Silverstone Classic may not be the first event that pops to mind when you think of a motor racing show and event. But if you’re into classic cars and racing, this is where you want to be.
Set next to the small, charming English village of Silverstone – about half way between London and Birmingham – the entire Silverstone Circuit (also home to the British Grand Prix) is taken over by what can only be described as a car festival.
I set off from London yesterday to check it out, not knowing much of what to expect. Here’s what I found on Day 1:
This is what Silverstone Classic is all about at its core. Today was qualifying; tomorrow is the big shebang.
15 qualifiers today will equate to 24 total races on Saturday and Sunday. Races range from “Stirling Moss Trophy For Pre 1961 Sportscars” to “Sir John Whitmore Trophy for Under 2 Litre Touring cars” to “FIA Masters Historic Formula 1 (1966-1985)” and “Group C Endurance”.
I won’t bore you with the qualifying results here; if you’re that interested, you’ll already know.
Quite a few owner’s clubs are in attendance this year, with owners of TVRs, Aston Martins, Jaguars, Lamborghinis, Morgans, Lotuses, Ferraris, and plenty more proudly displaying their (usually) early-model classics polished up and shining in the sweltering July sun.
Many of the clubs (particularly the fancy-schmancy ones – looking at you Ferrari,) have a special area for their members fully equipped with h’orderves and champagne so the members can sit around feeling superior. Some others BBQ’d and sat around under awnings chit-chatting and having a good laugh. Other clubs were set up by the manufacturer and made sure all their new models were also on display, while some others (TVR and Allard, for example,) aren’t around anymore anyway.
Various Live Shows
To keep things from being monotonous, various smaller shows are held throughout the day such as live motorcycle stunt shows, streetcar shootout, and parachute displays. I watched the impressive motorcycle stunts done by Steve Colley and his partner (some pictures below,) and I’ll check out the Streetcar Shootout tomorrow. Every once in a while I see some people falling from the sky following red smoke, so I kind of saw the parachute display by the Red Devils as well.
There’s a whole area dedicated to family activities like slides and bubble balls and a ferris wheel and R/C racing, ice cream and the like. I pretty much avoided that section entirely, but the point is that it’s a family friendly event.
Just Walking Around
The press area is set up above the paddocks, so just walking around and checking out the cars and teams working on them is a sight in itself. I’ve always found it fascinating watching teams in the garage working on their machines. Some obviously well-funded, some not so much, and it tends to be the little guys that I like seeing at work.
Silverstone Classic has a rock music theme this year. Gibson guitars is a sponsor and has a display where they teach people how to play guitar, and they’re also giving away a few Gibson SGs (one of my personal favorites…I didn’t win today but I’m holding out faith for tomorrow!)
Tonight, although I sadly had to leave before they started playing, were a few bands – Floyd Reloaded, a Pink Floyd tribute, Stars From The Commitments, and Boot Led Zeppelin (really bummed I missed them.) Saturday is The Hollies, The Guns N Roses Experience, and The Ultimate Eagles, while Sunday’s only act is Tetra Electric, another one I’m upset I won’t get to see.
What can we expect on Saturday?
I’ll be getting to Silverstone extra early tomorrow to grab some more pictures, then I’ll be checking out the Silverstone Auction and Streetcar Shootout before lunch.
Then I’ll probably take a nap, before…
Aston Martin will be doing a 100 car parade to celebrate its 100th Anniversary, which I’m confident will be a beautiful and ear-pleasing event.
Lamborghini is celebrating their 50th anniversary by running a parade themselves, which is going to be the biggest ever gathering of Lambos in the UK. That’s going to be good.
Finally, Porsche is celebrating 50 years of the 911 by running a ridiculous 911 911s on the track on Sunday. That’ll definitely be a sight to see.
Keep an eye out here for more live coverage of the 2013 Silverstone Classic.
I’ll be keeping an eye on the race itself while checking out some of the other events going on in the mean time and spotting awesome classic cars and supercars wandering around.
Of course if there’s anything you want to see, let me know and I’ll do my best.
All photos by Chris Burdick