A host of the famous stars and evocative cars that will wow the crowds at this summer’s action-packed Silverstone Classic (29-31 July) revved up at the traditional Media Day curtain-raiser.
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.
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.
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 50th anniversary 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.
Away from the racetrack, the impressive infield display will include live music concerts from chart-toppers The Boomtown Rats, The Stranglers and Reef, more than 120 car clubs exhibiting classic models from through the decades, Silverstone Auctions, aviation displays, a live Range Rover restoration with new event partner eBay and – for the first time – a Concours d’Elegance.
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.