A couple of weeks ago I visited Silverstone for the launch of this years Silverstone Classic which will be run on the weekend of the 26th to 28th July.
Standing just inside the gates to the Silverstone Wing were several cars to be auctioned at this years Classic by Silverstone Auctions, top billing goes to a 1965 Aston Martin DB5 which is due to go under the hammer with no reserve, perhaps slightly more affordable is 1956 Jaguar XK140 Fixedhead Coupé SE which during the 1970’s was acquired by the Reverend John Fellingham and raced with many successes. Known as the Vicars car it was subsequently prepared for, but not used in, the 1999 rerun of the Carrera Panemerica, the top end estimate for the vehicle is £65,000.
The 23rd Silverstone classic will be run almost 50 years to the day of a well remembered British Grand Prix support race for Formula Junior cars which featured a 25 lap battle between the King of Formula Junior Peter Arundell driving a Lotus 27 similar to Alan Baillie’s example above and the Brabham BT6 driven by New Zealander Denis Hulme. Eight original Formula Junior cars that took part in the 1963 race are entered for this years Silverstone Classic Event, including Peter Arundell’s winning car driven by Micheal Hibberd, which is sure to be as hotly contested as the one run 50 years ago.
During the Press Day proceedings David Coultard was trying out Jim Clark’s Lotus 25 Grand Prix car, chassis R4 in which Jimmy won won seven victories on his way to his first world drivers championship in 1963, for the television camera’s to mark the 50th Anniversary of Jim Clarks first World Drivers Championship. It was great to see several of Jimmy’s Lotus mechanics in attendance including Cedric Selzer and Bob Dance. I saw a wheel chair bound Bob a couple of days earlier giving a talk to members of The Nostalgia Forum so was most surprised and pleased to see him leaping about, with seat belts and what not, while installing David Coultard into the car, recovered from sciatica.
There will be three mass demonstrations of vehicles over the Silverstone Classic weekend including it is hoped a lap of the Silverstone circuit by 911 Porsche 911’s to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Porsche 911, further demonstrations will mark the 100th anniversary of Aston Martin and the 60th anniversary of the Chevrolet Corvette.
For my money the most remarkable car at the Silverstone Classic press day was this Rover 3500S, or at least that is what it resembles. The car was built at the behest of none other than the Chairman of British Leyland Lord Stokes who wanted a car that could take overall victories from the Ford Mustangs and Chevrolet Camaro’s that were ruling the roost in British saloon car racing.
With a top speed of 170 mph the 360 hp 4.3 litre / 262 cui Traco Oldsmobile powered car seen here was entered into the 1970 86 hour Marathon de la Route run over three and a half days at the Nurburgring. Roy Pierepoint, Roger Enever and Clive Baker comfortably led for 16 hours until a propshaft vibration brought about the Rovers demise while leading a fleet of works Porsche 914/6’s by over 3 laps / 51 miles.
The Rover is scheduled to take part in the Super Car Touring Trophy, a one off race run at the Silverstone Classic last year which has become a series this year, with owner Ian Giles at the wheel.
Two races will be run for the Historic Formula Ford Series, another personal favorite series, for the first time at the Silverstone Classic. Above Paul Summerville driving a 1971 Ginetta 18B will be competing against Tiff Needell in his Lotus 69.
Tiff Needell’s former IBEC Le Mans team mate and former British Formula One Champion Tony Trimmer, seen above in a March Formula 5000 car powered by a Ford GA V6 motor, is scheduled to be driving in the combined Formula 2 and Formula 5000 races.
The Grand Prix Masters Formula One races are scheduled to include Simon Fish driving the Ensign MN180, another car with a Tiff Needell link his one and only Grand Prix start was driving a similar car in the 1980 Belgian Grand Prix qualifying 23rd but retiring after 12 laps with engine failure.
In all 24 races are scheduled for the Silverstone Classic powered by AA which will include plenty of fun for the whole family. BMW are sponsoring a big wheel from which the whole Silverstone site should be clearly visible. For campers there will be live music provided by The Hollies who have recently reformed along with Stars from the Commitments, while tribute bands Floyd Reloaded, Boot Led Zeppelin, The Guns and Roses Experience and the Ultimate Eagles will be catering for those with heavier tastes.
As Tiff Needell said “It will be like reliving my youth”, I can’t wait.
Entry for Silverstone Classic is by advance ticket only, which are available from the ticket page on this link, if you are an AA member to look out for the 10% discount.
Thanks for joining me on this ‘Five Star Day Dream’ edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow for the next installment of this years potted history of the Indy 500. Don’t forget to come back now !