This weekend is set to witness the world’s biggest classic motor racing festival – The Silverstone Classic (20-22 July).
A packed and massive three-day programme of events will feature in this unrivalled high octane motor sport festival, featuring the full spectrum of glorious motor sport history from much-loved bygone eras, the colossal 21-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.
Huge 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 magical Silverstone Classic than unprecedented numbers of peerless retro racing and revered road cars from yesteryear. The three-day blockbuster includes music concerts from headline acts, supercars, dramatic demos, test drives and driving lessons, rides on the JET Big Wheel, crazy golf, air displays, a shopping village, an adrenaline zone, traditional funfair rides, static displays, street car shootouts, Spitfire engine fire-ups, racing simulators, a pit stop challenge and even football skills sessions to keep all ages fully entertained. No wonder the ‘one day is not enough’ feedback is frequently heard.
What’s more, the majority of 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 hugely popular ‘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 midnight on Thursday, 19 July. Adult admission starts at £45 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 silverstoneclassic.com and via the event’s social media platforms.
With such a packed programme both on and off the world famous Grand Prix track, the Classic never fails to deliver. Picking a few ‘must-see’ highlights is always highly challenging but here are our Top Ten not-to-be-missed attractions at the 2018 Silverstone Classic.
Unrivalled Track Action
As the world’s biggest classic motor racing festival, the Silverstone Classic features more stunning track action than you’ll experience anywhere on Earth over one weekend. The packed 21-race programme includes all the finest championships including the FIA Masters Historic Formula One Race Series, Yokohama Trophy for FIA Masters Historic Sportscars, the Royal Automobile Club Woodcote Trophy, Stirling Moss Trophy and JET Super Touring Car Trophy. This year’s schedule also celebrates 60 years of Formula Junior with an incredible record turn-out of front- and rear-engined mini-F1 cars and also sees the debut of an exciting new Masters Endurance Legends grid. This introduces an awesome array of superfast prototypes and GTs that competed in major endurance races as recently as 2012. Providing some star quality, Olympic legend and self-confessed petrol-head Sir Chris Hoy is racing one of them.
The opening Masters Endurance Legends encounter is one of three spectacular sportscar showdowns revving up on Saturday evening under the evocative ‘Daytona at Dusk’ banner – thus honouring America’s most famous 24-hour endurance race which takes place annually in Florida.
70th Anniversary of Silverstone’s First Grand Prix
This year’s Classic has particular significance as Silverstone is celebrating its 70th anniversary. It was in 1948 that the former RAF airbase hosted its inaugural event: the RAC International Grand Prix, the country’s first major motor race post WW2.
The factory-entered Maseratis of Luigi Villoresi and Alberto Ascari dominated on a circuit that was somewhat different from today’s state-of-the-art facility. It followed old runways and perimeter roads and was marked out with oil drums and straw bales. At certain points drivers actually hurtled towards each other from opposite ends of the same runway!
Commemorating that first event, this weekend’s Silverstone Classic will present a special display of 1948 and period Grand Prix cars including one of those race winning factory-entered Maseratis, plus an on-track parade. Adding to the celebrations, more than 100 great GP cars from past eras will be in action throughout the weekend, the majority of them racing in either the pair of Adrian Flux Trophy races for Pre ’66 Grand Prix Cars (HGPCA) or the two FIA Masters Historic Formula One (1966-1985) showdowns.
BTCC’s 60th Birthday Bash on Tin Top Sunday
One of the country’s most popular and enduring race series – the MSA British Touring Car Championship – is marking its 60th birthday with a star-studded official celebration at the Silverstone Classic.
A special race programme on Tin Top Sunday (22 July) features four incredible touring car grids, spanning cars from the late 1950s right up to 2005 with more than 150 icons that have either raced in the BTCC or represent models that have. Look out for the Gallet Trophy for Under 2-litre Touring Cars (pre ’66), Transatlantic Trophy for Pre ’66 Touring Cars, Historic Touring Car Challenge (’66-’90), and JET Super Touring Car Trophy (’70-2006).
What’s more, the JET Super Touring grid includes three BTCC champions: John Cleland racing his period Vectra, Rickard Rydell reunited with his 1998 title winning Volvo S40 and reigning champion Ash Sutton making his Silverstone Classic debut in a Honda Accord.
Furthering the celebrations John Fitzpatrick, the 1966 BTCC champion, and Jason Plato, who holds the series’ race victory record with 98 victories, will front a sparkling Diamond Jubilee BTCC Anniversary Parade on Tin Top Sunday. The birthday cavalcade will include 60 standout saloon and touring cars from past and present eras including last year’s title winning Adrian Flux-sponsored Subaru Levorg and an Austin Westminster as raced by the late Jack Sears to the inaugural crown in 1958.
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. In excess of 100 clubs will be displaying more than 10,000 privately-owned – and cherished – classic cars, all proudly exhibited 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 70th anniversaries of the Aston Martin DB1, Jaguar XK120 and the very first Porsche (356), 60 years of Ginetta and the Lotus 15 and 50 years of British Leyland, BMW 2002, Morgan Plus 8, Ferrari Daytona and Lamborghini Espada. The Royal Air Force Mini Club will also be celebrating the centenary of the RAF.
