The nation’s favourite historic racing and classic car weekend unfolds in the form of the Silverstone Classic this weekend (28-30 July). Boasting an impressive 22-race programme staged on the famous 3.7-mile Grand Prix circuit, the event has once again attracted more than 1000 entries spanning eight decades of glorious motor sport history, from a 1923 Bentley to a 2005 BTCC Honda Integra.
Gates opened at 07h30 on Friday morning for a weekend of fun and racing for the whole family. The Shopping Village is packed with 100 exhibitors where youngsters can also explore the adrenaline zone and a host of interactive activities, take traditional funfair rides, see static displays and street car shootouts, Spitfire engine fire-ups, enjoy racing simulators and a host of other entertainment to keep all ages fully entertained. The 40m high JET Big Wheel is offering free rides, and there is also a 9-hole crazy golf course.
For the more discerning visitor, there is a three-day classic car auction to browse (entry to the auction is by catalogue only, see Silverstone Auctions). Some of the key cars on offer include: a 1972 Ferrari Daytona (once owned by Sir Elton John); a Martini-liveried Lancia Delta HF Integrale as campaigned by four-time WRC champion Juha Kankkunen; an ex-works Toyota Supra campaigned by Barry Sheene in 1985; the Labatt’s-liveried 1989 Ford Cosworth RS500 BTCC race car (driven by Tim Harvey); and a Vic Lee Motorsport-prepared BMW M3 from 1991.
Once the world’s fastest production car, Jaguar’s sensational XJ220 will mark its 25th birthday in style today (Saturday). Record numbers of the XJ220 will be mustering for a track parade, led by no fewer than three of the TWR JaguarSport racing XJ220Cs that competed in the Le Mans 24 Hours – one has travelled all the way from Japan. On Sunday, 126 McLaren sportscars will parade to mark 80 years since the birth of founder Bruce McLaren. A record number of 125 car clubs are registered to display classic cars on the infield, showcasing a wide range of classic cars, many representing important milestones in automotive history.
The festival weekend celebrates some great entertainment on both Friday and Saturday evenings. The opening night hosted a special 50th anniversary Summer of Love celebration topped by The Bootleg Beatles, widely hailed as the world’s premier Fab Four tribute band. They will be joined by two further highly-regarded tribute acts – Who’s Next and Are You Experienced? – playing the much-loved music of The Who and Jimi Hendrix. Spandau Ballet’s former front man Tony Hadley headlines as the sun goes down on Saturday evening, supported by the authentic Dire Straits Experience.
The race programme is boosted by a couple of remarkable track demonstrations. To mark its 40th anniversary, the legendary Williams F1 team has dusted off Nigel Mansell’s magnificent 1992 British Grand Prix-winning Williams FW14B for some high-speed laps on both Saturday and Sunday. For many, 25 years on, the wail of its magical Renault V10 engine will be worth the entry price alone! There is something very special for two-wheeled fans, too, with the return of World GP Bike Legends. Star names include 500cc World Champions ‘Fast’ Freddie Spencer and Wayne Gardner as well as ‘Prince of Speed’ Phil Read. The bike showcase will be complemented by Ace Corner, where London’s famous Ace Cafe will be hosting a mods and rockers-themed bike and scooter display by the National Paddock.
The track action will not be the only against-the-clock competition at the 2017 Silverstone Classic. On the infield, eBay’s Restoration Live team, led by Fergus Walkinshaw, will be engaged in another race against time as it battles to bring a 33-year-old Ford Capri back to life using only parts sourced on eBay.
Tickets also offer access to trackside grandstands and both racing paddocks. This ‘access-all-areas’ policy allows visitors the chance to really savour more racing action than is possible to see anywhere else in the world in one weekend.
The massive three-day extravaganza’s status as the world’s biggest classic motor racing festival is unrivalled – the Silverstone Classic, be there!!
More images, also from previous years, can be found on the Virtual Motorpix website.
Edited by: Glen Smale
Images by: Virtual Motorpix/Glen Smale, John Mountney, Roland Harrison