Howard Donald of chart-toppers Take That, is the latest mega-star to be joining the stellar Celebrity Challenge Trophy grid racing at this summer’s Silverstone Classic (28-30 July).
Along with Gary Barlow and Mark Owen, Donald is one of the three enduring members of the idolised Manchester pop group – a super-band that to date has produced no fewer than 12 UK number one singles and seven best-selling albums.
As well as being a member of the UK’s most popular boy-band since the Beatles, Donald is a confirmed classic car fan. He owns several race-prepared icons from yesteryear and, when time allows, pursues his passion at non-competitive circuit track days. The SilverstoneClassic showdown, however, will be his race debut.
“I’m both nervous and excited – it’s my first race and it’s going to be great,” he predicted. “I have done a lot of track days in some of my cars and I have always asked myself the question ‘why am I not racing?’… and now I am!”
Donald will not just be ‘racing’ but racing on the famous Silverstone Grand Prix circuit just a couple of weeks after Lewis Hamilton and his fellow F1 aces will have contested the British Grand Prix on the very same track.
“To be doing my first race at Silverstone is going to be absolutely amazing,” he grinned. “I have done track days around the Grand Prix circuit but racing is a completely different kettle of fish. It’s going to be exciting, especially in a car I have never driven before.”
Come the Silverstone Classic, Donald will be lining up alongside a host of other famous faces all armed with equally-matched, race-tuned Austin A30s and A35s from the Historic Racing Drivers Club (HRDC) Academy.
“I’ve been watching them on YouTube, they are just so cute,” he continued. “I am quite competitive but I know some of the others have more experience and will be quicker than me.”
The star-studded line-up from the worlds of sport, showbiz, music and media includes fellow musicians Brian Johnson (AC/DC) and Neil Primrose (Travis) plus no fewer than five Olympic gold medal winners – cyclist Jason Kenny CBE, skeleton racer Amy Williams MBE and rowers Mark Hunter MBE, Greg Searle MBE and Jonny Searle MBE.
Others competing include bike racing world champions Wayne Gardner and Freddie Spencer, multiple world boxing champion Carl Froch, Dragon’s Den TV star Theo Paphitis, Vassos Alexander from the Chris Evans Breakfast Show, former Top Gear presenter Tiff Needell, Wheeler Dealers’ Ant Anstead and best-selling author Peter James. All will be helping to raise funds and awareness for the Classic’s official charity partner Prostate Cancer UK.
“The Olympians may say they are doing it for fun but they are going to be ultra-competitive because winning is in their blood,” anticipated Donald. “I’ve seen Neil (Primrose) racing at the Spa Classic and he’s a great driver. Brian (Johnson) is also a really keen racer. Whatever my own result, it’s going to be wonderful experience – and, as it’s for a great charity, that’s a double bonus for me.”
Fans wishing to see all these heroes in track action must purchase tickets in advance. Adult admission starts at £43 and weekend camping and hospitality upgrades are available.
All tickets provide access to racing paddocks, trackside grandstand seating, live music concerts on both Friday and Saturday evenings featuring the Bootleg Beatles and Tony Hadley formerly of Spandau Ballet, vintage funfair rides, air shows and car club displays as well as a host of other family-friendly demonstrations, activities and entertainment.
Full ticket details and all the latest news is available on the official website www.silverstoneclassic.com and via the event’s social media platforms.