Silverstone Classic 2017 – Legends, Celebrities and Racing Immortality
Silverstone Circuit in Northamptonshire played host to the 27th running of the Silverstone Classic on the 28th, 29th and 30th of July 2017. Billed as one of the world’s largest classic motorsport festivals, the Silverstone Classic attracted 100,00 spectators and gear heads over the three days. Just two weeks prior, the circuit hosted the British Grand Prix.
Featuring 22 races covering eight decades of motorsport history, the Silverstone Classic festival has enough variety to satisfy everyone’s taste in racing, from Pre-war vintage cars to the Super Touring Cars of the 1990s.
The Silverstone Classic Celebrity Challenge Trophy saw 26 stars from television and radio, music and sport racing against each other in the highly entertaining Austin A30 and A35’s, and raised over £10,000 for the Prostate Cancer UK charity in the process. The race was held on Saturday evening, and light drizzle turned to heavy rain, making for treacherous conditions on the 3.6 mile long circuit. In the end, the Screen Stars team won, led by the Le Mans winner captain Mark Blundell, with Steve Soper taking the chequered flag in a hard won battle with Anthony Reid. Howard Donald (Take That) took the prize for the best rookie, finishing ahead of the other celebrities in the race. A number of celebrities failed to finish due to the conditions, and AC/DC front man Brian Johnson failed to start the race due to a roll during qualifying.
Off-track, there were car clubs from around Great Britain in attendance, putting on a fantastic show of member’s cars, including the Ferrari Owners Club, the Porsche Owners Club, and the Bentley Owners Club to name but three. Porsche were in attendance with a selection of cars from their recent restoration challenge, as well as examples of their latest 911 models including the brand new 911.2 GT3.
One of the big highlights this year was the attendance of ‘Gentleman Jim’ Richards and the Group A BMW 635 CSi he raced in 1985 to emphatically win the Australian Touring Car Championship. That season he won six races in a row in the mighty JPS liveried BMW in the ATCC and also took the crown in the 1985 Australian Endurance Championship, winning five out of six races in that series as well. Having flown the car over from Australia for the Silverstone Classic, it was pleasing to see the car win the Stuart Graham ‘Scarf and Goggles’ trophy for being judged most admired car competing at the Classic.
The Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy (TT) for Historic Cars (Pre ’63 GT) was another highlight from the weekend, with Lukas Halusa taking an early lead in the Ferrari 250 GT SWB Breadvan and passing the finish line first, only to be given a retrospective 45-second penalty for speeding in the pit lane that demoted him to fifth place. Simon Hadfield in the Aston Martin DP 212 Project Car took the eventual win (although thought it was the battle for second at the time) from Patrick Blakeney-Edwards in the AC Cobra.
For those who believe the Jaguar E-Type to be one of the prettiest and most iconic of British cars were in for a treat with the Jaguar Classic Challenge added to this year’s roster of races. Gary Pearson proved best, followed by James Dodd and Ben Short.
For the splendor, size and scope of historic motoring events, the Silverstone classic is very hard to beat, which is why they keep coming back year after year. You can check out some cool competition videos from this year’s doings here.