- Iconic Renaults and BMWs join the evocative tin-top grid
- Record numbers predicted for Silverstone Classic double-header
- John Cleland and Patrick Watts renew old rivalries
This summer’s Silverstone Classic (25-27 July) is gearing up for the biggest and best Super Touring Car grid yet.
Over the past few years, the award-winning festival has been the power behind a remarkable Super Touring revival, which has seen flame-spitting Sierra Cosworths from the 1980s battling it out against the hugely high-tech F1 inspired racers from the 1990s.
A special David Leslie Memorial Trophy race was staged at the 2009 Classic and this was followed by further spectacular showdowns in 2012 and 2013. The huge success of those frenetic gatherings has now spawned an exciting new series specifically for those most dramatic of all touring cars.
The recently announced HSCC Super Touring Championship blasts off at Thruxton at Easter, but the Silverstone Classic remains the undisputed highlight on the five-event calendar. Indeed the organisers are expecting record grids of more than 50 iconic cars for this year’s eagerly anticipated double-header.
The recent resurgence has resulted an increasing number of superb racing saloons – all restored to their famous period liveries – reliving what was a golden era in touring car history.
Latest additions include a pair of Williams F1-prepared Renault Lagunas plus a handful of BMW E36s, several of which were built by McLaren. Both celebrated Renault and BMW models are part of BTCC folklore and thus are significant newcomers to this year’s ever-increasing line-up, as neither has featured before.
The two racy Renaults have recently been uncovered in Serbia and Montenegro. They are the dark green Nescafé Blend 37 sponsored cars as originally raced in the 1999 MSA British Touring Car Championship by Jason Plato, the most victorious driver in BTCC history, and former F1 driver Jean-Christophe Boullion. The expanded BMW ranks boast several Castrol-liveried cars from the Italian Championship plus the notable James Bond 007 chassis as raced by Johnny Cecotto in the 1995 BTCC.
Adding to the magical memories, a number of legendary touring car drivers will be adding further to the nostalgic touring car action at Silverstone. Tim Harvey, the 1992 BTCC champion, rolled back the years by blasting the 175mph blue Labbatt’s Sierra Cosworth RS500 that he last raced in 1990 to the fore. This time around both double BTCC champion John Cleland and tin-top idol Patrick Watts have already confirmed their participation.
“The renaissance of the Super Touring era just gets better and better,” enthused Event Director, Nick Wigley. “Thanks to great television coverage, these cars and drivers became household names back in the 1990s, so it’s absolutely no surprise that they are proving every bit as popular second time around. The two previous races at last year’s Classic were just fantastic and, in typical touring car style, ended in controversy following a clash on the final lap! Now, with even more great cars on the grid, July’s two ‘sleeves up’ showdowns promise to provide even more thrills and spills.”
Tickets for this summer’s edition of the World’s Biggest Classic Motor Racing Festival are selling fast with fans taking advantage of considerable ‘early-bird’ savings. Full details can be found on the official www.silverstoneclassic.com website.