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BTCC Top Guns reach for the skies ahead of Silverstone

Jason Plato and Matt Neal try their hand at wingwalking, as Silverstone looks forward to the 2010 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship and 'Silverstone Air' this weekend...
The celebrated 'Home of British Motor Racing', Silverstone, is gearing up for not one but two spectacular events this weekend, as in addition to hosting round seven of 2010 in the popular and fiercely-fought Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, a host of aerobatic stunt teams and iconic aircraft will also take to the skies as part of the 'Silverstone Air' special.

As a fitting preview to Silverstone's action-packed double-header, current BTCC title protagonists and sworn rivals Jason Plato and Matt Neal joined the Breitling Wingwalking team at Turweston Aerodrome near Brackley, for a 'wingwalking' lesson where championship leader Plato and a nervous-looking Neal were taken out of the comfort zone of their race seats, and safely strapped to the wing of a 1940 Boeing Stearman – used originally as a WWII 'trainer'.

Instructed by Breitling Wingwalker Danielle Hughes, who will be performing at Silverstone this Saturday, both drivers were exposed to the elements as they reached speeds of 130mph at heights of up to 500 feet. The BTCC legends enjoyed their unique 'wingwalking' experience and adrenaline rush, despite the turns, climbing and diving to which pilot David Barrell treated them.

“I wasn't aware they were going to pull some of those manoeuvres, but it was mega!” enthused Silverline Chevrolet star Plato, who has a pilot's licence himself. “I wouldn't want to do it as a day job, though! It will look great over Silverstone during the weekend, and with us on the National Circuit there will be lots for spectators to enjoy.”

“I desperately thought 'I can't be a wuss and hold on all the time',” quipped Honda Racing ace Neal. “What an unbelievable experience! It was pretty terrifying, but it was amazing! I just can't believe they do it for a living. My legs are still shaky, and there is a lot of leg to shake! What we have been doing must be basics in comparison to Danielle's wingwalking skills.

“Race-wise at Silverstone, it's going to be tough for us, so it's a question of how well we can do. Neil Brown is hoping to have a new engine for us, and if that comes through then we should be in the hunt.”

During the BTCC weekend, the Breitling Wingwalkers will be joined by The Parachute Regiment Freefall Team 'The Red Devils', The Royal Airforce Aerobatic Team's 'Red Arrows', Aerostars, a breathtaking flypast from XH558 – the only airworthy Vulcan Bomber still in existence – the legendary WWII Avro Lancaster bomber, a Spitfire and a P51 Mustang as they perform aerobatic stunts over Silverstone Circuit as part of Silverstone Air.

Advance tickets for Silverstone's round of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, featuring 'Silverstone Air', are priced at just £15 for Saturday (qualifying) and £27 for Sunday (race day). Tickets purchased on the day will cost £18 (Saturday) and £34 (Sunday). Weekend tickets – valid for both days (21-22 August) – can only be booked in advance at £32. Entry is free-of-charge for children aged 15 years and under. Children must be accompanied by a paying adult at all times. Each paying adult may accompany up to a maximum of four children.

To book tickets to for the seventh round of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship and Silverstone Air on 21-22 August, or for further information, visit www.silverstone.co.uk or call 08704 588 260.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Jason Plato wingwalking with the Breitling Wingwalking Team
Jason Plato wingwalking with the Breitling Wingwalking Team
Matt Neal wingwalking with the Breitling Wingwalking Team
Jason Plato, Danielle Hughes and Matt Neal ahead of the BTCC & Silverstone Air weekend at Silverstone
Jason Plato wingwalking with the Breitling Wingwalking Team
Jason Plato wingwalking with the Breitling Wingwalking Team
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