Celebrities from the worlds of radio, TV, music and entertainment will hit the track and race head to head at the Silverstone Classic to raise funds for the Bobby Moore Fund it was announced at today’s (Wednesday) Silverstone Classic media launch at Silverstone.
The stars will climb into a fleet of specially race-prepared Abarth 500 road cars and take to the famous Silverstone Historic Grand Prix circuit on Friday (23 July), with the race starting at 7.30pm.
More star names for this unique Silverstone Celebrity Race Challenge are set to be announced in the lead-up to the event, but already confirmed are BBC Radio 2 DJs ‘Whispering’ Bob Harris, Johnnie Walker and Richard Allinson. BBC Sport journalist Jonny Saunders, from the Chris Evans breakfast show, will also be on the grid along with the nation’s favourite radio traffic reporter, Sally ‘Traffic’ Boazman. The radio personalities will be joined by a host of other celebrities including renowned chef Heston Blumenthal and Strictly Come Dancing’s Brendan Cole. However, the early contender from the names confirmed to date is rocker Rick Parfitt Jnr, who has a very useful kart racing pedigree and will be aiming to convert that into front-running pace on the Silverstone Historic Grand Prix circuit.
Rick can expect tough opposition though. All the celebrity drivers will receive training from Silverstone Drive experienced professional racers to prepare them for the challenge and obtain an official MSA ‘National B’ racing licence before they take to the Silverstone track.
The 15 identical cars they’ll be driving are road-going versions of the fabulous Abarth 500. Although very much a car for the modern day, it remains true to the Abarth brand tradition of being ‘Small but Wicked’ and like the original Abarth products of the 1950s and 1960s, the Abarth 500 has a fine heritage and is a true sporting classic.
After the race, the cars – branded as ‘Abarth 500 Silverstone Classic Celebrity Very Limited Edition’ – will be autographed by the drivers and offered back to the contributing Abarth dealers for sale. The race will be run in support of Cancer Research UK, the Bobby Moore Fund, in memory of one of Britain’s best-loved footballers, the Fund raising money for research into bowel cancer.
“This is an exciting addition to the Silverstone Classic,” said event director Nick Wigley. “It will be a lot of fun for everyone and will raise money and awareness for a very good cause.”
The Silverstone Celebrity Race Challenge will get underway with qualifying at 6.45pm on Friday to determine start positions on the grid. The half-hour race starts at 7.30pm; two celebrities will share each car with a mandatory ‘Le Mans style’ driver change in the pits at the half-way stage.
At the end of the race the winners will enjoy a traditional ‘champagne celebration’ on the podium before the focus of the evening switches to the live concert featuring The Yardbirds and Dr Feelgood.