Silverstone Classic previewby Dickie Meaden on 21st July 2017
When the F1 moves out, hundreds of historics move in at Silverstone
After a rip-roaring British Grand Prix, Silverstone is now readying itself for another colossal weekend of motor sport – the Silverstone Classic (July 28-30).
Billed as the world’s biggest classic motor racing festival, Silverstone Classic is a three-day event that fills both the National and International ‘Wing’ paddock to the gunwales with hundreds (and hundreds!) of racing cars across every era, from pre-war sports cars to Group C and Super Touring.
I’m probably a little biased, but my favourite race of the weekend is the U2TC race for pre-66 Touring Cars. It’s a fiercely competitive series that attracts the very best tin-top drivers from historics and modern touring car racing. The cars are developed to the nth degree (within the Appendix K regs) and put on a fabulous display. Umpteen overtaking moves and spectacular sideways cornering is the order of the day.
I’m pleased to say I’ll be on the grid, sharing with Andy Wolfe in his Lotus Cortina. We did a bit of a Hamilton last year, grabbing pole and leading every lap to take the win, though Steve Soper pipped us to the fastest race lap before his car died a few laps before the finish. This year’s race should be an absolute belter, so be sure to cheer us on if you’re there.
Of the 22 races over across the weekend I think they all promise something special. If you’re a fan of more modern touring car racing then the JET Super Touring Car Trophy race will be right up your street, with iconic Group A and SuperTouring eras well represented. Jammy so-and-so that I am I’ll be in this race, too, driving a real hero of my youth – the 1986 Istel Tourist trophy-winning Rover Vitesse, resplendent in Bastos livery – in Saturday afternoon’s race.
- Gallery: Silverstone Classic preview day in photos
- Gallery: Silverstone Classic preview day in photos MkII
- Driving a 911 GT1
The Masters Historic FIA Sports Cars is always a spectacle thanks to the thundering big banger Lola T70s, while Masters’ other FIA grid features a fabulous array of 80s and 80s F1 cars. The sound of their screaming Cosworth DFVs is absolutely glorious, while the corner speed of the ground-effect cars is mighty.
And then of course there’s the Group C races. With Saturday’s race running into the twilight and a grid filled with iconic endurance race cars from the 80s and 90s it has become one of the real highlights of the Silverstone Classic weekend. Seeing these cars able to truly stretch their legs down the straights, then stretch their driver’s necks through the long, fast corners is something to savour. Watch them fly through Copse or stand on the entry to Maggots/Becketts for a vivid demonstration of what made this era of endurance racing so golden.
In perfect contrast is the Silverstone Classic Celebrity Challenge Trophy Race. With dozens of identically prepared, low power, low grip Austin A30 and A35s driven by an eclectic gathering of musicians, athletes, TV personalities and retired professional racers it should be an absolute hoot. I just hope none of the notoriously top-heavy machines turn turtle!
If you want to experience the biggest historic race meeting of them all be sure to get your tickets beforehand, as entry is by advanced ticket purchase only. Weekend ticket prices start at £43, are available at www.silverstoneclassic.com and remain on-sale until 5pm on Thursday July 27. See you there.