Up to 500,000 motor racing enthusiasts a year expected to visit new Silverstone Heritage Museum

The project vision to build a dynamic, interactive and educational visitor experience has just been awarded £9.1 million by the Heritage Lottery fund after a gruelling round of applications and bidding processes. The motorsport-based attraction aims not only to preserve the recent history of the racing circuit but also protect the larger and older heritage of the site.

To be built in a former WWII bomber training hangar, the site also boasts former runways, the ruins of a Benedictine monastery and medieval chapel dedicated to St Thomas a Becket. The hangar will be fully refurbished and re-clad, with a new second building constructed to house the archives of the British Racing Drivers Club, a specialist library and a learning space for school groups. In total, the project is expected to cost £20 million.

The Silverstone Heritage Museum will display dozens of Formula 1 and other racing cars and bikes, along with personal items from famous drivers and items from the site archives. Using Virtual Reality, visitors will be able to experience flying above the hangar in a Wellington Bomber and speed through the ages of motorsport with racing heroes. Scheduled to open in 2019, footfall is expected to be in the region of 436,000 in the first year, rising to nearly 550,000 in the fifth. There will also be an ambitious programme of STEM summer schools for children, focused on motorsport and high performance engineering.

PQQs are due out this month, with an Invitation to Tender sent to shortlisted firms in July for an initial £9.5 million contract to refurbish the hangar and construct the new building; with further contracts for internal works to be issued subsequently.

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