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Based within the superb Wing facility, the two-day Festival dedicated to motoring books, art, magazines and automobilia featured sessions by a variety of famous speakers from across the motoring world, new book launches and announcements plus a wide range of exhibitors and a selection of star cars.

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Philip Porter in conversation with Lee McKenzie & Gary Anderson-6335.jpg

Image copyright Gary Harman


Saturday 2nd December 2023

Theatre 1 Saturday

Theatre 1

John Watson and Paul Michaels in discussion with Richard Heseltine

Prolific motoring author Richard Heseltine chats to five-time grand prix winner John Watson and Paul Michaels of Hexagon Classics. ‘Wattie’ scored six points driving for privateer outfit Goldie Hexagon Racing, founded by the then 28-year-old Michaels, in the 1974 Formula 1 season. This will be an absolutely fascinating session as these two motoring greats talk about the challenges of competing as a privateer team, the politics, their rivals and Bernie. Richard is the perfect guy to host this chat. Paul Michaels has had an amazing business career and knows ‘everyone’. John Watson would, of course, go on to be a leading Grand Prix driver, his victories including the British GP at Silverstone in 1981. The following year he finished third in the World Championship. He has been a commentator for over 20 years.

John Watson, Paul Michaels and Richard Heseltine.jpg

Film: STEWART (a film about Sir Jackie Stewart, by Mark Stewart Productions)

Supporting Race Against Dementia*

An emotive and powerfully immersive film that follows legendary Formula 1 racing driver Jackie Stewart through the triumphs and tragedies of motorsport in the late 1960s and early ’70s. Sir Jackie needs no introduction and is simply one of the greatest racing drivers of all time. He is also most eloquent and always has something thought-provoking to say. His ‘Race Against Dementia’ is the Festival charity partner and a most worthy cause. Half of the ticket price for this showing goes to RAD. So, why not enjoy a private viewing of a great film and support an important charity?

Philip Porter in conversation with Lee McKenzie and Gary Anderson 

The intriguing world of Formula 1, as seen from the expert perspectives of former F1 race car designer Gary Anderson and highly respected broadcast journalist and Channel 4 F1 presenter Lee McKenzie. No doubt this distinguished panel will be discussing the 2023 F1 season, whether total domination is healthy, and the prospects for the 2024 year and whether anyone can take the fight to Red Bull. Lee will be signing copies of her book Inside F1.

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Image copyright Gary Harman

Blowing the Bloody Doors Off with Matthew Field and David Salamone

Author of the award-winning Self Preservation Society, Matthew Field and David Salamone who played Dominic, Charlie Croker’s personal getaway driver in The Italian Job, present unique insights into this enduring film classic. Matt’s book, published by Porter Press, was the Royal Automobile Club ‘Book of the Year’ and Matt, who works in the film world, is an experienced speaker and presenter. David and his father sourced the vehicles for many films, including The Italian Job, and he found himself pressed into service as a stunt driver and piloted the red Mini whose passenger was none other than Michael Caine.

Blowing the Bloody Doors Off with Matthew Field & David Salamone-6394.jpg

Image copyright Gary Harman

Theatre 2

Design & Desire – Keith Helfet in conversation with Philip Porter

Car designer and former Jaguar Senior Stylist Keith Helfet, whose back catalogue includes the beguiling Jaguar XJ220 and the XK180 and F-type (2000) concepts, speaks of his life-long mission to infuse desire into car design and signals the launch of his autobiography which is published by Porter Press. He will be in discussion with author and Festival Director, Philip Porter, who has probably written more Jaguar books than anyone else. He and Keith first met and became friends when Philip was writing his Jaguar XJ220 book in the early ‘90s. Like many designers, Helfet is an eloquent speaker. He worked with Sir William Lyons and has great respect for Malcolm Sayer.

