Tag Archives: Silverstone Classic

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Classical Times

The Silverstone Classic is the largest historic motoring festival on the planet………..every aspect of the car is covered somewhere in Silverstone’s flat fields. Motor racing, car clubs, automobilia, anniversaries, music, food, and, most importantly, people are the elements that combine to make the Classic a celebration of one of the most liberating elements of 20th Century life.

If there has been one issue that I have had with this festival in recent years it is the annual clash with the Spa 24 Hours. For 2018 they are on consecutive weekends, so I get to go to both ‘must-dos’. Woo Hoo!

There will be a new attraction in this year’s line up with Group C making way for its younger sibling Masters Endurance Legends featuring sportscars and GTs from the 1995 to 2012 period. The theme for this race will be a salute to the Daytona 24 Hours, with special appearances from former participants.

The Silverstone Classic is one of the great motoring events on the calendar so pop along if you can, there will be something to for you to treasure. Details can be found HERE

In the meantime I can recommend viewing Simon Hildrew’s excellent gallery from the 2017 event………..I anticipate more magic from him this year.

John Brooks May 2018

Travel the Breadth of Extremities

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2016 SH General

The shift from mid to late summer is marked by the latest edition of the Silverstone Classic which bills itself as “The world’s biggest classic motor racing festival”. With over 10,000 classics on track and on display who could argue with that claim, certainly not the 100,000 who made their way through the turnstiles over the three days.

2016 SH General

While there is something to savour at almost any angle around the huge Silverstone arena there were a few favourites worthy of highlighting. 40 years have passed since that golden summer of 1976, those of us around at the time will not forget the epic battle between James Hunt and Niki Lauda. Whether the same will hold true for those recalling Hamilton and Rosberg in 2056 is, to my mind, doubtful.

2016 SH General

The Group C race is always eagerly anticipated and did not disappoint as the sun set.

2016 SH General

There were some modern classics on hand, such as this Dallara SP1 decked out in the 2002 livery.

2016 SH General

The clubs were properly represented as usual, with Lancia Stratos still looking dramatic, 70’s design at its finest.

2016 SH General

Lamborghinis were also prominent on the Muira’s anniversary.

2016 SH General

And there was the inevitable Stag Do

2016 SH General

The Silverstone Classic has something that will appeal to any petrol head, be it F1, Saloons, GTs, even drag racing and there’s always the static stuff as well. Roll on 2017.

DDC is fortunate to enjoy the work of Simon Hildrew and, now, so are you.

John Brooks, October 2016

The Classic Style

Silverstone Classic 2014 Picture by: Simon Hildrew www.simonhildrew.com

The Silverstone Classic is the World’s Biggest Classic Motor Racing Festival, a simple fact.

Silverstone Classic 2014 Picture by: Simon Hildrew www.simonhildrew.com

This year’s edition, the 24th, attracted 94,000 spectators who were treated to a full menu of delights on and off the track.

Silverstone Classic 2014 Picture by: Simon Hildrew www.simonhildrew.com

The car clubs were on hand, en masse, adding to the occasion.

Silverstone Classic 2014 Picture by: Simon Hildrew www.simonhildrew.com

Retail therapy was readily available….

Silverstone Classic 2014 Picture by: Simon Hildrew www.simonhildrew.com

Stars old and new joined in.

Silverstone Classic 2014 Picture by: Simon Hildrew www.simonhildrew.com

And there was racing on track with some old favourites like this Ferrari 512S

Silverstone Classic 2014 Picture by: Simon Hildrew www.simonhildrew.com

Group C was, as ever, a highlight even in this fantastic company.

Silverstone Classic 2014 Picture by: Simon Hildrew www.simonhildrew.com

Touring cars in their old battle field – modern

Silverstone Classic 2014 Picture by: Simon Hildrew www.simonhildrew.com

And classic

Silverstone Classic 2014 Picture by: Simon Hildrew www.simonhildrew.com

All in all the Silverstone Classic is a great celebration of automotive culture. If there one catch, it would be that it clashes with the Spa 24 Hours, so tough choices have to be made.

DDC is extremely lucky to have the services of top photographer, Simon Hildrew, and his work available to us. Enjoy his personal view of the this great event.

John Brooks, November 2014

 

 

Classical Gas

Silverstone Classic

Is biggest necessarily best?


The organisers of this year’s Silverstone Classic were proudly boasting that theirs was the biggest race meeting ever. With nigh on 1,000 contestants and 800 cars taking part they were probably right. Add to that something like 7,000 classic cars on site, almost 1,000 of which were E-Type Jaguars. But can you have too much of a good thing?

Some 80,000 fans descended upon the circuit, contributing to huge traffic jams building-up on the A43, entry into the circuit being slow as all those classics needed to be directed to their allotted parking area in what was a very crowded site. Not all of them made it that far even, as reports were coming in on Saturday of up to 100 E-Types having suffered overheating and other breakdowns en route.

