As the country gears up for this weekend's British Grand Prix at Silverstone, 600 people gathered at the Hurlingham Club on the banks of the River Thames in London on Wednesday to celebrate the very best of British motorsport – and 60 years of F1 – at the 2010 Grand Prix Ball.
The glittering event raised funds for CLIC Sargent, the children's cancer charity, and CLIC Sargent patron and former F1 pundit James Allen was MC for the evening. Fantastic live music performances came from the Sugababes, Darius Campbell – who performed a song from his forthcoming album – Eddie Jordan & The Robbers featuring a guest spot by legendary saxophonist Leo Green, and Ben Montague, who was celebrating hitting the A playlist on BBC Radio 2. The evening ramped up with a packed dance floor to DJ sets by Seb Fontaine – who finished off with Michael Jackon's Thriller – and DJ Lora.
It's hard to tell if the room cheered louder for the performers on stage, or when James Allen announced that Spain had beaten Germany in the World Cup semi-finals, but the loudest cheer of all would surely have come had the guests discovered that over £43,000 was made for CLIC Sargent through the fundraising activities on the night.
The red carpet was busy, with celebrity guests including Jade Ewen, Beverley Knight, Nancy Dell'Olio, Elen Rives, Eddie Jordan, Liz McClarnon, Blake, Rick Yune, Karen Hardy, Rick Parfitt Junior, Michelle Collins and Nat Weller.
Ahead of dinner, guests enjoyed a champagne reception with bubbles from Pommery on the lawn at the Hurlingham Club, where they had the opportunity to view a huge array of F1 models from throughout the ages. The list was endless, from a vast range of historic cars on-loan from Classic Team Lotus and private collectors up to Nigel Mansell's Williams, the 2010 Force India car and this year's Cosworth engine.
The action now moves, of course, from London to Silverstone, where British heroes Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton are looking to deliver what would doubtless be a popular one-two finish indeed for McLaren-Mercedes on home turf. Every British sports fan will be hoping that come Sunday, Button or Hamilton can do what the football team and Andy Murray couldn't – bring the winner's trophy home.
Sunday night will then see the F1 fraternity return to London for the closing party at Aura GP Lounge at Paramount on the 31st floor of Centrepoint. Scuderia Toro Ross ace Jaime Alguersuari and Seb Fontaine will be headline DJs for the evening, with partygoers able to view the 2010 Red Bull F1 car as they walk the red carpet, before ascending to 385 feet where they will enjoy a complimentary open bar with drinks provided by event partners Pommery Champagne, Marquis Vodka and Red Bull.
You can find further information and purchase tickets and tables online at http://www.auragp.com