Keith Helfet (right) Philip Porter (left) Photo copyright Chloe Knight 1.jpg
Theatre 2 Saturday

70 Years of Ian Fleming’s James Bond – Matthew Field and Ajay Chowdhury

Bond film experts and authors Matthew Field and Ajay Chowdhury talk about their forthcoming three-volume Bond book and some of the amazing revelations uncovered during its research. The depth of that research is quite extraordinary and would make a fascinating talk on its own. Companies such as Lotus have given these great Bond experts unprecedented access to their unseen archives. Matt is a trustee of the Ian Fleming Foundation.

Ajay Chowdhury (left) Matthew Field (right) Photo copyright Chloe Knight 3.jpg

Designer Discussion – Ian Callum and Julian Thomson in discussion with Philip Porter

Hugely experienced multi-marque design directors, Callum and Thomson, who have each been responsible for overseeing the creation of several automotive icons and worked together at Jaguar for many years, share thoughts on the fast-evolving world of car design. Ian Callum CBE worked for Ford, TWR and Aston Martin before becoming Design Director of Jaguar in 1999, a position he held for 20 years. Julian is famous for designing the Lotus Elise. He then became Director of Advanced Design under Ian before briefly succeeding him in 2019. Both are titans in the field of automotive design.

Philip Porter, Ian Callum, Julian Thompson (left to right) Photo copyright Chloe Knight 5.

The All-Conquering Porsche 956s and 962s – a panel discussion with John Watson, John Fitzpatrick, Serge Vanbockryck and Sean Roberts, with Mark Cole

Serge is the author of the extraordinary Ultimate Works Porsche 956 and Ultimate Works Porsche 962 books. ‘Wattie’ drove for Rothmans Porsche in ‘84 and ‘85, and finished 11th at Le Mans in 1990 in a Richard Lloyd Racing 962C. John Fitzpatrick Racing was a highly successful privateer Porsche team in the glorious early years of Group C sportscar racing, first with 956s, then 962s, and 'Fitz' had a long and highly successful career as a driver. Sean Roberts headed up PR for Rothmans during their Porsche era and is a highly regarded speaker. These gents will be hosted by long-term commentator and prolific author, Mark Cole.

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Image copyright Gary Harman

Camel Trophy Winners – Bob and Joe Ives chat with event photographer and author Nick Dimbleby

Author of Camel Trophy – The Definitive History and official event photographer Nick Dimbleby in conversation with the Ives brothers, the only British winners of the legendary off-road adventure event. Nick’s superb book on the Camel Trophy was short-listed for various awards and is a great history of this uniquely gruelling event. As a photographer, it is not surprising the book is full of stunning images. Bob and Joe, who will be bringing along their winning Land-Rover, are entertaining speakers so a lively session is guaranteed.

Nick Dimbleby, Bob Ives, Joe Ives (left to right) Photo copyright Chloe Knight 1.jpg
Theatre 3 Saturday

Theatre 3

Professor Peter Stevens – The Business of Going Fast

McLaren F1 and Jaguar XJR-15 exterior designer, Professor Peter Stevens, promises to both inform and entertain as he shares a few nuggets learned while designing a number of the world’s favourite automotive icons. Peter has been involved with many of the world’s leading race teams and production car manufacturers and speaks with authority and vast experience. As a highly-experienced speaker, he is always very good value.


Image copyright Arjun Nair

Sir John Egan on Saving Jaguar

Former Jaguar chief executive Sir John Egan on the extraordinary challenges he faced saving a once-proud company from a situation that appeared ‘utterly hopeless’. From being on strike when he was appointed, to selling the company to Ford, Egan faced almost insurmountable challenges during his tenure at Jaguar, bringing the company back from the brink again and again. There was high drama and a fair share of theatre which makes this a compelling story.

