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How Many Historic Racers Does It Take to Fill Silverstone Circuit?

Submitted by on May 16, 2013

Team Lotus

Images: Graham Dalley

Marking the 50th anniversary of Jim Clark’s first world drivers’ title, the 2013 Silverstone Classic is set to break the event’s current record of 1104 historic sports and racing car entries in an absolute smorgasbord of historic motorsport.

Wednesday the 8th of May 2013 at the impressive Silverstone Wing complex, the curtain was raised on what is set to be the biggest and best ever Silverstone Classic. Event Director and competitor Nick Wegley opened proceedings with a presentation of what this year’s record breaking event is going to offer. What a mouth watering prospect this year’s Classic is promising to be.

Ian Simmonds

Over the course of the weekend of the 26th, 27th and 28th of July 2013, the Silverstone circuit will play host to 24 races featuring the finest selection of historic competition cars. All the signs point to the entry list breaking the current record set at the 2011 Classic of 1104 cars. We can look forward to huge grids of cars representing almost every formulae of motorsport.

The Historic Grand Prix Cars Association (HGPCA) will field lavish grids full of both the pre 1961 front engined pioneers and the pre 1966 rear engined cars, While the FIA Masters Historic Formula One Championship will field 3 litre cars which competed from 1966 to 1985, all running in period livery. This offers spectators the chance to see how over a 70 year period, Formula One cars developed. All three grids will race twice on the Saturday and Sunday.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Jim Clark’s first world drivers title, in a fitting tribute, the two HGPCA pre 1966 races for rear engined cars, which will feature several of Jimmy’s old cars have been re-named The Jim Clark Trophy races. One of the highlights of the media day was the presence of former Williams, McLaren and Red Bull Racing driver David Coulthard. DC was actually at Silverstone with the BBC filming a feature to be aired in the build up to the British Grand Prix later this year. In the filming of the piece he fulfilled a life-long ambition by driving Jimmy’s ’63 Championship winning Lotus 25, clearly enjoying the experience David waxed lyrical about it “To drive the Championship winning Lotus was a real honour, Jim Clark is a true racing legend and a hero of mine. I have driven many cars but I feel even more nostalgic about driving this one which was the one he the first of his two World Championships. The car is immaculately prepared and even some of his mechanics are here – it’s a great story but also a great shame that Jimmy can’t be here to see it

Tims Old Motors

New for this year the Super Touring Trophy, which will feature the fire breathing Group A cars from the mid 1980’s, as well as, what to my mind was the best period of the BTCC, the 90’s super touring cars, at its height the championship boasted nine manufacturers and attracted the world’s best tin top pedallers, three of which were present in the shape of 1992 Champion Tim Harvey, 1995 Champion John Cleland and former Peugeot ace Patrick Watts. The trio are going to compete with their old cars and are hoping to attract other former drivers from the period to relive some of the titanic battles which we enjoyed back in the day.

A personal highlight, one of many to be fair, was the chance to do a couple of laps of the Grand Prix circuit as a passenger. Last year Rick Parfitt Jr entertained me with a very sideways Morgan, this year I was privileged to be strapped into a full on Group A Sierra RS500 touring car. My driver was racer and entrepreneur Craig Davies the owner of said machine. The car is the Ex Chris Hodgetts Brooklyn Motorsport RS500 which was campaigned during the 1989 season. The car was stored for over twenty years before Craig brought it. As a result it is a very original bit of kit, essentially as it was when Hodgetts last drove it, with just a nod to modern safety standards and an engine ‘freshen up’ by X Sports Racing engine genius Tommy Field. Craig clearly wasn’t holding back, as we left the pits he was on it immediately flinging the car into the new loop and out on to the Wellington straight. The car’s acceleration is stellar as are the brakes, we undertook another car at brooklands corner as the car drifted out to the curb before effortlessly changing direction for Luffield and on through Woodcote past the old F1 pits, braking hard for copse we over took another couple of cars, then through the complex at Maggots, Becketts and Chapel, clipping the curbs at every turn and overtaking yet another car, then on to the Hanger straight and the car was planted as was Craig’s right foot! Stowe was on us in the blink of an eye along with another rapid deceleration and dropping through the box. The Vale was just a quick squirt before the awesome club corner and past the Wing, barely lifting for Village and Priory and back onto the loop and another lap. As we sped past several other cars it seemed that in the snap of a finger we were charging down the hanger straight again with the Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Superleggera Editzione Technica in our sights. However it wasn’t to be, as we braked for Stowe alongside the Lambo, Chris backed off tapping to the temperature gauge, the needle was way over to the right and the car had gone into ‘safe’ mode as a result, so no boost. We trundled up the pit lane straight into the garage, where Craig said to me “we could have had that lambo easy, maybe next time!”. Craig thank you mate, for two laps of Silverstone I’ll never forget.

