Motor sport legends turn back the clock as Thruxton looks firmly to the future

Motor sport legends turn back the clock as Thruxton looks firmly to the future

04.06.2018: • Murray Walker OBE and Nigel Mansell CBE add star quality to 50th Anniversary • Ex-Keke Rosberg Williams FW08C brings Formula 1 fever back to Hampshire • Le Mans legends, two-wheeled thrills and aerial

•    Murray Walker OBE and Nigel Mansell CBE add star quality to 50th Anniversary

•    Ex-Keke Rosberg Williams FW08C brings Formula 1 fever back to Hampshire

•    Le Mans legends, two-wheeled thrills and aerial acrobatics send fans home happy

Thruxton Circuit marked its historic half-century in style last weekend (2/3 June), serving up a feast of high-octane entertainment for an appreciative, sun-kissed crowd in the presence of some of motor sport’s biggest names.

Thruxton’s 50th Anniversary Celebration feted five decades of the UK’s fastest motor racing circuit, with fans pouring through the gates of the popular Hampshire venue to lap up a bevy of retro races, spellbinding high-speed demonstration runs, spectacular aerial aerobatics from world-famous British Army parachute display team the Red Devils, live music and show-stopping fireworks.

The event was an opportunity to celebrate Thruxton’s past, present and future. The past was in evidence everywhere you looked, from the evocative single-seaters, sportscars and GTs out on the track to the eye-catching Williams F1 line-up in the paddock, including an ex-Keke Rosberg FW08C from 1983, Nigel Mansell’s famous ‘Red 5’ title-winner and the last of the sport’s six-wheelers, the groundbreaking FW08B – a car so rapid it was banned before it got chance to compete in anger.

The Rosberg car took to the circuit in the hands of ex-grand prix racer and current Channel 4 F1 pundit Karun Chandhok, whose last on-track appearance at Thruxton had been all the way back in 2003.

“I love Thruxton!” he enthused. “I remember competing here 15 years ago in Formula 3, and it’s still just as quick and still has plenty of character. I enjoy coming here because it’s different.

A lot of other circuits all have the same characteristics, whereas because Thruxton is so fast-and-flowing, the racing is always fantastic with all the slipstreaming and it’s nice to go somewhere that’s got bumps and kerbs and camber in the road.

“Better still, I got to drive it in what is one hell of a piece of kit – and the first F1 car that Ayrton Senna ever tested. Its screaming DFV engine – pulling 9,800rpm in top gear – seemed to please everyone on the grass banks, and I certainly had a lot of fun!”

An ear-splitting Lola T70 and a raucous 1970 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 added to the dynamic demos in the blazing summer sunshine, while another ‘blast from the past’ was the appearance of Robs Lamplough – who contested the 1968 European Formula Two Championship race at Thruxton, an event won by future F1 World Champion Jochen Rindt.

Similarly in attendance was Duncan White, whose association with the circuit stretches back even further to the very first meeting 50 years ago, when he campaigned an 1140cc Austin Healey Sprite. He now marshals at Thruxton.

Thruxton Group Managing Director Bill Coombs donned his racing helmet and overalls to climb into the cockpit of a March 733 – the car in which Ian Taylor clinched the 1973 British F3 Championship. Taylor founded the Ian Taylor Motor Racing School, which subsequently became Thruxton Motorsport Centre in 1998.

The present was represented by two-wheeled aces Taylor Mackenzie and Iain Hopcroft aboard Ducati’s 1199 Panigale R and V4 Panigale, while Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship stars Rob Collard and Rob Austin thrilled spectators in their BMW 125i M Sport and Alfa Romeo Giulietta respectively.

Current BTCC championship leader Adam Morgan, for his part, teamed up with Ric Wood to triumph in the entertaining HSCC Historic Touring Car Challenge / Tony Dron Trophy encounter.

The Le Mans 24 Hours-winning Porsche 919 Hybrid Sports Prototype took pride of place in the paddock, and to whet the appetite ahead of the BTRA British Truck Racing Championship’s visit to Thruxton next month (7/8 July), a thunderous Mercedes cab left fans awestruck as it danced around the circuit’s flat-out sweepers at scarcely conceivable speeds.

Fast forwarding into the future, two special guests dropped in on Sunday to perform the official opening ceremony for the new Thruxton Centre, a state-of-the-art hospitality facility that is set to transform Thruxton’s offering for racegoers and corporate guests.

