As the premier event on the historic motor racing calendar, the Silverstone Classic is firmly established as the world’s biggest classic motor racing festival, with last year’s record-breaking silver jubilee extravaganza attracting more than 100,000 visitors for the very first time.
Judging by the attendance and fever around Media Day, 2016’s follow-up is gearing up to be even bigger and better, with the Home of British Motor Sport primed to host the ultimate celebration of classic cars.
With the variety of on-track action matched by a plethora of off-track entertainment, the sheer scale of the event is astonishing – and it is continuing to grow year-on-year, as the vast Silverstone estate is given over to a full-on festival of flat-out fun for all the family.
Some 150 of the world’s finest cars took to the Grand Prix track, while static displays in the paddock highlighted many of the car club anniversaries – with lots of models and marques set to celebrate momentous milestones this summer, including the 50th birthday of the iconic Lamborghini Miura and 25 years of the charismatic Nissan Figaro.
Freddie Hunt was one of the undisputed star attractions, as the 2016 Silverstone Classic prepares to mark the 40th anniversary of his father James Hunt’s Formula 1 World Championship crown. Freddie got behind the wheel of his father’s 1976 title-winning McLaren-Ford M23, and was interviewed by commentating legend Murray Walker for a forthcoming feature on Channel 4’s F1 programme. He was joined by Alastair Caldwell – McLaren Team Manager at the time – who regaled a captivated audience with little-known tales from the 1976 campaign.
Other big names to lend their support were actor and renowned car fanatic Philip Glenister and his co-presenter Ant Anstead from TV’s For The Love Of Cars, Nic Hamilton – brother of World Champion Lewis – and former England international footballer Luther Blissett, who is an ambassador for new event charity partner Prostate Cancer UK.
Touring car heroes Steve Soper, Jeff Allam and Patrick Watts were similarly in attendance, and they will all be appearing on-track as part of the inaugural ‘Tin-Top Sunday’ in July.
For the first time at the Silverstone Classic, there will be four separate touring car grids – the JET Super Touring Car Trophy (1990-2000), Historic Touring Car Challenge (1967-1989), Big-Engined Touring Cars (Pre ’66) and Under 2-Litre Touring Cars (Pre ’66) – bringing together more than 200 of the nation’s best-loved cars.mustang wing
In another exciting innovation, in addition to the ever-popular Group C twilight race, FIA Masters Historic Formula One, Legends of Modern Formula One and Stirling Moss Trophy amongst many others, the new Can-Am 50 Interserie Challenge will stage its season finale at the Classic. These extreme machines will provide an awesome soundtrack to the event as they celebrate their 50thanniversary in 2016.
Extending the event’s appeal to two- and three-wheeled fans as well as car connoisseurs, this summer’s Classic will also welcome to the bill World GP Bike Legends – off the back of a successful debut at Jerez in Spain last year – and the Sidecar Salute, with 1987 500cc World Champion Wayne Gardner and ten-time ten FIM Sidecar World Champion Steve Webster both in attendance at Media Day.
In a special feature to commemorate England‘s victory over Germany in the 1966 Football World Cup Final, meanwhile, a car football match with the Classic’s official courtesy car partner SsangYong UK will be held exactly 50 years to the day on Saturday, 30 July.
“Thanks to a tireless effort by the entire organising team, the Silverstone Classic has become a world-class event,” commented Nick Wigley, CEO of organisers, Goose Live Events. “Everybody works all year round to ensure that what we offer remains the biggest and best historic racing you will see anywhere in the world.
“I’m incredibly excited about the addition of the Can-Am celebration this year – the sound will be absolutely immense – as well as the introduction of Tin-Top Sunday. I think deep down, we’ve all got a soft spot for touring cars because they’re the kinds of cars our dads used to drive.
“Not only that, but having always wanted to include some two and three-wheeled action, I’m delighted that we have secured some absolute sporting icons with the World GP Bike Legends and Sidecar Salute.
“The Silverstone Classic has become the unmissable event for all of Britain’s car clubs, and this year there will be some 10,000 beautifully polished classic cars on display for visitors to come and admire over the weekend.
SILVERSTONE CLASSIC APPOINTS PROSTATE CANCER UK
The Silverstone Classic is proud to announce that Prostate Cancer UK has been appointed as its Official Charity Partner for the next three years.
The announcement was made today (Wednesday) at the special Media Preview which launched this summer’s edition of the world’s biggest classic motor racing festival, taking place at Britain’s premier race circuit over the weekend of 29-31 July.
This is the first time the Silverstone Classic has aligned itself with a charity and a number of organisations presented strong submissions to be part of this world class event that attracted more than 100,000 visitors in 2015.
“I would like to thank all of those who put forward applications – it was far from an easy decision to make,” admitted Nick Wigley CEO of event organiser Goose Live Events. “After much deliberation, I must say we are delighted to partner with Prostate Cancer UK. The charity already has close contacts with many of the car clubs involved in the Classic and, more significantly, our visitor profile is very relevant to the vital work the charity undertakes.”
Currently one man an hour dies from prostate cancer in the UK. That’s 10,900 men a year. Based on current trends, if we ignore prostate cancer and do nothing, this number will rise to over 14,500 men a year by 2026. And by 2030 it’s predicted to be the most common cancer overall.
The aim of this new partnership is to raise both awareness of the disease and funds in order to help the charity provide vital support and information to men and their families, and find answers by funding research into causes and treatments.
Nick O’Donohue of Prostate Cancer UK said: “We’re really excited to be teaming up with the Silverstone Classic. This partnership offers the perfect platform to reach large numbers of car loving dads, lads and their families, whether they are revving up in the race paddocks or enjoying the packed infield displays and entertainment zones.”
“Prostate cancer won’t beat itself. It’s a race against time but we believe it can be tamed within ten years, if action is taken now. We need to start talking if we are to stop men dying needlessly. Ignoring prostate cancer won’t beat it – only fighting it will.”
In addition to providing various opportunities for fundraising activities, the Classic will highlight the positive work that Prostate Cancer UK undertakes via the event’s official programme, website, social media platforms and presence at the festival
Source. Silverstone Classic/Photos. SRN