While on the subject of tin tops the Under 2 Litre Touring Cars race has a very special guest driver competing this year.  2004 European and 2005, 06 and 07 World Touring Car Champion, Andy Priaulx will drive a BMW 1800. Andy said, “I’m really excited about the event – I’m running in a great little BMW 1800 which has been beautifully prepared, so I’m really looking forward to it”.

World Touring Car Champion Andy Priaulx

Finishing off another trio of races another new race the Trans-Atlantic Trophy, a homage to the late 1960’s when British saloon car racing was dominated by American V8 muscle cars, expect to see a grid full of Mustang’s, Galaxies  as well as the smaller British racers that took on the American invaders.

One of the biggest hits of the Classic is the Saturday evening Group C race, the fearsome prototypes racing as the sun sets providing a sensational spectacle with head lights blazing. In addition to this and new for this year is the Piper Heidsieck Trophy for Pre 1966 GT cars. A 58 car grid of Jaguar’s Aston Martin’s, Ferrari’s, Cobra’s and many more will also do battle as the sun sets.

Staying with the GT cars The RAC Tourist Trophy for historic GT cars will be another feature race. The Aston Martin marque has won the trophy for the last two years, the Graham/Attwood DB4 in 2011 and Freidrichs/Clark DP212 recreation taking the laurels last year, so can a classic Aston Martin complete a hat-trick for 2013? Also on the GT menu are the Sir Stirling Moss Trophy for pre 1961 cars, the RAC Woodcote Trophy for pre 1966 sports cars, and Historic Sportscar Masters race for Le Mans Style Sports cars up to 1974, all will have full grids of the most beautiful GT and Sports cars, happy days.

Single seaters now and yet another new race for the 2013 Classic is the Historic Sports Car Club pre 1972 Formula Ford 1600 race, expect a tight race with plenty of wheel to wheel action on the famous Grand Prix track. Former F1 driver and TV presenter Tiff Needell will be in the thick of it entering his own Lotus 69, Tiff is a great fan of the Classic and revealed that he is going to be in his element at this year’s Classic “it’s the perfect event for me, I can race and ogle at the stunning cars all day and listen to rock music all night! It’ll be like reliving my youth”. Talking of wheel to wheel action, the Historic Formula Junior Racing Association (HFJRA) races always provide one of the most exciting and close fought races at the Classic Jon Milicevic and Sam Wilson will do battle again in there Cooper T59’s with the likes of Peter Methey and Michael Hibberd who’ll be driving the very Lotus 27 that nearly fifty years ago to the day, Peter Arundell drove to victory in a titanic battle against the Brabham of Denis Hulme in one of the support races for the ’63 British Grand Prix. Returning again is the F2/F5000 races which have provided some great racing in previous years.


‘Rocking and Racing’ is the tag line of the Silverstone Classic, this year the organisers have pulled out all the stops to provide spectators with both in spades, on stage this year, Friday night’s concert features Boot Led Zeppelin, Floyd Rebooted with their amazing light show and the cast of the hit musical ‘The Commitments’ will bring the house down. On Saturday evening, the Ultimate Eagles, The Guns ‘n’ Roses Experience and headlining The Hollies. During Sunday the beautiful Tetra Electra quartet are back with their unique take on classical favourites.

As always Car owners clubs take up almost every spare space on the infield and this year a staggering 79 clubs have signed up with an equally staggering 8000 cars exhibiting everything from Austin’s to Volga GAZ classic cars. In addition to this several marques will take to the track in celebration. The Porsche 911 is 50 years young this year and The Porsche Club UK will have a parade of 911’s of the type including both road, and competition variants of the world’s most useable super car. You may have noticed that Aston Martin is celebrating its 100th birthday this year! To mark this 100 Aston Martins will take to the track and the Aston Martin Owners Club will be displaying some of the most beautiful and iconic automobiles in their spot on the infield. Lamborghini is 50 this year so 100 Lambo’s will hit the track too. Also the BMW Zed fest returns this year with the addition of M powered models joining the fun on track.

Sir John Chisholm

Motor fair will give prestige manufacturers a chance to show off the latest in their ranges as well as heritage models. The shopping Village is even bigger this year so if you want that ‘must have’ accessory or a piece of art, luggage, apparel, a model of your favourite car or bits for your cherished classic you’ll probably find it there. Silverstone Auctions are putting some gorgeous automobiles under the hammer, so if you’re in the market for a classic road or race car, viewing takes place on Friday with the gavel falling on Saturday. BMW are pushing the boat out with their ‘BMW eye’, at 40 meters tall the big wheel will give spectators an unrivalled view of the Silverstone circuit. If that isn’t enough weather permitting, there will be a hot air balloon fly out and air displays from a Spitfire and Hurricane.

The AA are again offering free breakdown assistance to all within a three mile radius of the circuit as well as first drive experience to over 12’s. As always the Silverstone Classic operates an access all areas policy with free entry to both racing paddocks and pits, all the trackside grandstands are also free as are the music concerts.

Finally all tickets must be purchased prior to the event with adult entry starting from just £35 (plus fees) Full details can be found at www.silverstoneclassic.com

See you there!

Graham Dalley 2013

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