The honour fell to 1992 F1 World Champion Nigel Mansell and legendary motor sport commentator Murray Walker, both of whom were palpably delighted to return to a venue that holds many happy memories.

“It’s been a great privilege to be here at Thruxton with Murray – bless him, he still looks like he’s a teenager,” joked Mansell. “He’s ever the voice of motor sport and a great friend. It’s been a fantastic day for the fans, with superb weather and just a wonderful atmosphere.

“I remember Thruxton very fondly. It’s one of my favourite circuits, because it is very technical and a really demanding, ballsy place round the back with the bumps and the long corners, and the braver you are, the faster you can go. It’s one of the last circuits that has kept its identity, which is great.

“BARC have done a fabulous job to evolve, and I think the new Thruxton Centre is absolutely brilliant. What people don’t realise is just how much work has gone into it – it’s a great credit to the whole team, so congratulations to them all!”

“I enjoyed the day immensely,” echoed Walker. “It’s been lovely getting out and meeting so many people and seeing a lot of old friends. I first came to Thruxton in 1951, so I’ve got about 17 years’ advance on most people!

They had motorcycle meetings back then, and I am a motorcycle man at heart and one of the greatest races I have ever seen was Geoff Duke on the works Norton and John Surtees on a self-built Vincent HRD Grey Flash battling for supremacy – the top man of international motorcycle racing against the young newcomer.

“Not only did I commentate here, but years later, I actually had Graham Hill in the box with me – you know, like a taxi driver that says, ‘I had so-and-so in the back of my cab’, I had Graham Hill and Colin Chapman in the box while I was commentating. Graham did a bit of co-commentating, and I was very pleased and proud afterwards when he said, ‘I didn’t realise it was as difficult as this!’

“Looking back, I can’t think of any other track that has changed as little as Thruxton has – it’s the same now as I always remember it, which is one of its great strengths. Not only that, but it’s in this glorious rural setting in Hampshire, you get mammoth crowds and the racing is always good and varied – I’ve seen trucks here, I’ve seen touring cars, Formula 3, Formula 2, Formula 3000, Formula 5000, even a few Formula 1 cars. It’s just a great circuit.

“This fabulous new hospitality building is what Thruxton has really needed, and now it’s here, I’m sure the venue is going to go from strength-to-strength. Sponsors will want to come here, people will want to hold events here and it will all add to the lustre of Thruxton because there’s nothing people like more than to be made a fuss of.

 To be brought to a building like this and shown such terrific racing like the British Touring Car Championship or British Superbikes is something, I think, that will guarantee a bright future for the circuit.”

In evidence of the magnitude of the occasion, regional BBC and ITV crews both attended over the weekend, taking in some of the ‘terrific racing’ to which Walker alludes and capturing the memories of the great and the good who have competed at the circuit over the years. Thruxton Group Managing Director Bill Coombs said he was delighted with the success of the milestone event.

“What a wonderful weekend to celebrate our 50th Anniversary,” he enthused. “Thruxton has earned a legion of fans over the decades, and it was fantastic to see so many of them – from Nigel and Murray to people like Robs Lamplough and Duncan White – back here again to join in the festivities.

“That said, for me – and, I daresay, the crowds enjoying the summer sunshine on the banking and in the grandstand – the cars were the real stars of the weekend, and to see Formula 1 back at Thruxton was a truly memorable moment. The awesome sound and spectacle of the Williams FW08C is something I certainly won’t forget anytime soon.

“While our Anniversary Celebration harked back to the past, our focus moving forward is firmly on the future and the new Thruxton Centre is a signal of intent as we look to continually enhance our circuit and its facilities for forthcoming generations to enjoy. Here’s to the next 50 years!”

As a footnote, finally, the second ‘Spirit of Thruxton Single-Seater Race for the Jochen Rindt Memorial Trophy’ saw Thruxton Circuit instructor Martin Bloss embody the spirit of going motor racing by claiming a brave fifth-place finish, less than 24 hours after rolling his FF2000 twice on the opening lap of Saturday’s contest.

Bloss’ mechanics worked through the night to repair the battered Van Diemen to enable its driver to make amends for his Saturday drama – proof, if ever it were needed, that the Spirit of Thruxton is still going strong, 50 years on.