Having made it into the circuit there was a lot to see and do. The competitors were split between two paddock areas, the impressive new Silverstone ‘Wing’ acting as home to many whilst others were based in the old paddock at the opposite end of the circuit. That was something of a logistical nightmare for teams with cars based in both paddocks, especially as the only means of getting from one to the other was via Routemaster ‘bus – nothing wrong with that, the buses were run very efficiently but with the sheer number of people, queues and delays inevitably built up and some very unfriendly security operatives would not allow you to walk between the two areas.

Well, with the gripes out of the way, how was the racing? Pretty good actually, with some close and exciting action, most classes getting two races each. The revised circuit was new to many so that was just as well, as even seasoned hands such as former BTCC Champion John Cleland were having to find their way around. Cleland was driving in the Jaguar E-Type Celebration race and got taken by surprise as he turned into the new-look Abbey for the first time – “where did tha-at come from? said the ever quotable Scot afterwards. Didn’t stop him from winning his class for near standard cars though. Jon Minshaw’s well-developed car (even been in a wind tunnel, allegedly) was the outright winner of both races. Such is the value of genuine original E-Type’s that many of the modified cars in this anniversary series of races have been specially built; they’ve still cost their owners six-figure sums however…

Group C got star billing with the first of their races being run as an ‘into the twilight’ affair on Saturday evening. Both Alex Buncombe (Jaguar XJR9) and Katsu Kubota (Nissan R90C) got the jump on Gareth Evans’ Mercedes C11 on the run down to the first corner and set off on a race-long battle over 15 laps. After swapping places several times Kubota led at the most important moment as they crossed the line, Buncombe having briefly been delayed by a backmarker whilst the Merc recovered to finish third.

If Saturday’s race was fast and furious Sunday’s affair was even more so. With Bob Berridge now in the Mercedes and Japanese F3 racer Hideki Yamauchi on board the Nissan the wick was really turned up  –  and remember these cars are now unfettered by the period fuel limitations – and again we were treated to a see-saw race as they swapped places but this time it was the turn of the Nissan to fall foul of lapped cars late in the race, handing the win to Berridge, such was the pace that they completed one more lap in the available time than had been managed the night before. Even so, a remarkable drive by Andy Meyrick saw his C2 Spice take the final podium spot.

Meyrick showed his versatility by taking both Grand Prix Masters counters too in his March 761. It was another version of the 761, built locally in Bicester that was grabbing much of the attention however. Jeremy Smith was giving the six-wheel March 2-4-0 its first ever race. Originally conceived for the 1977 season, it never actually raced in period although it was subsequently hill-climbed.  Unlike the Tyrrell P34, the March featured an extra pair of wheels at the back with smaller tyres than normal, thus reducing the drag. However, March was strapped for cash at the time and was unable to afford the sufficiently robust transmission casing needed to carry drive to the rearward wheels. The affair they did create actually twisted and damaged the internals on a short press demo run, so it was quietly put away. However, according to Mike Lawrence in his excellent history of March it turned out eventually to be their most profitable F1 car as they sold the rights to Scalextric!

Other excitement at Silverstone was provided by such varied machinery as Formula Junior, Under Two Litre Touring Cars (U2TC) and the RAC TT for Pre ’63 GT cars. In the latter Stuart Graham and Richard Attwood stole a lucky win on the very last lap in their Aston Martin DB4 when the leading Ferrari 250 GT crewed by Hans Hugenholtz and David Hart expired. U2TC went to the Leo Voyazides/Simon Hadfield Lotus Cortina after a nail-biting battle with the similar car of Howard Redhouse/Mike Jordan and the Jackie Oliver/Richard Shaw BMW. In shades of days of old we even had a TWO-wheeling Cortina at one point!  Often overlooked, the FJ tiddlers were thrilling with race wins going to Sam Wilson and Jon Milicevic, both Cooper T59-mounted.

Of course there was so much more to see with small sports cars and big saloons (where do all those V8 Fords come from?). Not all the Mustangs were on the ground either, for one took part in an air display together with a Spitfire. Amongst all the other anniversaries being marked this year, mustn’t forget that RJ Mitchell’s truly iconic design is 75.

Despite our opening comments, Nick Wigley and his team are to be congratulated for pulling together such a massive event but just sometimes less is more.

John Elwin, August 2011

 

 

Classic Group C

To those of a certain age, the Group C era of endurance racing was arguably the pinnacle. That is not to say that today’s battles between Audi and Peugeot are any less compelling, but perhaps time adds a lustre to the competition of the 80’s.

We are fortunate that the cars themselves are still around, even if those who drove them at the time, have, for the most part, left the stage.

The weekend just past saw the huge motorsports extravaganza, The Silverstone Classic, take place. We will get an expert eye’s view on the event in due course but in the meantime I will bring you a gallery of the Group C entry.

John Brooks, July 2011

Images courtesy of the Silverstone Classic.