The Silverstone Classic is the biggest historic motor racing spectacle in the world! From 29-31 July, Silverstone in Northamptonshire will see more than 1000 race cars covering seventeen classes from across the decades descend on the circuit. The event celebrated its jubilee last year when more than 100,000 visitors spilled into the circuit over the weekend to enjoy the racing as well as the off-track entertainment, making it a real family outing.
Freddie Hunt will be one of the star attractions, as the 2016 Silverstone Classic prepares to mark the 40th anniversary of his father James Hunt’s Formula 1 World Championship crown. For the first time at the Silverstone Classic, there will be four separate touring car grids – the JET Super Touring Car Trophy (1990-2000), Historic Touring Car Challenge (1967-1989), Big-Engined Touring Cars (Pre ’66) and Under 2-Litre Touring Cars (Pre ’66) – bringing together more than 200 of the nation’s best-loved cars.
In addition to the Group C twilight race, FIA Masters Historic Formula One, Legends of Modern Formula One and Stirling Moss Trophy amongst many others, the new Can-Am 50 Interserie Challenge will stage its season finale at the Classic. These extreme machines will provide an awesome soundtrack to the event as they celebrate their 50th anniversary in 2016. Two- and three-wheeled racing fans are also catered for this year, as this summer’s Silverstone Classic will include World GP Bike Legends and the Sidecar Salute, with 1987 500cc World Champion Wayne Gardner and ten-time FIM Sidecar World Champion Steve Webster.
The promo material bills it as ‘The sound of rolling thunder!’ and ‘No limits and virtually no rules!’ which is just about as good a description as any for the snarling field of fire-breathers that are the Can-Am cars. This series, a race series for Group 7 sports racers, which was run in both Canada and America, started life in 1966 bringing together the bravest of drivers with the lightest weight cars with unbelievable power. The regulations were absolutely minimal and permitted unlimited engine sizes (with turbocharging and supercharging), and virtually unrestricted aerodynamics. The cars obviously had to meet certain safety standards, have two seats, and bodywork enclosing the wheels. This resulted in some of the most outrageous cars with well over 1000 horsepower, huge wings, active downforce, very light weight and unheard of speeds and noise, making the whole spectacle extremely popular. The Can-Am spirit has been kept alive recently in Europe with The Canadian American Challenge Cup, and the first running in 2016 was at the Hockenheim Historic meeting in April. The series has also been run at two UK circuits this year, with the final round of the Can-Am 50 Interserie Challenge Trophy being run in a special double-header at Silverstone over the weekend of the Classic.
Porsche will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of the 924 transaxle model which was launched at La Grande-Motte in the beautiful south of France in 1976. By the time the last of the four transaxle models (including: 924, 928, 944 and 968) ceased production, more than 400,000 units had been produced. I have just recently published a book on the transaxle models, to purchase your copy, click on the book cover.
The wide range of activities will include live music concerts from chart-toppers The Boomtown Rats, The Stranglers and Reef. There will be more than 120 car clubs exhibiting over 10,000 classic cars from across the decades, Silverstone Auctions, aviation displays, a live Range Rover restoration with new event partner eBay and – for the first time – a Concours d’Elegance. In a special feature to commemorate England’s victory over Germany in the 1966 Football World Cup Final, a car football match with the Classic’s official courtesy car partner SsangYong UK will be held exactly 50 years to the day on Saturday, 30 July.
The Silverstone Classic starts today, 29 July, and runs through until Sunday 31 July. All tickets must be purchased in advance and further details can be found on the official website: www.silverstoneclassic.com
Written by: Glen Smale
Photos: as credited to each photographer
For more photographs of previous Silverstone Classic events, check out our website: www.virtualmotorpix.com
Looks like a great time, do these cars actually participate in a race or do they just cruise around the track?
The 90s Endurance Legends was just a demonstration run only, and the Ferraris did not race as such at the Classic. But in all the other races it was real doorhandle to doorhandle action which is very much racing as it was in its day. You should go one day.