A unique prototype 1960s racer is confirmed as an early entry for Silverstone Auctions’ July 23 event during the Silverstone Classic race weekend.

The Prototype Deep Sanderson 301 ran in 24-hour Le Mans, Spa and Nurburgring races in 1963 and ’64, is eligible for every 1960s GT sports car race and invited to the Goodwood Revival and Festival of Speed.

The prototype was the original metal-bodied car developed by builder and racer Chris Lawrence, originally using a rear-mounted Mini Minor engine. Launched at the 1962 Olympia Racing Car Show, it was the forerunner to an estimated 16 ‘production’ fibreglass-bodied Deep Sanderson 301 Sports Coupé cars.

Deciding he wanted to race a car of his own design at Le Mans, Lawrence further developed the prototype into a racer. It made its debut at Le Sarthe in 1963 and became the first Mini derivative to be an international sports car racer, (rather than rallying), preceding the Mini Marcos by four years. The 301 ran for 20 hours in Le Mans, leading the Index of Performance before being disqualified on a spurious technicality. Competing in 1963 endurance races in Le Mans, Nurburgring and Spa with its original 988 cc engine, it challenged the 1964 Le Mans 24-hours with a BMC Abingdon factory-supported 1293 cc experimental engine.

Originally registered as 2 ARX, the road-legal MOT’d prototype is offered on a 1970s plate given to the car when sold by Chris Lawrence. It retains its Le Mans lights and the experimental BMC engine. Although restored and raced a little in the 80s and 90s, it was discovered in storage after a decade in the early 2000s. The owner returned it to Chris Lawrence who undertook a full restoration before it appeared at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2009, climbing the hill in under one minute. It featured in Mini’s fiftieth anniversary parade at Goodwood and in 2010 raced in Goodwood Revival’s Fordwater Trophy with Simon Diffey behind the wheel, who qualified in ninth and eventually finished in eleventh place, achieving speeds in excess of 125mph on the Lavant straight. Finished in its original racing colours of British Racing Green, the ‘prettiest Mini Special’ produces 114 bhp and is rated at 126 mph at 6,500 rpm on the rolling road.

The car is offered with full documentation, history, restoration photographs and miscellany, including a copy of Chris Lawrence’s book ‘Morgan Maverick’ which details the car’s story.

Joining the Deep Sanderson at Silverstone Auctions on 23 July are further lots including the chassis number 80 1961Jaguar E-type and a BMW Z8, in the same specification as driven by James Bond in The World Is Not Enough.

“Silverstone Auctions is quickly achieving momentum, with some exceptional lots being offered by our clients,” said Managing Director of Silverstone Auctions, Nick Whale. “We are finding a strong interest from prospective vendors who see not only our auction dates and our central location of significant appeal, but appreciate the expertise and support being offered by our team.”