The project to create a Scottish motorsport centre at one of the nation’s iconic road trip locations has taken another important step forward.
Scotland’s rich history of motorsport success, forged by names including Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart, Jimmy McRae and Dario Franchitti would be showcased in the tourist attraction carved into a hillside near the classic hairpin on the Rest and Be Thankful in Argyll.
Douglas Anderson from Broughty Ferry and Dundee-born journalist and broadcaster Alan Douglas are part of the driving force behind the ambitious project and with the granting of charitable status for the idea, trustees hope to progress to a feasibility study as the pursuit of support to make the dream a reality continues.
Mr Anderson, who successfully brought the Monte Carlo Rally back to Scotland in recent years, hopes the centre would breathe new life into the popular A83 stop-off on the famous stretch near Arrochar, a famed location in the sport for decades.
He said: “The location has great significance in motorsport terms because of the famous hill climb races and international rallies.
“It was seen as the ultimate test for drivers in many ways because of the steepness and conditions and many greats like Jackie Stewart raced there.
“It is the ideal place to celebrate Scotland’s impressive motorsport heritage and the idea is to mark that connection within a permanent exhibition space, but the project itself is much more than that.
“The building would be a multi-use facility which could be used by the local community for film, business and cultural events and there would also be retail and a restaurant area.”
The concept has already been given the backing of three-time F1 world champion Sir Jackie Stewart, multiple British Touring Car Champion John Cleland and veteran Scottish rally driver Jimmy McRae.
Jimmy, who still holds the record for the fastest run down the Rest and Be Thankful rally stage, said: “The Rest is known around the world as one of the classic rally stages and is renowned by drivers and motorsport enthusiasts alike.
“This project is a tremendous initiative which would acknowledge the important part Scotland has played in international motorsport over many years.”
Discussions with officials from Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, VisitScotland, the Forestry Commission, Transport Scotland, MSPs and local politicians have already been positive, said Mr Anderson.
With official charitable status granted, the five trustees -all of whom have an involvement in motorsport – are looking to carry out a feasibility study and generate financial backing.
Chairman of the trustees Stan Bernard said: “This is a major project requiring considerable time and effort but my fellow trustees are all passionate about the vision.
“We really appreciate the help and support we are getting from enthusiastic individuals across all levels of the sport and from local and national government and key organisations.
Renowned businessman and motorsport enthusiast Boyd Tunnock has already made a substantial donation to help get the project underway.