Silverstone officially unveiled its new pit and paddock complex at a glamorous event on Tuesday. His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent, who is also president in chief of the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC), formally opened the track’s new ‘Wing’ facility.
“Building on last year’s successful Grand Prix track upgrade, The Wing is another great milestone in Silverstone’s history and we must recognise and thank the BRDC for having the insight and vision to invest in to the future of the venue as we continue to expand and diversify the business,” said Richard Phillips, managing director of Silverstone Circuits Limited. “Silverstone is now one of the best motor sport facilities in the world; and British motor sport has an iconic home that we can all be proud of.”
Over 800 guests were present at Silverstone to witness the opening of the new complex, which includes 41 garages, a race control building, media centre, VIP spectator zones, three large halls, a conference facility, a business centre and a 100-seat auditorium.
Five British Formula One world champions - John Surtees OBE, Sir Jackie Stewart OBE, Nigel Mansell OBE, Damon Hill OBE and Jenson Button MBE - were in attendance, along with fellow Formula One luminaries, Sir Stirling Moss, Sir Frank Williams, Mark Webber, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn, David Coulthard and Murray Walker.
“Today was a very important day in the history of the British Racing Drivers’ Club and Silverstone Circuit,” said Hill. “The official opening of the Silverstone Wing represents the culmination of many years hard work and gives a clear statement of intent for the future. We are honoured that our President in Chief, His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent, KG generously agreed to perform the opening ceremony.
“The BRDC is extremely proud of this new building, but we acknowledge that none of it would have been possible without our superb and exceptional Silverstone team. Silverstone is a cornerstone of our industry and the BRDC will continue to develop the circuit to ensure that Britain has a world class home for motor sport and related technology.”
Formula One group CEO Bernie Ecclestone was unable to attend, but sent a message of support before the event: “I am very sorry that I am unable to be with you on this important occasion for F1 and the future of Silverstone, but rest assured I have followed all the progress from planning through to the current launch of the Silverstone Wing.
"The new pit and paddock complex is a state-of-the-art facility and will form the backbone of Silverstone’s plans to be a world-class facility of its type. I am delighted with the progress and prospects for the future of Silverstone. It is a great shame that it could not have been completed 10 years ago, but well done Silverstone.”
The Silverstone Wing measures 390 metres in length, with its highest point - the ‘blade’ - soaring to 30 metres. The build programme, from start to finish, will be 54 weeks, from the end of April 2010 to the spring of 2011. This year's British Grand Prix takes place on July 8-10.