ORGANISERS of a Liverpool motorsport festival yesterday announced their hopes to turn the track back into an international racing venue.

The Aintree circuit once hosted the British Grand Prix and was purpose-built for motor racing compared to Silverstone, venue of yesterday's Grand Prix, which was built on a disused airfield.

A major motorsport event will take place at the track in November this year with guests of honour Stirling Moss and Tony Brooks, both former winners at Aintree.

Mike Ashcroft, from the Circuit Club and director of the organising firm CCUK Media, said the annual festival was set to be the first of five in the run-up to Liverpool's Capital of Culture Year in 2008.

Mr Ashcroft added: "The racing circuit will be used for the festival exactly 20 years to the day since it last had cars on it.

"Our long-term aim is to definitely get the track open for international motor racing again, particularly as it was a purpose-built track, that's important to remember.

"I don't think we will be able to take Grand Prix racing just yet, but the ease of access and the viewing stands give it huge potential."

The festival will have a host of attractions and Mr Ashcroft said: "Drivers can pay to do three laps of the track non-competitively and we expect up to 500 people on the track behind the convoy car.

"But there will also be parade laps and exhibition driving with Stirling Moss and Tony Brooks.

"We've had interest from as far afield as the USA."

The three-mile Grand Prix track runs along the outside of the horseracing track at Aintree and then crosses over on the country side to the inside of the horse racing circuit. Each year, when the Grand National is televised, the TV car drives along the Grand Prix circuit but it is rarely used otherwise.

The circuit was first used in 1954 and last used in November 1984 for a special stage on The Lombard RAC International Rally and also included a parade of over 200 cars including John Surtees driving a Vanwall.

On the Friday of the festival, the entire Aintree facility will be used, including the 20,000-capacity stands, hotel standard hospitality and the historic Grand Prix track.

On the Saturday and Sunday, the festival will combine motorsport and steeplechasing. On these days track displays and parades will take place before 1pm and share with steeplechasing in the afternoons.

During horse racing, there will be static displays in the paddock area and trade and hospitality areas. Two gala dinners will celebrate the occasion and help raise funds for local charities. Famous names like Bentley, Mercedes, Jaguar Racing, MG, Austin Healey, TVR and Lotus are expected at this year's event.

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