RECORDS ARE MADE TO BE BROKEN!
The annual Silverstone Classic never fails to live up to its star billing as ‘The World’s Biggest Classic Motor Racing Festival’ and this summer’s three-day blockbuster (26-28 July) is all set to exceed all expectations with record race entries, record ticket pre-sales plus record numbers of mouth-watering car club displays and parades.
The Silverstone Classic…
This year’s on-track entertainment features no fewer than 24 action-packed races, many boasting massive oversubscribed 58-car grids. The full spectrum of historic motor sport is on the packed programme with hundreds of the world’s foremost, finest and most authentic historic competition cars filling Silverstone’s National and Wing pit complexes.
The Silverstone Classic is firmly established as the event all the top historic racing grids want to include in their calendars – it’s also the event that now inspires exciting new championships such as the Super Touring Trophy.
Indeed such is the festival’s incredible popularity that current predictions suggest the 2013 edition is poised to break the record of 1104 entries set in 2011, which is believed to have been the biggest race meeting ever staged in global motor racing history.
Once again the entire Silverstone site will be taken over by racing, displays, attractions and activities for the entire family, capped by sensational music concerts on Friday and Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon.
Add in special celebrations to honour key milestones in the history of iconic marques such as Aston Martin and Lamborghini plus a World Record parade of 911 x Porsche 911 to mark the iconic sportscar’s golden anniversary and it’s easy to see why advanced ticket sales are at an unprecedented level.
And, sticking to the event’s widely acclaimed ‘access all areas’ policy, all these tickets include free entrance to racing paddocks, trackside grandstands and the live music concerts.
Seventy years of Formula One history on track…
Nowhere will fans be able to see so much glorious Formula One history in on-track racing action. Three double-header grids (with races on both Saturday and Sunday) add up to more than 100 famous F1 cars covering more than seven illustrious decades of grand prix history.
The Historic Grand Prix Cars Association provides the two earliest grids. The pre-1961 field covers the entire history of F1 from the front-engined era ranging from the Bugattis and ERAs of the 1920s and 1930s to the stunning Maseratis and Ferraris of the 1950s.
The dawn of the 1960s witnessed a new innovative age for F1 with the rise of rear-engined ‘cigar-tube’ racers and with them a new generation of independent British constructors such as Brabham, Cooper, Lola and Lotus. This changing epoch is brilliantly represented by HGPCA’s second grid featuring large numbers of rear-engined F1 cars from pre-1966.
Completing the mind-boggling showcase of living F1 history comes the FIA Masters Historic Formula One Championship – an equally evocative series starring 3-litre cars from 1966 through to 1985. This period saw another major development with the advent of commercial sponsorship and, adding to the spectacle, cars must run in their period livery.
The UK’s ultimate Le Mans revival
No fewer than six different grids cover the full spectrum of post war GT and sportscar racing.
Harking back to some of the classic Le Mans 24 Hour showdowns of yesteryear are two very special dusk races on Saturday evening: one for the fearsome Group C prototypes from the 1980s and early 1990s, the other is the new Piper Heidsieck International Trophy for pre-1966 GT cars in association with Chopard featuring a packed 58-car grid of AC Cobras, Aston Martin DB4s, Ferrari 250LMs and Jaguar E-types.
Sunday’s prestigious Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy for Historic GT Cars is another major highlight with Aston Martin aiming to complete a hat-trick of victories. Racing legends Stuart Graham and Richard Attwood shared a DB4 GT to take the chequered flag in 2011. Last year the coveted TT trophy went to the DP212 ‘project car’ driven by its owner Wolfgang Friedrichs and David Clark.
The three remaining grids are equally exciting and nostalgic: Historic Sportscar Masters (for Le Mans style sportscars up to 1974); the Stirling Moss Trophy (for pre-1961 sportscars) and Royal Automobile Club Woodcote Trophy (for pre-1956 sportscars).
Superlative saloon car showcases
For the first time this summer’s Silverstone Classic will include three saloon car grids showcasing more than 40 years of thrilling touring car history.