For more on Thruxton’s race meetings and driving experiences, visit:

Russell Atkins- photos Thruxtoan


04.06.2018 / MaP

More News

Österreicher Nico Gruber zeigt Fighterqualitäten
Nico Gruber hatte auf der dritten Station der Britischen Formel Ford zunächst einiges Pech, doch der Rookie kämpfte sich übers Wochenende zurück Im Eröffnungsrennen des Rennwochenendes der Avon Tyres BRSCC Formula Ford 1600 am Traditi more >>
Spa Euro Race - Palmares international
SPA EURO RACE / 01, 02 & 03 juin 2018Palmarès international à souhait  au terme de palpitantes premières joutesLes conditions météorologiques ont été nettement plus clémentes ce samedi dans more >>
Porsche Sports Cup - Auftakt bei wechselhaften Wetterbedingungen
Wenn der Porsche Sports Cup ruft - sind Spannung , Spass und Gänsehaut garantiert.Mit gleich 5 Fahrzeugen waren die Fahrer inklusive einer ambitionierten jungen Dame unter der Flagge von Teichmann Racing im Porsche Sports Cup und der PZ-Tro more >>
SPA EURO RACE / 01, 02 + 03 juin 2018 - download invitation
L’intensité, maître-mot de Spa Euro Race 2018 !  Ce prochain week-end, le Royal Automobile Club de Spa proposera sur le plus beau circuit du monde la 29ème édition de Spa Euro Race. Un meeting estival qui a retrouvé tout son lustre d’antan, ce qui se traduit par une liste de séri more >>
DTM: Timo Glock visits the world’s biggest darts event in Gelsenkirchen.
Between the DTM races at the Lausitzring (GER) and Budapest (HUN), DTM championship leader Timo Glock (GER) took time out to visit the “Arena auf Schalke”. The venue in Gelsenkirchen (GER) hosted the “World Series of Darts – German Masters 2018&r more >>
Wimmer-Werk-Trio wieder auf dem Podest
Nach dem Sensationssieg in Magny-Cours legten Felix Wimmer, Matthias Kaiser und Klaus Bachler diese Woche nach und holten im Rahmen der französischen VdeV Endurance Serie Platz zwei in Le CastelletDer Circuit Paul Ricard more >>
Inter Europol Competition Team: race review VdeV Paul Ricard
First place for Smiechowski and FredricssonSixth for Scheuschner/Michel/ChristodoulouDate:        27 May 2018 Circuit:         Paul Ricard more >>
Last of the Formula 1 six-wheelers set for Thruxton's 50th Anniversary Celebration
•    Final preparations underway for next weekend's (2/3 June) Celebration•    Packed list of iconic vehicles from worlds of F1, GT, top-tier motorcycling and endurance to star• &n more >>
Nico Gruber legt in Schottland nach
Neuling Nico Gruber steigerte sich am zweiten Rennwochenende der Britischen Formel Ford Meisterschaft nochmals und fuhr zweimal auf P4Nach seinem tollen Debüt in der Britischen Formel more >>
Hundred Series by BGDC Circuit de Magny-Cours
Et maintenant, cap sur la Nièvre et le Circuit de Magny-Cours ! Le temps des excursions en terre française n’est pas terminé pour la Hundred Series by BGDC, qui s’apprête à passer du bon temps au cœur de la Nièvre, more >>
Harper-Ellam Does the Double as SR1 Cup Resumes at Snetterton
 Having suffered heartbreak at the season opener at Oulton Park, Ryan Harper-Ellam gave his SR1 Cup Championship aspirations the perfect shot in the arm by winning both outings during round two at Snetterton.Brackley-based Harper-Ellam was the more >>
Ten years of Audi Sport customer racing
Six models for top-class customer motorsport        More than 50 championship titles worldwide        Numerous synergies due to close affiliation within the Group Audi Spo more >>
Nitro Circus adds second London date
-  Fan Anticipation Revs Up for All-New You Got This Tour, -   Travis Pastrana’s Debut as Live Show Producer The O2: Friday, 23 NovemberSaturday 24, November  – Just Added!   more >>
RCN startet das Rennwochenende auf dem Nürburgring
Die familiäre GT- und Tourenwagen-Breitensportserie beim 24h-Rennen Der zweite Lauf der Rundstrecken-Challenge Nürburgring 2018, die „Feste Nürburg“, startet am Donnerstag, 10. Mai, um 8 Uhr vor der Tribüne T13. Die Veranstaltung, a more >>
