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Damon Hill drives his Dad's debut winning E-Type from 1961

Author: Deborah Tee Published: 21st June 2021 11:02
Damon Hill prepares to relive Hill history with ECD 400 at Silverstone.Damon Hill prepares to relive Hill history with ECD 400 at Silverstone.

Next month’s celebrations at The Classic (30 July – 1 August 2021)  to mark the milestone 60thanniversary of the extraordinary E-type Jaguar have moved into overdrive with Damon Hill slipping behind the wood-rimmed steering wheel of ECD 400, the most famous of all racing E-types.
The legendary indigo blue roadster ­– in which Damon’s father Graham Hill made history when scoring a debut victory 60 years ago – will be on display on all three days of The Classic and will also lead out a special E-type Diamond Jubilee track parade on Saturday evening at the world’s biggest historic motor racing festival.
Back in April 1961, just one month after the sensational British sportscar was unveiled to rave reviews at the Geneva International Motor Show, the E-type was raced for the very first time at Oulton Park in Cheshire.
A pair of convertible road cars were prepared by the competition-loving Coventry factory for F1 stars Graham Hill and Roy Salvadori.
Hill was aboard ECD 400 entered by team owner Tommy Sopwith who famously favoured 400 number plates. Fellow grand prix driver Salvadori was behind the wheel of the rival John Coombs’ entry, adorned with its own evocative BUY 1 registration plate.
It was Hill, though, who had the honour of making motor racing history. The future double Formula One World Champion powered ECD 400 to a landmark debut victory finishing ahead of the Aston Martin DB4 of Innes Ireland with early race leader Salvadori settling for third after issues with the brakes on his Jaguar.
While that maiden success came at Oulton Park, a few weeks later Graham also raced ECD 400 in the Empire Trophy at Silverstone – this time, however, victory went to Stirling Moss in Rob Walker’s illustrious Ferrari 250 GT SWB. 
Now, 60 years later, ECD 400 was back at Silverstone for Damon to salute his father’s 1961 heroics – the 1996 World Champion cherishing the legendary dark blue Jaguar for the very first time. The full story will be in the August issue of Motor Sport magazine available in the shops from Wednesday 23 June.
“It was a fantastic opportunity for me to drive the E-type of all E-types,” enthused an enchanted Damon. “In the Hill family we cherish the fact that dad was the first guy to win a race in an E-type and I feel very, very privileged to be given the chance to take such a famous car for a spin.
“The experience captured everything that epitomised British motor sport of that era. ECD 400 is a hugely iconic Jaguar. It’s a beautiful looking car and sounds absolutely gorgeous – so for me to step back in time and drive the very same car in which my father won that first race 60 years ago was a wonderful bit of Hill history.”
Celebrations at The Classic to mark the E-type’s 60 years milestone will not only include the distinguished presence of ECD 400 but also two 60th anniversary E-type Challenge showdowns on the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit, plus a dazzling ‘Catwalk’ display for all visitors to treasure.
Organised by the ever-enthusiastic Jaguar E-type Club, this comprehensive ‘Catwalk’ showcase will feature both fixed head coupe and convertible body styles, ranging from the early Series 1 trailblazers (powered, as ECD 400, by the Le Mans winning 3.8-litre, straight-six engine) right up to the final Series 3 V12-engined evolution, itself marking an historic 50thbirthday in 2021.
All tickets for The Classic must be purchased in advance with adult general admission currently starting at £47 and the price of a three-day weekend ticket just £125.
Encouraging families to share in the entertainment, free admission is offered to accompanied children aged 10 and under, while day tickets for those aged between 11 and 15 are priced from just £6.
Ticket-buyers can also book with confidence with tickets carrying a COVID booking guarantee which means that if a change in Government guidelines prevents spectators attending, all ticket-buyers will have the option to either transfer their ticket to the following year or receive a full refund.
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