The two-driver Under 2-Litre Touring Car race is always a huge crowd-pleaser and in 2013 the eagerly-awaited U2TC contest honours an important milestone in saloon car racing history – 50 years of the esteemed Lotus Cortina. Last year’s capacity 58-car grid included more than 25 of these racing deities and another huge turn-out is guaranteed in July in a packed field that will also flaunt hordes of battling Alfa Romeos, BMWs and Minis.
Turning the clocks forward, the Super Touring Trophy – introduced to huge acclaim last year – puts the spotlight on two equally memorable tin-top eras. The Group A period is well represented by flame-spitting Cosworth Sierras and their long-standing BMW M3 adversaries, while a growing number of super tourers epitomises what’s widely hailed as the zenith of the MSA British Touring Car Championship during the 1990s.
Adding to the saloon car entertainment is the new Trans-Atlantic Touring Car Trophy featuring many of the mighty V8 muscle cars that dominated saloon car racing in the second half of the 1960s. Indeed it’s almost exactly 50 years ago that Silverstone witnessed the beginning of the ‘Yank Tank’ era. It was on 11 May 1963 that saloon car legend Jack Sears debuted the 6.9-litre NASCAR sourced Ford Galaxie at Silverstone, promptly trounced the reigning Jaguars and totally transformed the sport for the following epoch. The new Trans-Atlantic Touring Car Trophy will mark the golden anniversary of Sears’ first win. Harking back to those halcyon days, the two races will witness large numbers of these mighty American machines taking on their more nimble European rivals from the same unforgettable period.
Yet more single-seater action…
On top of the superlative grids of historic Formula One cars comes further single-seater action.
This year the Silverstone Classic will pay special homage to Formula Ford, the world’s foremost entry level form of single-seater motor racing and the proving ground of so many future stars with Historic Sports Car Club’s category for pre-72 FF1600s joining the bill for the very first time. The fast and flowing nature of the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit is certain to produce some superb slip-streaming and fierce competition.
Both Formula Junior and the combined F2/F5000 grids produced some memorably close racing last summer and so it’s no surprise that they have kept their sought-after places on the crowded Silverstone Classic programme.
Honouring racing legend Jim Clark
The remarkable racing achievements of double world champion Jim Clark will be honoured at this summer’s Silverstone Classic. Clark was world champion in 1963 and 1965, and was the first British driver to win the Indy 500. At the time of his death in 1968, when racing a F2 car in Germany, he had won more Grands Prix than any other driver.
Marking the 50th anniversary of his first world title in 1963, a special BRDC Silverstone Classic Dinner will be held in the circuit’s new Wing on Friday 26 July. Many of those who knew Clark will be sharing their memories and several of Jimmy’s trophies, cars and other memorabilia will be on display. Though reserved primarily for BRDC members and Classic competitors a limited number of public tickets are on offer via the Silverstone Classic website.
Adding to the tributes, the two HGPCA races – which include several of Clark’s former racing cars – will be renamed the Jim Clark Trophy for Pre-1966 Rear Engined Grand Prix Cars.
The magnificent men behind the machines
Sir Jackie Stewart will be joining many of the men responsible for designing and crafting the cars that have graced F1 grids throughout time at the 2013 Silverstone Classic.
Founded by Stewart, the Grand Prix Mechanics Charitable Trust looks after the interests of past and present F1 mechanics; in that role it’s organising a very special reunion at this year’s Classic enabling its members to meet old friends and reacquaint themselves with many of the wonderful machines they created.
“It seems to us to be the ideal place for a gathering of the most vital part of any racing team – the mechanics,” said Stewart who will be hosting the reunion at the Classic on Saturday 27 July. “A good number of our members will have most likely built or worked on the very many classic cars that will be competing at Silverstone that weekend.”
World record parades
On top of the huge programme of races, the Silverstone Classic is renowned for its equally spectacular on-track parades. In 2011 a 50th anniversary parade of 767 E-Type Jaguars established a new Guinness World Record. Last year in was the turn of Ferrari when an unprecedented gathering of 60 scarlet F40s took to the track in a memorable tribute marking 25 years of the world’s first 200mph supercar.
