- The Duke and Six-Time Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton take tour of immersive new museum and praise its mission to inspire the next generation of engineers
- The National Lottery Heritage Fund-backed project has seen Second World War RAF hangar refurbished to tell the story of motor sport and the venue’s historic roots
- Hamilton hands over race helmet to join items of memorabilia on display from the archive of the British Racing Drivers’ Club
The immersive new museum The Silverstone Experience has been officially opened this morning by The Duke of Sussex, and Lewis Hamilton, Six-Time Formula 1 World Champion.
The Duke took on Lewis in a wheel gun challenge during a tour of the exhibition, where they also met schoolchildren during a walk around the hands-on Tech Lab. The museum’s charitable mission to inspire the next generation of engineers, which includes an extensive schools programme.
Speaking at the official opening of The Silverstone Experience, The Duke of Sussex said: “Tomorrow marks two years since we were last here and I can’t believe that you’ve managed to turn a WW2 hangar that was pretty cold and dusty two years ago into this remarkable Experience. Thank you for providing so many STEM opportunities for so many young people and thank you for really putting a marker down for what British motor racing means to the world. Having walked through it now, I’m probably going to have to come back to really soak up the experience myself!”
Britain’s most successful Formula 1 Driver, Lewis Hamilton said: “The Silverstone Experience is a great way to inspire kids to look more closely at the automotive industry and it has been brilliant to officially open it today alongside the Duke of Sussex. There is a real lack of diversity in Formula 1, and across the entire industry, despite the amazing career opportunities available. We need to do more to make it accessible to all. Diversity starts at the grassroots and if we can begin to change the make-up of those working in the racing teams and the factories, we can change the industry as a whole.”
The Silverstone Experience opened to the public on 25 October following a seven-year project to restore a Second World War RAF hangar. The charity behind the initiative, Silverstone Heritage Ltd, was awarded a grant of £9.1m by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and the museum features state-of-the art facilities to hold the British Racing Drivers’ Club archive.
Sally Reynolds, CEO of Silverstone Heritage Ltd, said: “I’m very grateful for the support of The Duke of Sussex, Lewis Hamilton and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The Silverstone Experience is much more than just a world-class museum. We are able to both protect the heritage of British motorsport and to use that heritage to engage young and older visitors by telling hundreds of compelling stories within the exhibition.”
Speaking at the official opening, René Olivieri, interim Chair of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “While many of the projects that we’ve supported over the years have been small ones, some are real game changers and The Silverstone Experience is definitely one of those. There’s nothing else like this place, and we expect The Silverstone Experience to inspire further generations of engineers and scientists across the UK.”
Visitors take a journey from the medieval history of Silverstone, through to its time as a WW2 airfield and the start of racing in 1948. They go on to learn about the science behind the modern-day sport as well as seeing historic cars and bikes. On display is Barry Sheene’s 1979 Suzuki, leathers and helmet, Nigel Mansell’s 1992 British Grand Prix-winning Williams and Lewis’ race suit.
The Mercedes AMG F1 driver has added to the display by loaning the helmet he wore when he won his sixth world title.