More than 130 of the world’s finest historic racing cars revved up for the 2015 Silver Anniversary Silverstone Classic (24-26 July) at a sun-kissed media preview day which occurred this week on April 15th – organisers predict the 2015 spectacle will be the biggest and best event yet.
With interest in historic motor sport at an all-time high, the Silverstone Classic is one of the undeniable blue riband events on the world racing calendar, and having attracted more than 1,100 entries in each of the last three years, a bumper crop is well and truly on the cards in 2015. What’s more, after a record 94,000 fans poured through the gates in 2014.
“Silverstone Classic represents the very best historic racing anywhere on the planet,” said Event Director Nick Wigley. “The breadth of cars the event attracts is simply extraordinary, from Pre-War 1920s and ‘30s machinery through early Grand Prix cars, the glamour era of the ‘50s and ‘60s to 1980s F1 turbocharged beasts, Group C sportscars and Super Touring and GT legends from the ‘90s. It really is a comprehensive spectrum.
Last year, more than 9,000 privately-owned classic cars were on show, and a record 114 clubs have already signed up for 2015, with 31 anniversaries being celebrated for good measure – from the 25th birthday of the Honda NSX and Mazda MX-5 to 30 years of the Sinclair C5, 40 years of the Jaguar XJS, half-a-century of the Aston Martin DB6, Rolls Royce Silver Shadow, MGB GT and 60 years of the Citroën DS and Rolls Royce Silver Cloud.
In recognition of these milestones and the Classic’s own quarter-century, a new Friday lunchtime track parade has been introduced, in addition to a Silver Sunday Anniversary Parade, open to owners of silver cars of any generation, make or model, who pay – appropriately – £25 extra for the privilege. Statistics show that silver is the nation’s favourite car colour – with more than seven million on British roads – so the fact that this is already half-full is perhaps little surprise.
From Formula 1 to touring cars, GTs and sportscars to pre-war prototypes, Silverstone this summer will be awash with the old and the not so old. All the traditional favourites are back in force and in fine fettle – including the FIA Masters Historic F1 Championship, the Royal Automobile Club Historic Tourist Trophy for Pre-1963 GT cars, the FIA Masters Historic Sports Car Championship for Pre-1966 GT cars, front and rear-engined Pre-1966 F1 cars and the Group C endurance racers, which will run evocatively into dusk on Saturday evening.
Appropriately enough with Silverstone having hosted the very first round of the FIA Formula One World Championship, there will be more F1 cars racing at the Silverstone Classic than anywhere else, and they will be joined in 2015 by Pre-War Sportscars, a major feature of early Classics but one that has been absent from the bill for a number of years.
New to the scene will be the Guards Trophy – a sold-out grid of Pre-1966 GTs and Pre-1969 sportscars – and, to commemorate the 75th anniversary and Silverstone’s role as a bomber base during the Second World War, a pair of Battle of Britain races for British-built Pre-1966 GTs, touring cars and sportscars, bringing together an eclectic mix of MGs, Lotuses, Aston Martins, Jaguars, Minis and Ginettas to name but a few.
The crowd-pleasing touring cars return once again, with BTCC Champions Gordon Shedden and Matt Neal seeking a rematch in their Team Dynamics-prepared Lotus Cortina, after leading the U2TC race last year only to retire before the chequered flag.
Following a well-received debut in 2014, 90s GT Legends will be back this year, with the addition of Bernd Schneider’s 1997 FIA GT Championship-winning Mercedes-Benz CLK-GTR. They will be joined, to much acclaim, by a new high-speed demonstration, 90s F1 Legends, celebrating the post-DFV ‘80s/90s high-revving turbo era, when the likes of Nigel Mansell, Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher ruled the racetrack.
The Silverstone Classic is about so much more than the high-octane action on the circuit. There will be live music from Paul Young and Status Quo and Fleetwood Mac and ZZ Top tribute acts, hot air balloon flyouts, a twilight pyrotechnics display and Lancaster, Spitfire and Hurricane aerial flypasts.
A new adrenaline zone includes a zip wire, climbing walls, Wacky Wheeler Jeeps, a reverse bungee swing and a 40m-high giant wheel for a panoramic view of all the action. Interactive driving activities are provided by the Off-Road Zone, Caterham Drift Experience, the 2CV Tin Snail Challenge, rally and 4×4 rides and a street car shoot-out – the vast majority of which is included within the general ticket price.
Throw into the mix a Vintage Funfair, giant scalextric, a huge retail shopping village – with more than 170 exhibitors already signed up – Silverstone Auctions and TV presenter Mike Brewer’s popular Car Clinic, and all the ingredients are firmly in place for a spectacular anniversary event.