Days of wonder at Silverstone Classic 2016

Last week-end, Classic Car News was at Silverstone Classic 2016. It probably is the most varied classic car event I have ever seen. From touring cars to Formula 1, almost any kind of competition was sampled on this famous race track.

Before reaching the track, you lose your head.

Just after getting through the gates, you see classics all around. A huge lot of clubs came to Silverstone Classic 2016, for our greatest pleasure! From AC to Zagato, you could see all the best cars produced in the UK, and even abroad.

Like at Le Mans Classic, Porsche had a quite unique area, gathering the cars of the Porsche Club GB, and hosting a restoration contest between all the Porsche centers in the UK.

You could also see a Range Rover being restored during the week end. The team of mechanics managed by Fergus Walkinshaw did an admirable work, considering the time they had for this eBay Restoration Live.

The real show of Silverstone Classic 2016 was on the track

It’s quite obvious, with such a program, but you could really get tempted to stay in the club areas and paddocks. Let’s start with the “least” interesting part, the lunch breaks (and a 1-hour break saturday evening). There was no race at that time but parades to celebrate anniversaries. And there were a lot of them!

But you are interested in the races, and there is a lot to say about them, so let’s start. With no less than 16 grids, the show was absolutely staggering.

Unfortunately, I was not there on Friday, so we did not see any of the qualifying sessions. I also missed 5 of the races (being alone on such an event is a real pain to catch everything of interest). So please forgive me for the lack of pictures concerning the Formula Junior, the pre ’61 sports cars, the pre ’63 GTs and the Under 2 Liter touring cars (U2TC). However, I could see the other 11 grids, and wow! It was hard to not like what was on track.

Memories of Touring Cars

Let’s begin with the touring cars. Four grids were dedicated to them.The John Fitzpatrick Trophy for U2TC gathered 41 cars, mainly Austin Minis, Ford Lotus Cortinas and BMW 1800s. The Big Engine Touring Cars gathered 42 pre ’66 cars, and, as its name says, a bunch of American big blocks. Ford Mustangs and Falcons were fighting for the first places, while Lotus Cortinas and Minis were fighting with their lower power (and its was really impressive seeing them braking as late as possible to keep up).

The Historic Touring Car Challenge gathered 52 cars, from 1966 to 1990. Rover SD1s and Ford Capris were plenty, with some BMWs, Alfas…

The JET Super Touring Car Trophy gathered 31 cars that made the glory of BTCC, during the late 80’s and the 90’s. It was really enjoyable seeing the drivers almost as aggressive as they they were back in the day. The battles between the #18 Vauxhall Vectra and the #3 Honda Accord were just epic! But you could also enjoy E30/E36 BMWs, Ford Sierra, Volvo S40s and such.

Let’s beef the races up, here come the GTs

The Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy for Historic Cars gathered 54 pre ’63 GT cars, from the frail Lotus Elite, to the monstrous Tojeiro Buick of the Ecurie Ecosse.

The International Trophy for Classic GT Cars gathered 59 pre ’66 GT cars. It was a festival of E-Types, Elans, Cobras and Granturas. However, they were not alone. You could see a Bizzarrini 5300GT, the Tojeiro Buick (once again), or a few MGs and Morgans.

The endless hours of Endurance were back at Silverstone Classic 2016

I missed the Royal Automobile Club Woodcote Trophy for pre ’56 Sports Cars, and its 45 cars. It gathered Coopers, Aston Martins, Frazer-Nashes and a lot of other legends of the post-war era. Unfortunately, I also missed the Stirling Moss Trophy for pre ’61 Sports Cars. It gathered 30 cars: Listers, Jaguars, Coopers….

The FIA Masters Historic Sports Cars gathered 51 cars from 1966 to 1973, including no less than 16 Lola T70s! They were competing with Chevrons, Ford GT40s, a McLaren M1B, a Porsche 911 RSR, a DeTomaso Pantera…

The 90s Endurance Legends gathered 32 cars from the LMP, GT1, GT2 and GT3 categories, that made the History of 1990s endurance races. The “usual” Porsche 911s and Chrysler Vipers were joined by an iconic McLaren F1 GTR or a legendary Porsche 911 GT1. You could also see a TVR T400R, a Saleen S7R, or the mythical Jaguar XJR-15, celebrating its 25th anniversary.

At the pinnacle of endurance racing, there was the Group C, with these amazingly fast howling cars. 27 cars were registered for Silverstone Classic 2016, and a lot of them were already present at Le Mans Classic. Speed, sound, flames, it was a real show!

The other side of the Atlantic ocean came to the UK.

The Can-Am 50 Interserie Challenge Trophy celebrated the 50th anniversary of the creation of this North American championship. Since there was no engine size limitations, engineers created absolute monsters. That grid gathered 22 of them, from the “small” 1800cc Lola T210 to the ominously roaring 8.8 liter McLaren M8s.

You should have a little break on two wheels only

Wayne Gardner, Phil Read, Christian Sarron… Do those names ring a bell? Yes, they are famous racing riders, and they were (with others) riding bikes from the late 70s to 1999. The World GP Bike Legends was the smallest group, with only 9 bikes, but it was fascinating seeing such frail bikes going this fast!

Last but not least, the Grand Prix beasts roared at Silverstone Classic 2016

The Maserati Trophy For HGPCA pre ’66 Grand Prix Cars gathered the cars that wrote the legends of Grand Prix. Maseratis, Coopers, BRMs, Lotuses… these 51 cars were all there to remind us how it was back in the day. And it was really sideways!

The FIA Masters Historic Formula One offered a demonstration of what F1 was during the 1970s and early 1980s. These 33 cars showed what raw power was, combined with ground effect, the whole stuff dubbed by an amazing sound.

The Legends of Modern Formula One gathered a small lot of “only” 10 cars, from 1981 to 2014. It was the simple demonstration of the difference of the different eras. From the Turbo engines of the ’80s to the last V6s. You could enjoy the difference of sound and handling of these cars, going astonishingly fast.

As you can see, there was far more stuff to see than what I could gather to show you. Silverstone Classic definitely an event to see, if not every year, at least once, it’s definitely worth it!

To see our complete collection of pictures, you can visit our gallery on flickr.

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