Northampton

Silverstone Experience: £20m museum to 'finally' open

Silverstone Experience
Image caption The Silverstone Experience is set to open after a delay of three months

A new £20m museum dedicated to motorsport is set to "finally" open three months later than planned.

The Silverstone Experience was due to open before the British Grand Prix in July at the Northamptonshire circuit.

However, it is now due to open on Friday after the building contractors went into administration in June.

Museum CEO Sally Reynolds said: "I'm incredibly proud. It's been a seven-year project and to finally see it opening is just fantastic."

She said: "We want to inspire the next generation of engineers and people to work in motorsport. What better way than to show them a world-beating car or motorbike."

Image caption A mock Formula 1 Grand Prix grid and Lewis Hamilton's F1 car are among the displays

Displays include items such as Nigel Mansell's British Grand Prix-winning Williams from 1992 and Barry Sheene's 1979 Suzuki motorbike.

Exhibitions will also look at Silverstone's involvement in World War Two and the site's history back to medieval times.

'Exciting beyond belief'

The Heritage Lottery Fund provided about half the money for the attraction in 2016, while South Northamptonshire Council loaned £3m to the museum.

It is housed in a World War Two hangar on the former aerodrome site and is expected to attract about 500,000 visitors a year.

Image copyright The Silverstone Experience
Image caption The museum also has exhibitions on former motorsport greats including 1981 British Grand Prix winner John Watson

Stuart Pringle, Managing Director of the Silverstone circuit, said the museum finally opening was "exciting beyond belief".

He said the museum was part of the circuit's plan to generate income outside of events like the Grand Prix and the MotoGP.

In July, Silverstone secured the British Grand Prix for the next five years after reaching a new agreement with Formula 1 bosses.

"We can provide ourselves with a 52-week-a-year business and stop beating ourselves up about whether it's going to be sunny at the Grand Prix every year to live," Mr Pringle said.

Image caption The Silverstone Experience cost £20m and is based at the Northamptonshire circuit

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