HOLLYWOOD actor. Starship commander. And now race ace.
Mirfield-born actor Sir Patrick Stewart has added another string to his bow.
The Star Trek actor is now ready to boldly go where no Starship Enterprise commander has ever gone before – by racing at the iconic Silverstone circuit.
The 71-year-old movie legend – who played Captain Jean-Luc Picard in the sci-fi series – has just passed his official Association of Racing Driver Schools test and will compete in a special Celebrity Challenge race at this summer’s Silverstone Classic.
He will be at the wheel of a 130mph Morgan sports car.
“I’m relieved and delighted,” said Stewart who passed both written and driving tests required to obtain a MSA competition licence at a rather damp Silverstone.
“It’s such a fast learning curve from the moment you first step into the car. At one point it was raining quite hard out there; I could hardly see out of the windows… and you really do need to be able to see out of the windows when you’re driving fast.”
Despite the conditions the test was not about to defeat a man who has travelled around the universe at warp speeds.
“I can’t say it wasn’t a challenge at times but I’ve enjoyed it very much,” he said.
“I’ve watched too many professionals at work on the race track over the years to feel that I can now call myself a fully-fledged racing driver but it was exhilarating that’s for sure.
“I’m looking forward to putting my new skills into practice.”
Stewart has raced before but not at Silverstone.
“The only time that I’ve raced was on the Long Beach Grand Prix course in California which was in a Pro-Celebrity Toyota race and I really, really enjoyed it.
“But I’ve been in retirement for the last 10 years,” he grinned before explaining why he was now making a comeback. “It was too irresistible… the chance to drive a great British sports car at Silverstone, what could be better?”
The celebrity race will be on Saturday, July 21, and Stewart will line up on the starting grid alongside a host of personalities from showbiz, sport, TV and music.
His competitors include award-winning chef Heston Blumenthal, lifestyle guru Jo Wood, ‘Comedy Dave’ Vitty from Radio 1, Sky Sports presenter Vicky Gomersall, legendary rocker Brian Johnson from AC/DC and Strictly Come Dancing’s Brendan Cole.
The race will raise funds for the Birmingham Children’s Hospital, the Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Research UK and the RPJ Crohn’s Foundation.