Williams’ six-wheeler to appear at Thruxton celebration
Thruxton Circuit is set to host a cavalcade of stand-out motor racing machinery from the worlds of Formula 1, GT and Sportscars, top-tier motorcycling and endurance at its 50th Anniversary Celebration next weekend, with Williams’ unique FW08B the latest icon to join the fold.
The ground-breaking six-wheeler, designed by Patrick Head and Frank Dernie, was created by Frank Williams’ outfit with the intention of running during the 1983 Formula 1 campaign, as the team chased a longer wheelbase and greater ‘ground effect’ as well as increased traction out of corners with four-wheel drive.
In testing, the car showed promise, breaking a lap record at Paul Ricard and development continued through 1982 until the FW08B surfaced at Donington Park, producing a ream of head-turning lap-times. However, when the FIA issued its regulations for ’83, it included a clause outlawing both six-wheelers and four-wheel drive and so the FW08B would never see competitive action.
The ingenious one-off will be displayed alongside Nigel Mansell’s championship-winning FW14B which stormed to nine of 16 race wins in the Formula 1 World Championship in 1992 in his hands and Williams’ 2016 racer – the FW38B. The Grove squad will be represented on-track too, with Karun Chandhok set to steer Keke Rosberg’s 1983 530bhp Ford Cosworth DFV-powered FW08C around the Hampshire speedbowl.
Further Formula 1 iconography in the form of the Lotus 87B will also be on display and will be joined by the likes of Ford’s legendary GT40 and a modern GT counterpart in the shape of an Aston Martin Vantage GTE.
Fans will also be able to get up-close and personal with Porsche’s last hurrah in the World Endurance Championship – the stunning technical marvel that is 919 Hybrid Sports Prototype. In the hands of decorated racers such as Mark Webber and Nico Hulkenberg, the 919 flew to three consecutive Drivers’ and Constructors’ titles in the flagship endurance series between 2015 and 2017, which included a hat-trick of victories at the world renowned Le Mans 24 Hours during the same period.
The weekend’s first-class competitive action comes courtesy of 13 races from the Historic Sports Car Club with the Historic Touring Car Challenge, the Royal Automobile Club Woodcote Trophy, HSCC Guards Trophy and Historic Formula Ford all highlights.
“We are delighted to add the world famous Williams FW08B to our ever-growing list of cars and stars that will be attending our 50th celebrations on 2-3 June,” said Thruxton group managing director, Bill Coombs. “The list of cars present will span the full five decades of the circuit’s existence and include some of the most memorable machinery that motorsport has to offer.
“It’s sure to be an amazing spectacle on-track, as well as off it. We will have a host of motorsport royalty in attendance, plus family entertainment and the official opening of our £2 million Thruxton Centre by legends Nigel Mansell CBE and Murray Walker OBE. Everyone at Thruxton is looking forward to the weekend immensely and we can’t wait to get started!”