charitable status has been granted, the five trustees – all of whom have an involvement in motorsport – are looking to carry out a feasibility study and generate financial backing. Renowned businessman and motorsport enthusiast Boyd Tunnock has already made a substantial donation to help get the project underway.