Starts 2008 FIA GT Championship Season at Silverstone
World’s top sportscar drivers battle it out to win UK motorsports most significant prize On Sunday 20 April the coveted Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy will be awarded to the winning drivers in the British round of the 2008 FIA GT Championship at Silverstone. The 103-year-old Tourist Trophy is one of the most significant prizes in British motorsport and has been won by such racing greats as Sir Stirling Moss, Graham Hill, Denny Hulme and Derek Bell.
The first Tourist Trophy meeting was held on the Isle of Man on 14 September 1905 with cars setting off from Alexander Drive, Douglas on a 52 mile course. John Napier, in an Arrol-Johnston won in the 6 hour race comprising 4 laps, 208 miles, with an average speed of 33.9 mph.
Whilst there were breaks in the Tourist Trophy being contested in the early 20th century and during both world wars, it remained one of the most coveted competitions on the motor sports calendar. Over the years the challenge moved around the country and has been contested at circuits on the Isle of Man, England and Northern Ireland.
In 2005, the then Chairman of The Royal Automobile Club Tim Keown was the driving force behind the re-introduction of the Tourist Trophy during its centenary year for the FIA GT Championship race at Silverstone. Dutchman Peter Kox and Portugal’s Pedro Lamy triumphed in the three-hour race, taking the chequered flag in a British-built Aston Martin. A year later the names of Andrea Bertolini and Michael Bartels were added to the roll of honour when they won at the opening round of the 2006 FIA GT Championship at The Home of British Motor Racing in a Maserati MC12, the first time a Maserati had ever won the Tourist Trophy. The Italian marque added another win in 2007, this time the MC12 was driven to victory by Mika Salo and Thomas Biagi. Biagi went on to become FIA GT Champion at the final race of the 2007 season at Zolder in Belgium.
On Friday 18 April the Tourist Trophy will be escorted from the Royal Automobile Club in Pall Mall to Silverstone by owners of 21st Century supercars taking part in the third running of the London to Silverstone Supercar Tour.
Up to fifty supercars are due to take part in the 2008 run, with manufacturers such as Jaguar, Porsche, Bentley, Aston Martin, Lotus, Mercedes, Maserati, Morgan and Ferrari represented. The Metropolitan Police will be providing a motorcycle escort to the outskirts of the Capital before the participants continue the 80-mile journey to Northamptonshire via a non-motorway route. On arrival at Silverstone all of the participants in the Supercar Run will be invited to complete three laps of the famous Silverstone Grand Prix circuit.
The Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy will be awarded to the winning pair of drivers in the opening round of the 2008 FIA GT Championship at Silverstone on 20 April. The meeting also includes the first rounds of the 2008 FIA GT3 European Championship and GT4 European Cup, as well as the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Europa and Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Europa Coppa Shell, making a full weekend of sportscar action.