Celebrities set to tear up the tarmac at 2012 Silverstone Classic

Sir Patrick Stewart, Brendan Cole and Chemmy Alcott launch ‘all-star’ charity event

A host of celebrities were on hand at Silverstone race track yesterday (Wednesday 9 May) to launch the 2012 Silverstone Classic ‘Celebrity Challenge’. The race, which will take place on Saturday 21 July at the world’s biggest classic car racing festival, will see an all-star line-up competing in 130mph Morgan lightweight race cars around the famous Silverstone Grand Prix circuit.

Celebrity drivers including Hollywood star Sir Patrick Stewart, Olympic skier Chemmy Alcott and Strictly Come Dancing’s Brendan Cole joined fellow racers Kelvin Fletcher (Emmerdale), Coronation Street’s Tony Hirst and ex-England footballer Steve Bull at yesterday’s launch. Other famous faces set to line up on the grid for the event, which is raising funds for the Birmingham Children’s Hospital, the Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Research UK and the RPJ Crohn’s Foundation, include Countryfile presenter Julia Bradbury, award-winning chef Heston Blumenthal, lifestyle guru Jo Wood, ‘Comedy Dave’ Vitty from Radio 1, Sky Sports presenter Vicky Gomersall and legendary rocker Brian Johnson from AC/DC.

Speaking at the launch Sir Patrick Stewart commented: “I’ve raced once before, in a pro-celebrity event on the Long Beach Grand Prix circuit in California – but that was ten years ago. I’ve been in retirement since then! When the chance to drive a great British sportscar here at Silverstone came up… well, what could be better? It was just irresistible. I’m looking forward to it immensely.”

Sir Patrick faces tough opposition from the likes of Brendan Cole who’s hoping to improve on last year’s third place finish. “Yeah, I had a little podium finish last time round… which was very nice,” said Cole, “but let’s just say second place is not an option this year! It’s going to be a big weekend – the Silverstone Classic is a massive event – and I’m really excited about it.”

The boys will have a race on their hands, though, because Chemmy Alcott is determined to give it her all. “When I took on the boys on the ski slopes they didn’t really like it so I want to see if the same applies on the race track” she added. “I’ve been clocked at 92mph on a downhill run, but I’m planning to go a lot quicker in the car. It’s a fabulous opportunity to have some fun and raise money for charity at the same time. I’m so excited about being a racing driver for the day – it’s just going to be an amazing experience.”

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