This year the Classic will host no fewer than three major parades, the biggest of which will see – appropriately – 911 road and competition versions of Porsche’s evergreen 911 marking 50 years in the life of what’s unquestionably one of the world’s most celebrated, revered and distinguished automotive creations. To date more than 800 owners have signed to join Sunday’s 911 x 911 pageant being organised by the Porsche Club GB.
An equally momentous milestone will be marked on Saturday when Aston Martin celebrates its centenary with a parade of 100 Aston Martin models. Joining the festivities more than 250 members of the Aston Martin Owners Club will be displaying their cherished cars on the Silverstone infield.
Lamborghini, meanwhile, will be celebrating its 50th anniversary at this year’s Silverstone Classic. A display and parade on track of more than 100 Lamborghini cars will include models representing all five decades since Lamborghini’s foundation in 1963 and the Italian company is previewing its power show by presenting its latest Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera Edizione Tecnica at the Silverstone Classic Media Day.
Car clubs: from Russia with love
It’s not only sportscar legends such as Aston Martin, Lamborghini and Porsche that will be displaying their automotive heritage at Silverstone in July.
This year’s event has attracted a record number of 79 car clubs all keen to contribute their own motoring lineage to what’s a massive in-field showcase totalling in excess of 8000 classic cars.
Perhaps best illustrating the festival’s ever-increasing international following and appeal, is the Volga GAZ Club. Several of its members are driving all the way from Moscow to add their own flavour to the festivities. Another highlight will be the return of last year’s super-successful BMW Zed Fest, only this time also including owners of BMW’s exalted M-Powered models.
The sky’s no limit…
Famed for its family-friendly entertainment, the Silverstone Classic has so much more to offer those of all ages with everything from WW2 air displays and hot air balloon fly-outs to fun fair rides and pampering. Visitors can even learn to play some classic rock riffs at the Gibson Guitar Experience.
The Motorfair area allows pedigree manufacturers such as Aston Martin, BMW and Morgan to exhibit their heritage alongside latest models. Then there’s the ever-expanding shopping village for those looking for something special… or the classic race and road car auction – organised by Silverstone Auctions – should tastes be somewhat more lavish. Viewing takes place on the Friday with lots coming under the hammer on Saturday.
Most prominently, perhaps, for the first time all visitors will also be able to enjoy free gondola rides in the imposing BMW Eye. Standing more than 40-metres tall, the BMW Eye will give vast panoramic views over both the dramatic racing action on famous Silverstone circuit and the dazzling display areas showcasing thousands and thousands of classic cars.
Rocking and racing
Living up to its ‘Rocking and Racing’ motto, this year’s Silverstone Classic again includes live music concerts on both Friday and Saturday evenings. One of Britain’s most famous bands – The Hollies – will top the live music bill on the second night. They will be preceded on Friday by another illustrious band, this time from the silver screen. The ‘Stars from The Commitments’ includes original cast members from the BAFTA winning movie The Commitments and they are still performing many of the film’s soul classics.
Silverstone Classic festival-goers will also be treated to a host of other familiar favourites from four top tribute bands. Floyd Reloaded and Boot Led Zeppelin will be performing Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin classics on Friday while The Hollies will be supported on Saturday by the Ultimate Eagles and the Guns N’ Roses Experience.
There’s live music on Sunday, too, with the all-female Tetra Electra Quartet performing amplified arrangements of many much-loved classical favourites.
All powered by the AA
This year’s Silverstone Classic is again supported by the AA, the UK’s biggest motoring organisation. The AA will be offering first drive experiences to those aged over 12 on the Stowe Circuit as well as providing free breakdown cover to all-comers – whether members or not – within a three mile radius of Silverstone.
Access all areas
In keeping with the event’s widely acclaimed ‘access all areas’ policy, all tickets include free entrance to both racing paddocks and pit complexes, trackside grandstands and live music concerts on Friday and Saturday evenings.
For the first time, this year all tickets must be purchased in advance. Adult admittance is from just £35 (plus fees) and considerable savings are on offer for those festival-goers spending the full weekend at Silverstone and special packages for car clubs and their members are also available. Full details can be found on the official www.silverstoneclassic.com website.