With record grids, record numbers of car club displays and record ticket sales, this weekend’s sizzling Silverstone Classic (26-28 July) will be the biggest and best yet – quite an accolade for an event already hailed as the largest classic motor racing festival to be found anywhere on the planet.
This year’s action-packed 21 race programme features the broadest spectrum of iconic retro racing cars ever seen at the glittering three-day festival with entries ranging from the legendary Bentleys of the early 1920s right up to Aston Martin, Ferrari and Porsche GTs from the start of this decade – ninety years of glorious motor sport history all in evocative action on the full Silverstone Grand Prix circuit.
For the first time ever, the 2019 Classic racecard includes showdowns for historic Formula 1, Formula 2 and Formula 3 single-seaters from their golden eras as well as a special ‘Twilight Tribute to Le Mans’ at sunset on Saturday – three epic dusk races dedicated to GT and sportscars that have competed in the famous French 24 Hour enduro since its first running way back in 1923.
Adding to the incredible variety, huge grids of a bygone era of touring and saloon cars will also be renewing old rivalries on an outstanding bill which also includes record-breaking double-header races to honour the 60th anniversary of the evergreen Mini. To mark the occasion appropriately, special dispensation has been agreed to start no fewer than 60 mechanically similar competition-prepared original Mini Cooper S icons from pre-1966.
The magical milestone will be acclaimed, too, by an anniversary track parade on Friday led by Mini rallying legend Paddy Hopkirk in his 1964 Monte Carlo Rally winner. Adding to the celebrations a number of car clubs run by Mini enthusiasts will be out in force among the record number of 140 registered clubs, all contributing to this year’s massive event with huge infield displays of privately-owned classic cars.
And there’s so much more for petrolheads to savour… the ever-popular Street Car Shootout has an amazing line-up of more than 70 dramatic drag racers. This year, the UK’s baddest street cars are sharing the rubber-burning Shift & Drift Zone with Slowly Sideways rally demos plus equally spectacular stunt shows by multiple world record holder Terry Grant.
For fans of two-wheeled motor sport, the star-studded World GP Bike Legends return too, with an impressive line-up topped by world champions Wayne Gardner and ‘Fast’ Freddie Spencer as well as TT lap record-holder Peter Hickman.
Other standout highlights include the exciting Wall of Death shows, a two-day Silverstone Auctions sale, 4×4 off-road rides, an interactive Autotest Challenge in Abarths, stage appearances by the wrapping kings from Yiannimize on Friday and Mike Brewer, the TV Wheeler Dealer, also taking to the stage over the weekend with his car clinics plus a feast of other attractions to amuse and excite those of all ages.
Indeed, there is plenty to entertain younger visitors with a host of fun-fuelled children’s activities based around the busy Village Green. These range from giant garden games, traditional funfair rides and mini golf to the chance for those aged over 10 (but under 17) to get their first driving experience behind the wheel of a Vauxhall Corsa courtesy of the Young Driver initiative. Budding young football stars, aged between 5-15, can prepare for the forthcoming soccer season, too, with Chelsea FC Foundation coaches in the Yokohama Chelsea Skills Zone.
On Friday evening there is a Fun Run around the track for those aged 16 and over in support of the event’s official charity, Alzheimer’s Research UK, raising funds for vital dementia research. This is a cause Sir Jackie Stewart will also be championing when reunited with his 1969 British Grand Prix winning Matra MS80-02 for some not-to-be-missed hot laps on both Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
And, with record numbers now booking three-day tickets, the entertainment continues long after sunset with live rock concerts on both Friday and Saturday evenings with a wide range of mouth-watering street food options to keep bellies well fuelled as the music replaces the sounds of V8 and V12 engines.
This summer’s ‘Rocking and Racing’ Classic is partying to the 50th anniversary of Woodstock with what is believed to be the world’s biggest homage to the most famous rock festival of them all. Bands – some featuring members that actually performed at the original festival – will be performing songs by Woodstock artists Creedence Clearwater Revival, Joe Cocker, Jimi Hendrix, Santana, Sly and the Family Stone, Ten Years After and The Who. Moreover, concert goers are encouraged to get into the spirit by wearing hippie-inspired ‘fancy dress’.
“With so much going on, there really is something for everyone at the Silverstone Classic,” enthused event director Nick Wigley. “Whether it’s the wonderful racing, the dazzling car club displays or the acres and acres of captivating off-track entertainment, every year the Classic just gets bigger and better – and this weekend’s festival has all the ingredients to be the best yet. The weather forecast looks fabulous, too.”
Providing great value, all tickets – which must be purchased in advance before midnight on Thursday – give access to the vast majority of the great family entertainment as well as access to both racing paddocks and open trackside grandstands.
Adult tickets start from just £45 and a wide range of child, young adult and family tickets are also available along with camping. Full details of all ticket prices are detailed on the silverstoneclassic.com website.