Crowds packed on grass banking to see Aussie Jack Brabham rounds one of the famous Silverstone bends during the Silver City Trophy race for Formula 1 cars in 1960. Photos: Getty Images
Crowds packed on grass banking to see Aussie Jack Brabham rounds one of the famous Silverstone bends during the Silver City Trophy race for Formula 1 cars in 1960. Photos: Getty Images

70 fantastic years of British Grand Prix history right here in Northamptonshire

How Silverstone turned from a disused World War Two airfield into one of the iconic venues in world sport

Friday, 31st July 2020, 12:47 pm
Updated Friday, 31st July 2020, 12:50 pm

A former World War Two bomber base in the Northamptonshire countryside is now one of the most famous venues in world sport.

Silverstone hosted its first official British Grand Prix 70 years ago, on May 13, 1950, which was the first round of the newly-created World Championship of Drivers.

An estimated 150,000 spectators attended the event including King George VI. It is still the only time a reigning monarch has attended a British Grand Prix.

Giuseppe Farina won the 1950’s race in an Alfa Romeo at an average speed of 90.95mph ... compared to Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes' average speed of 150mph-plus last year!

Aintree and Brands Hatch also hosted race between 1955 to 1986 before Silverstone became the British GP's permanent home in 1987.

From the days when pilots — as they were often referred to back then — had little more than a hard hat, a pair of goggles and an engine, to today's hi-tech machines with power units instead of engines and halos to protect drivers clocking up to 200mph, the circuit's history is littered with famous names and memories for motorsport fans.

We've delved into the archives to pick out just a few photos from the last 70 years.

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