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Patrick Stewart to take helm of Austin 35

Star of stage, screen and television, now 76, to race at Silverstone

Published: May 3, 2017, 10:30 PM
Updated: May 8, 2017, 2:52 AM

Sir Patrick Stewart OBE in car

He’s been where no one has gone before and now he’s going an extra lap … Sir Patrick Stewart OBE, best knows as Star Trek’s Captain Jean-Luc Picard and Marvel’s X-Men’s Professor X, is planning to circumnavigate Silverstone this coming summer.

Sir Patrick Stewart OBE

The 76-year-old acting legend of stage, screen and television has acquired his Motor Sports Association (MSA) competition license from the Silverstone Motorsport Academy and is all set to compete in a special Celebrity Challenge Trophy Race at this summer’s Silverstone Classic, the world’s biggest classic motor racing festival, on the weekend of July 28-30, 2017.

“It was a lot of fun,” said Stewart on passing both the Association of Racing Driver Schools (ARDS) written and driving tests required to obtain his competition licence. “For someone who has followed motor racing since being a teenager, to drive around Silverstone and negotiate such legendary corners as Becketts and Stowe is just such a thrill.

“Speed is not a particularly big passion of mine, but when you are behind the wheel of a nice car it’s quite exhilarating to open it up, and I am looking forward to the Classic race meeting very much,” he enthuses. “Everybody has got a little bit of competitiveness and aggression about them, so it will certainly be entertaining!”

Stewart will lineup on the star-studded grid alongside Olympic gold medalists Mark Hunter MBE, Jason Kenny CBE and Amy Williams MBE; bike racing world champions Wayne Gardner and Freddie Spencer; Theo Paphitis from the BBC’s Dragon’s Den; former Top Gear presenter Tiff Needell; and, adventurer Charley Boorman, among others.

Austin A30 and A35 racing cars

The celebrities will be racing competition prepared Austin A30 and A35 saloons, of vintage 1952-56 and 1956-68, respectively. The cars are well known in racing circles and were introduced several years back by the Historic Racing Drivers Club (HRDC) as a cost-effective entry into vintage racing. More than 50 are reportedly ready to race, guaranteeing an large grid

The cars’ owners will qualify on Friday and race on Sunday, with celebrity drivers taking the wheels on Saturday, July 29.

The celebrity race will help raise funds and awareness for the Classic’s official charity partner Prostate Cancer UK.