Silverstone Classic 2012: Preview
That’s no mean feat, looking at the figures from last year: consider an attendance of 80,000, over 1,100 race entries and 800 competing cars – not to mention a tagline of ‘the world’s biggest classic motor racing festival’ – and the enormity of the organisers’ task is clear. But with advance ticket sales up 31% over the same period last year, it appears they may just have outdone their previous efforts.
Topping the programme of events, as expected, are the Grand Prix classes, which encompass cars from the early 20s and 30s, right through 1960s ‘cigar tubes’ and culminate in DFV-era machinery. Just as electrifying should be the celebration of the latter’s feeder class, which will see nimble F2 cars dance with American V8-engined F5000s, all in tribute to the late Peter Gethin. The recently-departed Alan Mann is also honoured by a race dedicated to his memory, with the 60s and 70s Under-2-litre Touring Car event bearing the name of a great man synonymous with that era and machinery.
And if that doesn’t prove to be a feast of paint-trading action, then the ‘tin-top’ category surely will. Throwing the cream of 70s through 90s British, German and European Touring Cars together on a capacity grid certainly promises some door-to-door driving action, just as was displayed in period. Special focus will be given to the RS500 ‘whale-tail’ Sierra Cosworth, which will celebrate its 25th birthday this year with a multi-example outing.
We also have 1987 to thank for the Ferrari F40, which also receives the appropriate silver anniversary attention: the anticipated 60-strong gathering of the pivotal supercar should earn the Silverstone Classic another World Record, following on from the one gained by the cavalcade of 767 E-types last year. Other milestone anniversaries to be commemorated this year include golden jubilees for the MGB, Lotus Elan, Triumph Spitfire and AC Cobra – a healthy quota of each contributing towards a total of at least 7,000 classic cars which will congregate in the circuit's infield. Over 120 car clubs will be in attendance, and a ‘Z-Fest’ will see the full throng of BMW Z-cars past and present on display.
Of course, the ever-popular Le Mans, GT, Group C, Jaguar E-type and Sports Car race categories will be run, as will the celebrity race; Sir Patrick Stewart being one of the headline names. Elsewhere, rock concerts, aerial displays, driving experiences and the new ‘AA World’ provide plenty of entertainment for the family – maybe enough for you to justify nipping off to have a mosey around the Silverstone Auctions lots going under the hammer in the impressive Wing complex.
Photos: Silverstone Classic