Firstly the Silverstone Classic is the ‘World’s Biggest Classic Motor Racing Festival’, therefore it is a surprise that most of my personal friends (many of whom are into cars) have never heard of the event, and that’s a shame, as it is surely a petrol heads ultimate weekend event as per my title!
History and background of the Silverstone Classic
Setup as an annual meeting for Historic race cars, the event takes place over 3 days, normally at the end of July and has been running since 1990. Despite its history going back some 26 years, it has only been over the last 5 or so years that its popularity has grown, winning the prestigious ‘Motorsport Event of the Year Award’ in 2013 and attracting over 100,000 visitors in 2015.
My brief review
Our visit was limited to the Friday’s offerings and we spent a good nine hours perusing around the enormous 800 acre estate filled with cars and attractions.
With over 120 car clubs attending this year’s Classic, there wasn’t a shortage of both popular and rare classic cars, as well as a number of more modern machinery, with an estimated 10,000 cars being displayed. Some of the top sports car manufacturers were also present, showcasing both the past and present cars from their rich history. And talking of automotive rich histories, many iconic makes of car and racing organisations/clubs celebrated their anniversaries with some taking part in parades around the circuit in celebration. Silverstone has a large amount of infield space and was an ideal place for hosting all the car clubs with the sound of the racing cars on track echoing in the background. However be prepared to do a lot of walking, the clubs are spread around the infield area and there are many hilly areas, which could prove to be a problem for some, especially if you are in a wheel chair or pushing a pram, although there is still more than enough to see on the flatter areas of the estate. As a side note, disabled persons can bring an assistant with them with free entry for them, also anyone can bring a bicycle with them to get around.
With so much going on, it’s difficult to write about each and every one of them in any great detail, so here is a brief list some of some of the attractions for us petrol heads and general car enthusiast that the Silverstone Classic event had, they included a classic car auction, live restoration of a Range Rover, International Paddock pits access, National Paddock pits access, motorcycle stunt shows, streetcar shootout, historic karting, Jaguar experience with you being taken around a figure of eight in full drift mode, a chance to see numerous automotive personalities and motor racing legends, over 1100 classic racing cars (spanning over 80 years) on circuit and much more. The day is literally packed full of sights and sounds of some of the worlds nicest classic road and race cars and the chance to get up close and personal in the pit areas is an absolute pleasure. For a welcome rest from walking around you can sit in a number of grandstands around the circuit (not all grandstand are open) and watch any number of historic race cars take to the track. Take a look through the photos below and although a picture can paint a thousand words, the one thing it can’t do is provide you with the sound and smell that these cars fill your aural and olfactory sensors with. For me the highlight of the day was being able to have access to the pit area and I literally spent the first two hours in the International Paddock area.
The Silverstone classic is also an event for all the family with numerous attractions that included a fun fair, an Adrenaline zone, shopping village, helicopter rides, crazy golf, wall of death, aerial displays and Aerobatics and a concert area (with live music in the evening from the Boomtown Rats, The Stranglers and others).
And finally I’m going to finish up with a few helpful tips for the day/weekend for those planning a visit next year. There’s plenty of free parking, but be prepared to have to queue the closer you get to the event (camping is available also). With so much to see you will be at the event for a long time and despite the nine hours I was there for I still didn’t get to see everything I wanted to and with that in mind, I would advise you wear comfortable footwear and put on some sun screen. Buses are provided on site to take you around for free. There are plenty of choices for food and drink, but be aware that eating at these events is expensive. Finally if you have sensitive hearing, take some ear plugs as some of the cars are very loud!
All in all the Silverstone Classic is one of the best events that any one into cars can go to, with more than enough to keep you busy and excited, see you there next year!