Zweiter Saisonlauf der PCHC in Oschersleben
Drei Rennen auf dem ProgrammTraditionell stehen beim Preis der Stadt Magdeburger wieder drei Rennen zur Porsche Club Historic Challenge auf dem Programm. In Oschersleben steht für die PCHC der zweite more >>
Zelos focussed on Thruxton fightback after pace goes unrewarded at Donington
•    Norfolk racer out-of-luck at Donington despite strong turn-of-speed•    WDE Motorsport ace denied strong results by over-attentive rivals•    19-year-old aiming to battle back when series speeds into Thruxton more >>
P9 Challenge: Minsky/Foster siegen in der Endurance
Speck und Minsky gewinnen Sprint-Wertung in HockenheimHermann Speck (Porsche 997 GT3 R) und Stanislav Minsky (Porsche 991 GT3 R) entschieden die ersten Rennen der P9 Challenge in Hockenheim für sich. Minsky fuhr zudem mit Teamkolleg more >>
Hundred Series by BGDC 2018 - Dijon 300
Juteuse récolte pour Berg-Engelen (Domec, D4), van der Straten-de Latre du Bosqueau (MARC Focus, D3), Smits-Dupont (Peugeot, D2) et Simon-Zahnen-Charlier (Renault, D1) en Bourgogne La Hundred Series by BGDC 2018 a vécu son deuxième r more >>
Karun Chandhok to steer Williams' FW08C on Formula 1's return to Thruxton
•    Thruxton's 50th Anniversary Celebrations primed and ready for 2/3 June•    Family-friendly festival offers something for everybody, young and old alike•    Advance tickets av more >>
Alessandro Zanardi: New BMW M5 for the BMW Brand Ambassador.
BMW Brand Ambassador Alessandro Zanardi (ITA) is now the proud owner of a new BMW M5 (combined consumption: 10.5 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 241 g/km*). Sergio Solero, President and CEO BMW Italia, presented him with the car at the star more >>
Volkswagen Fun Cup Europe and UK news
Laurent Jaspers (B), Stéphane de Frahan (B) and Mathieu Detry (B) won both four-hour races in the Volkswagen Fun Cup Europe in Dijon-Prenois (F). They were in a league of their own in all the practice sessions and the two endurance races at the Trophée de Bourgogne – only the AC Motorsport team (Stéphane Perrin, Martin Leburton more >>
New race serie Exclusively for 50+ drivers
Series Elite with Jaguar F-Type GT4 adds a new dimension to the UK Racing scene •    The first one-make series for the all-new Jaguar F-TYPE GT4•    A new concept in motorsport aimed exclusively at the over 50s more >>
Burgess Doubles up at Donington; de Sadeleer Scores Maiden Win
Steve Burgess took a brace of Radical Challenge race wins at the season-opening rounds to leave Donington Park at the top of the title table. He shared the weekend spoils with series newcomer, reigning SR1 Cup Champion Jér& more >>
Totaler Triumph für Wimmer Werk Motorsport
Im zweiten Auftritt zur französischen VdeV Endurance Serie holte das österreichische Team mit Felix Wimmer, Matthias Kaiser und Klaus Bachler in Magny-Cours sensationell den ersten SiegMagny-Cours hieß dieses more >>
Junior-Rennfahrer beim Auftakt-Workshop der Speed Academy
DPSA - Schnelle Sportler in der schnellen MedienweltAuch abseits der Rennstrecke warten auf die Kandidaten der Deutsche Post Speed Academy immer Herausforderungen: Beim Kick-off-Workshop des Förderjahrs 2018 lernten sie einige dieser Herausforderungen au more >>
New Radical Challenge Championship Format for Donington Park Season Start
The Radical Challenge championship battle gets underway at Donington Park next weekend, 21-22 April, with a revised format and a grid of over 22 SR3s promising to deliver some of the closest racing seen in the fiercely competitive domestic prototype sportscar series. more >>
Red Bull Air Race premieres in Cannes, France on 20-22 April
 Just two weeks before the renowned film festival in Cannes, the glamorous city will roll out the red carpet for the stars of aviation motorsport, as the Red Bull Air Race World Championship makes its long-awaited French debut.Launched in 2003 a more >>
