Final Countdown To Epic Silverstone Classic

Filed under: Classic News,Silverstone Classic |
This month’s not-to-be-missed Silverstone Classic (28-30 July) is all set to further enhance the massive three-day extravaganza’s unrivalled status as the world’s biggest classic motor racing festival. Featuring the full spectrum of glorious motor sport history from much-loved bygone eras, the colossal 22-race programme staged on the famous 3.7-mile Grand Prix circuit has once again attracted more than 1,000 entries, with many of the spectacular showdowns featuring massively oversubscribed grids.

Iconic racing cars from yesteryear: ‘Black Beauty’ BMW 635 CSi

Record numbers of car clubs are turning out in force, too, with Saturday’s vast infield display areas entirely sold-out. In total, more than 10,000 beautiful classics will be on show over the three days with, as tradition now dictates, many clubs choosing to celebrate key model and marque milestones with special shows and track parades at what is unquestionably the summer’s standout automotive showcase. But, as ever, there’s much, much more to the Silverstone Classic than unprecedented numbers of peerless racing and road cars from yesteryear. The three-day blockbuster includes live music concerts from headline acts, dramatic live demos, interactive driving experiences, rides on the JET Big Wheel, crazy golf, air displays, a shopping village where the 2017 Silverstone Classic clothing range can be purchased, an adrenaline zone, traditional funfair rides, static displays, street car shootouts, Spitfire engine fire-ups, racing simulators and a host of other entertainment to keep all ages fully entertained. What’s more, all these fabulous activities – plus a host of others – are included absolutely FREE in the cost of admission. Tickets also offer access to trackside grandstands and both racing paddocks. This widely-praised ‘access-all-areas’ policy not only allows visitors the chance to really savour more racing action than is possible to see anywhere else in the world in one weekend, but also the heaven-sent opportunity to relish all these wonderful racers up close. Tickets must be purchased in advance and remain on sale until 5pm on Thursday, 27 July, and festival-goers are advised to leave extra time as enhanced security procedures are in place. Adult admission starts at £43 and weekend camping and a limited number of hospitality upgrades are still available. Full ticket details and all the latest news is available on the official website and via the event’s social media platforms. With so much to see and do, selecting just a handful of utterly unmissable highlights is nigh-on impossible. Accepting the Herculean challenge, here are our Top Ten attractions at the 2017 Silverstone Classic:
1. Unrivalled Track Action

FIA Masters Historic Formula One Race Series

As the world’s biggest classic motor racing festival, the Silverstone Classic features more track action than you’ll experience anywhere on Earth over one weekend. The packed 22-race programme includes all the finest championships including the FIA Masters Historic Formula One Race Series, FIA Masters Historic Sportscars, the Royal Automobile Club Woodcote Trophy, Stirling Moss Trophy, Group C Racing and Super Touring Car Trophy. This year’s schedule also celebrates 50 years of Formula Ford and sees the welcome return of the Pre-War Sports Cars starring Bentleys, Bugattis and Frazer Nashes from the twenties and thirties. 2. Star-studded Celebrity Race
World and Olympic champions, chart-topping musicians, best-selling authors and familiar figures from TV and radio will all be on a star-studded grid for the inaugural Celebrity Challenge Trophy Race to be staged on Saturday evening at this year’s Silverstone Classic. The stellar, big-name line-up features no fewer than five gold medal-winning athletes: cyclist Jason Kenny, skeleton racer Amy Williams and rowers Jonny Searle, Greg Searle and Mark Hunter. Famous musicians are to the fore, too – notably Howard Donald from chart-toppers Take That and Brian Johnson, who fronted rock legends AC/DC for over 35 years. In keeping with the spirit of the event, all these luminaries will be racing flat-out in an evocative field of Austin A30 and A35 saloons from the late fifties. In keeping with the spirit of the event, all these luminaries will be racing flat-out in an evocative field of Austin A30 and A35 saloons from the late fifties and will be raising awareness for the event’s official charity Prostate Cancer UK. A just giving page has also been set-up allowing the public to donate – click here for more information.
3. Iconic Racing Cars from Yesteryear
As ever, both Silverstone paddock complexes will be bursting with an astonishing array of cars from many of motor sport’s golden eras. The two HGPCA grids for pre-1966 grand prix cars boast a pair of iconic Maserati 250Fs, while the twin-grid JET Super Touring Car Trophy encounters two magical reunions. Italian tin-top ace Gianfranco Brancatelli will be back behind the wheel of his 1989 Spa 24 Hours-winning Ford Sierra RS500, while seven-time Bathurst winner Jim Richards will be reunited with the stunning JPS-livered BMW 635 CSi that he raced in the early eighties. Richards, plus both the RS500 and 635, will be travelling all the way from Australia to wow crowds at the Classic!
4. Happy Birthday, Jaguar XJ220 

