It was way back in 1990 that the founders of the first annual Historic Festival at Silverstone attracted 20,000 attendees, a handful of car clubs and just over 400 racing entries for an inaugural event to celebrate the best of historic motor racing.
Twenty-five years later and the Silverstone Classic as it is now known has firmly established itself as the world’s biggest classic motor racing festival. This year, celebrating its silver anniversary the Silverstone Classic showcased 1,000 entries over 20 races with over 120 car club displays gracing the infield. Despite the wet weather on the first and last days Silverstone Classic yet again managed to break all attendance records by attracting over 100,000 people through the gates of the legendary Northamptonshire circuit.
But it was not just the event management that had something to celebrate. Hamilton Classic took along the rally car and a selection of new products to share with the record breaking crowd of over 100,000 revival motorsport fans.
One of those new products included our new range of custom printed spotlight covers, ideal for all rally and competition cars, modelled here by our TR7V8 but can include any manufacturer logo of your choice.
The event for any club begins on Thursday afternoon with the unloading of vans, laying out the pitch and taking in the sights of the hundreds of classic, vintage and exotic cars parking up within the various displays. With dawn on Friday came the rain, which set in for the day and the following night. Saturday was a dry and sunny day with a balmy evening to follow and for those racing, a chance to get in proper lap times!
There was much drama as the weather took its toll. A seven car pile up on the start / finish straight during Sunday morning added a sour note to the Peter Arundell Trophy for Historic Formula Junior. Similar drama’s occurred throughout the races that experienced wet weather including the second round of the Super Touring Car trophy for historic British Touring Car Championship racers where controversy surrounded the entry of a 4 wheel drive, space framed, 400BHP Audi Quattro that seemed to outmatch the rest of the field on technology and power capabilities. The Kidston Trophy saw some hugely spirited driving from the pre-war sports cars with 3 litre Bentleys racing alongside dinky looking Austin Sevens and everything else in-between.
One of the highlights was the race for Group C Le Mans prototypes. The race went on into sunset on Saturday evening for that authentic Le Mans atmosphere with Lancia, Nissan, Spice and Lola’s all setting a blistering pace into the fading daylight. The race was convincingly won by the flame spitting Jaguar XJR14 in period “Silk Cut” purple livery and driven by Richard Eyre and C. D’Ansembourg. To give a comparison on speeds, D’Ansembourg in the Group C Jaguar XJR14 clocked an incredible average speed of 116.08mph and a fastest lap of 1:52:857 – times not a million miles off the LMP2 Le Mans cars of today! They were an impressive sight and with a grid of these iconic 80s prototype cars confirmed for Le Mans Classic in 2016, they are finally enjoying the historic status they truly deserve.
Aside from racing there is always much to entertain at Silverstone Classic and this year a band as legendary as the cars on track took to the music stage for the headline gig on Saturday night. Status Quo attracted a crowd thousands strong who partied into the night to the sounds of their nostalgic rock hits.
Sunday saw a return of the heavy rain, however despite the atrocious conditions and the fact that most of the traders and clubs had abandoned site by lunchtime the organisers pressed ahead and all of the intended races were run, albeit some way behind schedule.
It may have turned out to be a bit of a wet weekend but the excitement of the 25th annual Silverstone Classic was every bit as hot as the engines of the cars on track. With something to entertain everyone in the family alongside some hard fought ‘proper’ historic motor racing, Silverstone Classic is an event that just keeps on getting bigger for both the car clubs and classic car industry alike – and its most certainly an event not to be missed in 2016.