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Image copyright Gary Harman

JUE 477: The world’s first production Land-Rover

Julian Shoolheifer in conversation with author, Martin Port

Award-winning vehicle restoration expert Julian Shoolheifer in conversation with Martin Port, author of JUE 477 – The World’s First Production Land-Rover. Recently the subject of a 14-minute film by Richard Hammond, this is a great story of how an important icon was saved and the extraordinary challenges faced by Julian and his team as they carried out a brilliant conservation restoration on a vehicle that looked too far gone, having stood outside in a field for so many years. Land-Rover expert, owner and author told the tale in his award-winning book. This is a must for all enthusiasts, especially Land-Rover ones.

Martin Port (left) Julian Schoolheifer (right) Photo copyright Chloe Knight 3.jpg

Paul Griffin – When is the History Not the Whole Story?

Authenticity, provenance and identity – what makes a pukka car? With examples from his recent fascinating book ‘The Past And The Spurious – The Case of Legitimacy in Historic Cars’ (finalist in the 2023 Royal Automobile Club Motoring Book of the Year Award, in the category Books About Motor Cars & Motoring With No Price Limit), lawyer, author and accomplished speaker Paul Griffin looks at when is the history not the whole story.

Paul Griffin Photo copyright Chloe Knight 1.jpg

Sunday 3rd December 2023

Theatre 1

Professor Peter Stevens – My Jaguar XJR-15 Story

Peter Stevens has had, and continues to have, a remarkable career designing motor cars. He is, without question, one of the pre-eminent post-war automotive designers and surely the most versatile. His work has ranged from Lotus to Lamborghini, from McLaren to MG Rover. He has created liveries for many famous competition cars and designed the Jaguar XJR-15, the first carbon fibre road car, about which he has just completing writing a book for Porter Press. He is a vastly experienced and highly entertaining speaker.


Image copyright Arjun Nair

Anchor 2

Lord Hesketh in discussion with Superbears author James Page

James Page, author of Superbears – The Story of Hesketh Racing (finalist in the 2023 Royal Automobile Club Motoring Book of the Year Award, in the category Books On A Motor Sporting Subject With No Price Limit), chats to Lord Hesketh about the enduring appeal of the ‘biggest little team in the world’ and the impact it had on Formula1. This session is one of the highlights of the weekend. With the book being nominated for various awards, that illustrates just what a compelling story this is. We can expect Lord Hesketh to be forthright, even controversial, but above all amusing. This is one not to be missed.

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Image copyright Gary Harman

BRM Panel with Jackie Oliver, Tony Southgate,

Howden Ganley and Mike Pilbeam – hosted by Ben Edwards

Former Formula 1 driver, Can-Am Champion, Le Mans winner and Arrows team owner Jackie Oliver is joined by fellow F1 driver Howden Ganley, hugely successful race car designer Tony Southgate and renowned former Lotus and BRM designer Mike Pilbeam. One of the benefits of gathering several personalities together is that they stimulate each other which draws out the memories, the stories, the ups and downs, and the humour. This one will be hosted by well-known TV commentator, Ben Edwards.

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Image copyright Gary Harman

Theatre 2

Anchor 1

Crispian Besley – Driven to Crime with Andrew Marriott

Author Crispian Besley puts the spotlight on the shadowy exploits of those whose involvement in the uber costly world of motorsport have driven them (sometimes unwittingly) to commit a broad range of eye-opening crimes. Published by Evro, this has proved a very popular subject! Driven to Crime was the winner of the Royal Automobile Club Motoring Book of the Year (Overall), 2023.

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Andrew Marriott (left) Crispian Besley (right) Photo copyright Chloe Knight 1.jpg

Karun Chandhok Chats with Richard Heseltine

Andy Wallace, who was going to be taking part in this session has had to pull out as he will be testing with Bugatti. Karun Chandhok, who was originally going to join us on Saturday, has had to switch to Sunday and so will admirably fill this spot. Karun, one of the most popular people in motor racing, is of course a former F1 driver and current Sky TV pundit. He will be in conversation with Richard, one of the most highly regarded of motoring authors.

