#Classof2017 Porsche Muscle Dream Driving Experience gives hope and strength to eight new ‘Muscle Warriors’ who burned rubber and shed tears of joy at Silverstone

The stunning Whittlebury Hall Hotel in Towcester and the iconic Porsche Experience Centre at Silverstone once again played host for the 7th year to eight lucky boys from across the UK, now fully fledged ‘Muscle Warriors’, when they participated in the Muscle Help Foundation’s (MHF) annual Porsche Muscle Dream Driving Experience Programme on Monday 19 June 2017.

The beneficiaries aged 11 to 21 were successful in their nominations to MHF, a small family charity that delivers highly-personalised, transformational experiences for children and young people with the muscle wasting disease, Muscular Dystrophy (MD) and allied neuromuscular conditions. Seven recipients have the most severe form called Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) which is life limiting: they’re unlikely to live past their early/mid twenties.

The boys and their families arrived excitedly at the hotel on the day, to be greeted by MHF’s dedicated host team that included several volunteers from BCD Meetings & Events, a leading agency that has supported the charity on past events, as well as representatives from a variety of businesses that included Cinecloud, sm2communicate, Ruff Wood Pizza, Fujitsu, University of Hertfordshire, PA Life, Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One and Women in Sport.

After lunch, there were more surprises when two supercars – a fiery orange Porsche GT3 RS (provided by the Porsche Experience Centre) and a racing red Ferrari 355 (provided by Damax) were revealed.

Copyright Gary Perlmutter Photography

Squeals of delight resounded across the hotel’s courtyard as the self-confessed petrol heads had a chance to see, touch and take photos of the cars (see photo left by Gary Perlmutter Photography)

The piece de resistance came late afternoon after the briefing given by Gordon Robertson, the Chief Driving Consultant at the Porsche Experience Centre at Silverstone, which included the introduction of eight dedicated Porsche drivers. No sooner had the briefing finished, when Porsche 911s were matched to the eight beneficiaries and off they all went straight onto the iconic Grand Prix Circuit for some thrilling and unforgettable laps. Then back onto the specially designed Porsche Experience Centre track for some cornering and handling at speed, a visit to the ice hill, some drifting and of course no driving experience would be complete without some ‘donuts’! And thanks to Racelogic’s VBOX HD in-car camera systems, each beneficiary was presented at dinner with a stunning, high-definition film of their Silverstone experience.

21-year-old Jordan Hopewell with his mum Julia with signed photograph of Lewis Hamilton gift, photographed by Steve Carter

With the boys’ faces beaming from ear to ear, MHF’s celebratory Muscle Warrior dinner took place at the hotel where families stayed overnight. A unique moment then took place as each young person was presented with a specially laminated carbon fibre brake disc, raced in 2012 by seven-time F1 world champion Michael Schumacher. The evening drew to a close with one final gift for each of this year’s #Classof2017 programme: a personally signed Lewis Hamilton photo.

MHF’s CEO Michael McGrath, said:

“I am delighted that for one day, we were able to create a small bubble of hope and joy amidst a time of such uncertainty, tragedy and hardship for so many. The sun shone, the energy was palpable, the smiles were broad and a fantastic experience was had by all. For the 7th year in a row, the goodwill, selfless spirit and generosity of so many people make this such a wonderful programme. We could not deliver these Muscle Dream experiences without the support of our partners, not least all of the drivers at the Porsche Experience Centre (Silverstone) and the staff at Whittlebury Hall Hotel. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping us change lives and give real happiness to those young people and their families for whom every day is a challenge.

“I often speak about our charity’s #powerof657 vision which lies at the heart of our work: a simple goal to deliver 657 Muscle Dreams, one for each muscle in the human body. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such pure joy when presented with the gift of a special photo or indeed a brake disc! It is these magical moments in our lives that stay forever. For me, there was a particularly poignant thought that came to mind when I was told about the link between the brake discs and Michael Schumacher. I know that for our beneficiaries, families and many people across the world, hope is incredibly powerful as it fuels our strength and courage to push on. It’s my hope that this year’s #Classof2017 take strength from their experiences. The spotlight shone on them, they are our VIPs, now all fully-fledged Muscle Warriors. It’s such a privilege for my team and I to spend quality time with each beneficiary and for their families to trust us with their sons. Their joy, energy and smiles will always be remembered. It goes without saying that we can’t wait to ‘Light it Up’ next year! Bring on 2018!”

More information about the Muscle Help Foundation can be found at www.musclehelp.com.