Philanthropy | Need To Now

NSPCC patrons rev up for a motor challenge

Damon Hill leads a day of racing and revelry in aid of the children’s charity

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NSPCC patrons rev up for a motor challenge

Image: Courtesy of

January 18 2013
Camilla Apcar

Dreams of beating a Formula One champion will be brought one lap closer to reality this March at The Circuit, a one-off, high-octane event organised by child-protection charity the NSPCC. For the sum of £1,500, racing enthusiasts can join one of six teams – steered by celebrity captains including British F1 heroes Mark Blundell and Damon Hill, and former English rugby union player Austin Healey – that will race six cars across four tracks at PalmerSport’s Bedford Autodrome.

Dashing from the pit lane, drivers will race against the clock in an Ariel Atom (second picture), before taking the wheel of a BMW M3, a Palmer Jaguar JP-LM (third picture) and a Caterham 7 Superlight (first picture). Next, an intense off-road Land Rover challenge will command absolute concentration, with points scored by bringing the windscreen and wing mirrors of a Defender into contact with suspended targets around the course. Drivers competing for the best lap data of the day will also push a Formula Jaguar’s centralised six-speed paddle gearshift to the extreme: 250bhp at 6,500 rpm. As a glorious memento, racers will be presented with front and rear-facing DVD footage of their Jaguar session.

Pit-stops for a two-course lunch and afternoon tea will be followed by a charity auction for lots including a two-seater Palmer Jaguar JP-LM ride with one of the aforementioned former racing drivers. The total ticket price will be donated to the NSPCC, which helps to protect vulnerable children through its projects and services, including ChildLine.

Booking is now open for the 92 spaces open to guests. Competitors must have held a full driving licence for at least a year, with under 21s requiring separate insurance and permission from the venue’s general manager. There will be 120 challengers for the top spot, but keeping Damon Hill in rear-view will demand nothing less than sixth gear when speeding down the home straight.