Campeonato Espana Resistencia- Spanish drivers like endurance racing
The Campeonato España Resistencia (CER) kicks off this weekend at Valencia's Circuito Ricardo Tormo with the TCR class forming the strongest contingent.No fewer than sixteen TCR teams will be taking part in the season’s opening 2-hour race and it& more >>
A SEAT wins the Mugello 3 hour race
The SEAT León TCR entered by the RS+A team and driven by Mariano Costamagna, Marco Costamagna and Roberto Olivo won the Mugello 3 hours, opening round of the Italian Endurance Champions Cup.There was only another car in the TCR class, the MM Motorsport Honda Civic FK7 of Emanuele more >>
REMUS Formel Pokal 2018- Spannung vor dem Saisonstart in Hockenheim
Die Formelliga im Breitensport hat 2018 sieben Veranstaltungen mit insgesamt  14 Rennen im Plan. Den Auftakt bildet der Hockenheimring mit seinem Eröffnungsrennen vom 13.-15. April. Von der Auswahl der Rennstrecken ist nicht nur Organisator Franz Wöss überzeugt. Auch von den Teams liegt eine überaus positive Resonanz vor. “ more >>
Nico Gruber auf den Spuren von Senna, Mansell und Button
Der Oberösterreicher Nico Gruber startet heuer in der Britischen Formel Ford Meisterschaft und überraschte bereits beim Debüt Nico Gruber, der bei seinem Debüt in der Britischen Formel Ford Meisterschaft zweimal in die Top 10 fuhr, stellt more >>
Audi customer action - Coming up next week
13–15/04 Long Beach (USA), rounds 3 and 4, Pirelli World Challenge GT13–14/04 Hockenheim (D), rounds 1 and 2, DMV GTC13–15/04 Oschersleben (D), rounds 1 and 2, ADAC GT Masters13–15/04 Oschersleben (D), rounds 1 and 2, ADAC TCR Germany13–15/04 Estoril (P), rounds 1 and 2, TCR Portugal14–15/04 Tailem B more >>
Red Devils to dazzle overhead at 50th Anniversary Celebration at Thruxton
•    Legendary British Army parachute display team confirmed for milestone event•    Professional skydivers to thrill crowds from above at mid-summer meeting•    Aerial acrobats to jo more >>
Neuer Förderkader für die Deutsche Post Speed Academy steht fest
Achtspuriges Ausbildungsjahr 2018Die Motorsportsaison und die Saison der Deutsche Post Speed Academy 2018 sind gestartet. Acht junge Rennsportler werden dem Förderkader in diesem Jahr angehören. Neben fünf Kandi more >>
Jannes Fittje im dritten Jahr der Deutsche Post Speed Academy
•    Auf Titeljagd in der European F3 Open•    Prominente Vorgänger in der Deutsche Post Speed Academy&b more >>
Un podium et des performances encourageantes pour Amaury et Laurent Richard à Nogaro
Ils ont attendu ce moment pendant tout l’hiver. Laurent et Amaury Richard ont enfin débuté leur saison sur circuit à l’occasion du coup d’envoi de la Peugeot 308 Racing Cup 2018 dans le cadre des Coupes de Pâques de Nogaro. more >>
Murray delivers the goods in Silverstone to lead British FF1600 Championship
Former Champion Niall Murray made a sensational return to the Avon Tyres BRSCC British Formula Ford 1600 Championship last weekend with the newly established Team DOLAN, securing a trio of podium finishes that included a dominant win of over six seconds in the third and final race on Sunday afternoon.  more >>
Sensationeller Saisonauftakt für Nico Gruber in England
Nico Gruber fuhr bei seinem Debüt in der Britischen Formel Ford Meisterschaft zweimal in die Top 10 Der 16-jährige mitteleuropäische Kartchampion lag in seinem Debütrennen der Britischen Formel Ford in Silverstone am S more >>
Pinkerton Doubles Up in Radical SR1 Cup Opener at Oulton Park
James Pinkerton enjoyed a stellar start to this year’s Radical SR1 Cup campaign by celebrating twin wins at Oulton Park, as the re-launched single-make series supported the British GT Championship for the first time.Pinkerton converted two second-p more >>



Jobs Around the World

2001-2020 full copyright