Sensational Streetcar Shootouts and Stunt Shows
Tyre-burning Streetcar Shootouts have become a firm favourite at the Classic and this year will be joined on the wheel-spinning drag strip – located on an old section of track close to the main entrance – by equally outrageous stunt displays performed by Terry Grant.
With more than 20,000 of horsepower in action, the line-up for this year’s Streetcar Shootouts is bigger and better than ever before. Visitors are promised sensory overload!
Globally renowned stunt driver and multiple world record holder Grant will also be wowing the crowds on the drag strip. This will be his first appearance at the Classic and his donuts and array of other amazing antics are certain to add further 3D excitement to the Streetcar Shootout zone.
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 also provides the growing numbers attending the entire festival weekend with some great entertainment on Friday and Saturday evenings – even more so as admission to the live music concerts is totally free for all ticket holders.
Grammy award-winning Soul II Soul are topping the Friday night bill, with fabulous tribute bands U2 2 and Noasis getting everyone in the right party mood. Then, on Saturday evening, British reggae and pop legends UB40 featuring Ali, Astro and Mickey will take to the stage. With more than 50 chart entries and 70+ million worldwide sales, they need little introduction.
Treat the Whole Family to Fun on the JET Village Green
As well as being a petrol-head’s paradise, the no-holds-barred Classic is a nirvana for all those seeking a great day (or, better still, weekend) out for all the family. Ensuring there really is something for all ages, the JET Village Green not only is the perfect place to enjoy food and refreshments but also serves up a spectacular medley of fun-fuelled entertainment and activities.
There are rides on the JET Big Wheel giving panoramic views of the circuit, traditional funfair rides, an F1 Pitstop Challenge, crazy golf and virtual reality simulators. For those inspired by England’s showing in the FIFA World Cup, this year’s Silverstone Classic even boasts a Yokohama Chelsea Skills Zone offering free coaching for kids aged 5-16 throughout the weekend. All for FREE.
If all that wasn’t enough, charismatic TV personality and renowned motoring mastermind, Mike Brewer, returns with his hugely-popular Car Clinics, this year presented by Haynes Publishing.
In the breaks between racing over the weekend, ‘Wheeler Dealer’ Mike will be casting his expert eye over a great line-up of selected classic cars, sharing hints and tips on a number of restoration projects from dusty barn finds to stunningly renovated automotive icons. This year’s line-up includes the famous number 54 ‘Frogeye’ Sprite that won its class on debut at the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1959, a beautifully restored Porsche 356 and for movie buffs a non-time travelling DeLorean DMC-12.
Catch the New Supercar Legends Display, Presented by Yokohama
Up to 30 supercars will be on display in the International Paddock over the weekend of the Classic with the amazing line-up set to include the Koenigsegg Agera and CCX, the Pagani Huayra and Zonda, the TVR Griffith, Ford’s latest high-tech GT, the much-loved Honda NSX, Lexus’ latest LC500 rubbing shoulders with the LF-As and the Aston Martin DB4 GT continuation and DBS Superleggera, among many others. These cars will bring a classic modern day dimension to next weekend’s festival.
Get Behind the Wheel with Drive Live
As a result of feedback following last year’s event, the Classic has teamed-up with Lexus to offer the free opportunity to experience their Lexus Self Charging Hybrid range first-hand on a 30 minute test drive on the open roads around the circuit in the beautiful Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire countryside.
Not only that, but for the youngsters in the family, there is also the chance to get behind the wheel of a car, too. Children aged 10+ can get behind the wheel of a dual-controlled Vauxhall Astra courtesy of Young Driver in the Drive Live zone. 10min taster sessions will be available at just £5.
Race and Classic Cars Under the Hammer
For those either looking to join the thriving classic car movement or to enhance their own collections, Silverstone Auctions is hosting its biggest ever sale at the Classic. The three-day auction sees an astonishing collection of 149 road and racing cars going under the hammer on top of some highly collectable items of automobilia.
Headlining the road car sale is a stylish and very rare 1958 Mercedes 300SL Roadster, one of only 1,858 ever built – it is expected to sell for close to £800,000. Other interesting lots include a 1975 Range Rover Classic once owned by the Royal Family, an exquisite right-hand-drive 1972 Ferrari Dino, a 1993 Porsche 911 Turbo 3.6s from the Sultan of Brunei’s stable and 2014 Bentley Continental GT Speed from the private collection of Sir Elton John CBE.
There are some prized racing cars coming under the hammer, too. On pole position is a Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworth in coveted Kaliber livery from the BTCC in the late eighties and a 1962 Jaguar E-type Series 1 – both, of course, are cars that could be raced at the Classic!
To ensure you don’t miss out on these ten fabulous attractions, and all the other hundreds of amazing things to do and see, order your tickets now at www.silverstoneclassic.com.
All admission tickets must be purchased in advance and are available until midnight on Thursday 19 July. A limited number of hospitality and camping options are also available.