Jaguar Classic Challenge race

Once the world’s fastest production car, Jaguar’s extraordinary XJ220 will mark its 25th birthday in sensational style on Saturday at the Silverstone Classic. Record numbers will be mustering for an incredible track parade led by no fewer than three of the TWR JaguarSport racing XJ220Cs that competed in the Le Mans 24 Hours – one of these is coming all the way from Japan to be part of the party. Among those partaking in the parade are two of the key figures behind what remains the fastest, most exciting and most expensive road-going Jaguar ever created: Jim Randle and Keith Helfet. As Engineering Director at Jaguar, Randle was the inspiration behind the original concept car, while Helfet was the brains behind the XJ220’s stunning – and astonishingly ageless – styling.
5. Mammoth Classic Car Displays
Every year, more and more car clubs choose the Silverstone Classic for their major summer gatherings, turning the venue into a mecca for enthusiasts. A new record will be established later this month, with in excess of 120 clubs displaying more than 10,000 privately-owned – and cherished – classic cars, all proudly displayed for public delectation on the infield. Clubs also play an important role in celebrating key model and marque milestones, with enhanced gatherings and huge track parades between the races. This year’s highlights include 60th anniversaries of the Fiat 500 and Lotus Seven, 50 years of the Ferrari Owners’ Club and MG Car Club, 40 years of the Triumph Six Sports Club and 30 years of the Lamborghini Club UK. The McLaren Owners Club is also organising the largest-ever collection of McLaren road cars – over 120 in total ­– to honour what would have been company founder Bruce McLaren’s 80th year.
6. Two Evenings of Great Live Music
The Silverstone Classic is renowned for its ‘rocking’ as well as its ‘racing’, and this year’s live music line-up will reinforce that reputation. It will also provide the growing numbers attending the entire festival weekend with some great entertainment on Friday and Saturday evenings. The opening night hosts 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.
7. Jaguar Showcasing its Pedigree
Legendary British brand Jaguar will be out in force at this year’s Silverstone Classic. On top of the special XJ220 celebrations, the track schedule includes a round of the high-profile Jaguar Classic Challenge for the first time. Open to all pre-1966 Jaguar models, the impressive grid will feature no fewer than 35 E-types as well as Mk1 saloons plus XK120, XK150 and D-type sportscars. Visitors wanting a more interactive experience can jump aboard the Jaguar Art of Performance Tour. The wonderful opportunity to take memorable, heart-pumping drift rides in an F-type proved massively popular with show-goers 12 months ago and is sure to be another huge hit second time around – what’s more, it is FREE.
8. Grand Prix Legends on Two and Four Wheels

Grand Prix legends: Mansell’s Williams FW14B

The peerless race programme is boosted still further 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 revving up include 500cc World Champions ‘Fast’ Freddie Spencer and Wayne Gardner as well as ‘Prince of Speed’ Phil Read, the oldest surviving 500cc/MotoGP World Champion following John Surtees’ passing earlier this year. 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.
9. Live Restoration of Classic Ford Capri
The non-stop 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. If all goes to plan, the finished car will be revealed as part of Mike Brewer’s Car Clinics on Sunday afternoon and then auctioned on eBay, with all proceeds going to the event’s official chosen charity, Prostate Cancer UK. Fergus’ team of five restorers includes a mechanic from Mission Motorsport, a charity that aids the recovery and rehabilitation of those affected by military operations by providing opportunities through motor sport.
10. Race and Classic Cars Under the Hammer

Race and classic cars under the hammer include the BMW M3 once raced by Tim Harvey

For those either looking to join the thriving classic car movement or to enhance their own collections, there is a very tempting three-day sale organised by Silverstone Auctions. A glorious 1972 scarlet Ferrari Daytona once owned by Sir Elton John is just one of the amazing road and race cars going under the hammer. Others include an ex-Rowan Atkinson Land Rover Defender Celebration model, an evocative Martini-liveried Lancia Delta HF Integrale as campaigned by four-time WRC champion Juha Kankkunen plus an impressive number of very desirable classics including TRs, Porsches, Ferraris, BMWs and Aston Martins. The sale also features three racing saloons with notable BTCC heritage. The first is the ex-works Toyota Supra as campaigned by Barry Sheene in 1985. The second two are both Labatt’s-liveried BTCC race cars as driven by Tim Harvey in period: a 1989 Andy Rouse-prepared Ford Cosworth RS500 and a Vic Lee Motorsport-prepared BMW M3 from 1991. Entry to the auction is by catalogue only.
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