Richard Heseltine (left) Karun Chandhok (right) Photo copyright Chloe Knight 3.jpg

Dr Andy Palmer on The Future of the Auto Industry with Leon Emirali

The former Nissan COO and Aston Martin CEO gives his take on how motor manufacturing will evolve in the coming years, based on his wide experience and 40 years in the industry. Dr. Palmer is currently working on his autobiography for Porter Press and covering his four decades in the motor industry, working his way up from the bottom to the very top. Much in demand internationally as an authoritative keynote speaker, he will be one of the stars of the Festival.

Dr Andy Palmer Photo copyright Chloe Knight 4.jpg

Damien Smith – Benetton, Rebels of Formula 1, with Pat Symonds

Damien will be joined by Pat Symonds who has had a long and distinguished career in F1. He was a key player in the Benetton story and in the mid-1990s was Michael Schumacher's race engineer and Head of Research and Development, later becoming Technical Director and later still Executive Director of Engineering, a position he continued to fulfill when Benetton became the Renault F1 team in 2002. He was Chief Technical Officer of Williams 2013-2016 and is today F1's Chief Technical Officer.

Copyright Gary Harman - Benetton, Rebels of Formula 1, Damien Smith with Pat Symonds-6920

Image copyright Gary Harman

Theatre 3

GT40 Panel with Jackie Oliver, Tony Southgate, Sam Hancock and Mark Cole

British engineer and hugely successful race car designer Tony Southgate, who worked on the design of the Lola Mk6, the car that inspired the Ford GT40, in conversation with 1969 Le Mans-winning GT40 driver Jackie Oliver and motorsport journalist, author and commentator Mark Cole.

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Image copyright Gary Harman

Theatre 3 Sunday

For Flux Sake – Ian Flux in conversation with Ian Wagstaff

Contrary to popular belief, ‘Fluxie’ did not enter the world on full opposite-lock, nor did he have a cigarette in one hand and a pint in the other. Destined to race, he never got the biggest breaks but he did become one of motorsport’s most colourful and best-loved characters, someone who has always lived life to the full. His autobiography tells it how it was. Along the way we laugh with him about much of it, particularly the pranks.

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Image copyright Gary Harman

Stuart Pringle on the Future of Silverstone

As managing director of Silverstone Circuits Ltd, Stuart Pringle is ideally placed to talk about the future of Formula 1 as the home of the British Grand Prix as well as how, through its brand and heritage, Silverstone is becoming one of the UK’s leading family destinations all year round. Silverstone has experienced a few highs and lows over the last 75 years but the future now looks assured and very bright, as we shall hear. Stuart Pringle is a motorsport professional with over 20 years experience in the industry. Following five years as an Officer in the Royal Tank Regiment for the British Army, Stuart moved into motorsport and became Group Motor Sport Event Manager for Motorsport Vision who run Brands Hatch, Oulton Park, Snetterton and Cadwell Park. In 2006 Stuart started what became an eight-year tenure as Club Secretary for the British Racing Drivers’ Club - a varied role which, amongst other things, saw him develop a young driver programme to support future talent in British motorsport. In 2014 Stuart became Sporting Director of Silverstone Circuits Limited before being promoted to Managing Director in 2016. Since this time Stuart has led the venue into a new era. The iconic track continues to host the Formula 1 Grand Prix and MotoGP British Grand Prix, as well as all the premier national championships. Bold expansion plans for a profitable and sustainable future for the circuit include the opening of the Silverstone Museum in 2023, a new 197-bedroom Hilton Garden Inn Hotel opposite the International Paddock and Wing Conference facilities in 2022, the development of the innovative Escapade luxury residences due to open in 2024 and a new kart track also opening next year. These developments, alongside a buoyant motorsport calendar on track and a growing portfolio of ancillary events are at the core of a vision for Silverstone to be a 365-day sport, business and leisure destination.

Stuart Pringle Photo copyright Chloe Knight 3.jpg
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