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THE 1960S

The 1960s

The 1960 Grand Prix was to be remembered as the race that Graham Hill lost, rather than the one that Jack Brabham won.

Hill stalled his BRM on the starting grid, set off in last place and proceeded to carve through the whole field, taking the lead from Brabham on lap 55 only to spin off at Copse five laps from the end when his brakes faded. It was to be another two years before Graham won a Grand Prix for BRM.

In 1961 the BRDC acquired the lease for he agricultural land within and around the circuit.
Graham Hill was also involved in what we believe to be the first “Silverstone type finish” – in the 1962 Daily Express International Trophy when Jim Clark in his Lotus 24 seemed certain of a win over Hill's BRM.

The 'old' Woodcote corner was just before the finish and overtaking could go on to the very last second. Carving his way through a couple of back markers, Clark came through Abbey to what he thought was victory. But Hill had been hurtling through from behind and arrived almost sideways in what looked like a photo-finish across the line in a last massive effort to beat the astonished Clark.

Clark was to win the 1963 event, but needed to cruise the last few laps in top gear in a desperate – and, of course, successful – attempt prevent his Lotus 25 running out of fuel.

Much work was done at circuits all round the country to improve safety during the 1960s, although Silverstone had long since abandoned rope, oil drum markers and straw bales in favour of concrete walls and earth banks. However, after two accidents in the then 'open-face' pit area along the start-finish straight, a ramp and elevated pit road were constructed in time for the 1964 season.

In 1965, two significant newcomers joined Clark on the front row of the gird – a Honda V12 racer and a young Scot by the name of Jackie Stewart in a BRM V8.

Finding itself with a thriving business on its hands, the BRDC formed Silverstone Circuits Limited in 1966, to look after the circuit's commercial activities. Five years later, the Club purchased the freehold of the entire 720-acre estate from the Ministry of Defence. Thus, the BRDC became the only motor racing club to operate a circuit on a full ownership basis.

Clark dominated the 1967 event with the new trend-setting Ford V8-powered Lotus 49 and while Stewart won the 1969 race for Matra, there was a memorable 5th place finish for Brabham in a privately prepared car entered by one Frank Williams.

Stewart, meanwhile, would go on to become a three-times Formula One World Champion – in 1969, 1971 and 1973 – and also a two-times winner of the British Grand Prix...

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