Silverstone Classic is known as one of the highlights of the racing calendar and with good reason, it is a fantastic event! It encapsulates not only a mammoth list of extensive racing throughout the three days with 22 races featuring iconic cars from over 8 decades but also the myriad of car clubs from vintage to super cars in attendance and so much more to tingle your taste buds and excite all your senses.
From the moment you enter the car park, the car spotting begins, as Press, we were fortunate enough to be able to park in the VIP section so came across Lotuses, Porsches and Ferraris as soon as we stepped out of the car. Wearing either a media wrist band or a VIP lanyard enabled you to get around the extensive complex using the selection of cars and drivers laid on by Silverstone, from Audis to BMW and even vintage buses. However if you are not so fortunate, there were double decker buses which drove around the entire location. You could, of course, walk but with so much to see and do you don’t want to miss anything.
Arriving at the wing you are greeted by a massive tv screen to watch the racing on if you so choose, these are dotted all around the site so wherever you are you can catch a glimpse of the racing. Walk further in towards the paddocks and your eyes were amazed by the array of 42 pristine Jaguar XJ220’s, the largest collection in one place ever of this impressive motor. The XJ220’s came from all over the world, the furthest having travelled from Japan. As you would expect, Don Law Racing from Staffordshire was prominent with Blue 22 and the Martini liveried XJ220 on display, the family run business having taken over from Jaguar Sport to assume global responsibility for these remarkable motors. Also with the XJ220 contingent as they took to the track to display their automotive excellence was a white G reg, long wheelbase, high top Ford transit with orange beacons on the top, as spectators watched the display they wondered why this unassuming van had made it into such illustrious company, maybe the twin exhaust should have given it away before the commentator let us know that the van had an XJ220 engine, the van being Don Law’s personal project. This display was of course in celebration of the Silver Jubilee anniversary, 25 years since their release.
The paddocks themselves are a massive draw as where else can you get so up close and personal with the cars and their teams? You can meander around the Jaguar E-types, the historic Formula One cars, the classic Aston Martins…whatever takes your fancy, you can watch as they are having last minute adjustments done and chat to the drivers as they prepare to go out and burn rubber on the hallowed tarmac.
The race card reads like a who’s who of classic racing…not the drivers, the cars! From Le Man 24 hour winning vintage Astons to Group C track cars and everything in between. And it’s not just the trained racing drivers who get to take to the track during Silverstone Classic, there are the Celebrities racing Austin A35’s, the owner drivers doing track displays and even the drivers of the VIP transport service AMT Solutions were allowed to boot it on the track Sunday morning.
Everyone has their own personal highlights from the racing, whether they have a preferred era, a favourite marquee or a race driver they follow. Some prefer the more sedate vintage motors, others are enamoured by the super speed and thundering noise of the historic Formula One race cars. When the Formula One cars are on the track you know about it, anywhere you are on the site you can hear the howling screech of the wheels and the roaring engines as they hammer it around the track. You don’t just hear the noise, you feel it, it reverberates throughout your body, bouncing from organ to organ like an intensely blustering pinball machine. This is not a race for the faint hearted, the historic Grand Prix boys boot it around the track and really put on a spectacle. Another race that piques all your senses is the Class C race cars, with smoke billowing across the track and the smell of petrol and rubber tickling your nostrils, it’s a kinetic party.
Across the site, you found new exciting visuals and experiences for all the family. The Jet green offered a smorgasbord of food trucks from nachos and Mac & cheese to duck wraps and jacket potatoes. Also on the green, there was crazy golf, a big wheel and vintage fairground rides for the children while the on site bar, the ‘Scarf and Goggles’ served Silverstone Ale to the adults. The shopping village had rows upon rows of stalls selling everything from Artisan watches to lamps made from car headlights. Across from the big wheel, Mike Brewer of Wheeler Dealers fame held his Car Clinic and the restoration team worked their magic using parts only sourced on eBay.
Silverstone Classic has long been considered one of the biggest and best motoring events in the calendar and this year was no exception. The 100,000 plus crowd were wowed and awed at every turn and straight. The car clubs gleamed in the soft sunlight and although the Great British weather showered down on us by the Saturday evening it certainly didn’t dampen the jovial festival feel. This is still the Classic car event not to miss.