This year’s Silverstone Classic ran from July 26 until July 28 2019.
The 3-day, long-weekend event has been running since 1990 and now proudly bills itself as the ‘biggest classic motor racing festival in the world’.
Silverstone is the perfect setting for a show that brings together such a large number of well-established car clubs and features the excitement of historic racing and displays of some of the finest classic racing automobiles to be found today.
The cars on show span almost a full century of racing history from single seat racers to one-off sports cars and classic touring racers. This year’s show was pretty much like any other Silverstone Classic, and that’s a compliment to the prestige the show has and its ability to attract the best show cars around.
As is often is the case, some classic car or other has an anniversary to celebrate, and this year MINI is celebrating a 60th birthday with a couple of races featuring 60 pre-1966 MINI Cooper S models. It’s hard to not to be nostalgically fond of the classic red and white MINI Cooper S rally car with its row of lights along the front.
I remember my perfect little Matchbox Cooper S rally model bought for me as a little boy in place of fireworks one November: “It’ll last longer than fireworks…” my mum told me – and how accurate that statement was. On the Friday, Paddy Hopkirk led a track parade of MINI Cooper S vehicles in the very car that he won the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally in (registration 333 EJB). One can only imagine the pride felt at leading this honourable parade.
It’s also 50 years since Ford launched its Capri, and while it may have had its unfair share of mockery over the years and visited some dark times in the past as far as its reputation goes, it’s about time we forgot the image of an Essex boy racer with furry dice and arm leaning on the door and remembered that the fastback was a pretty well balanced car for racing.
Gordon Spice, 5-times winner of the BTCC, was on hand to give an award to the best Capri racing car. Incidentally, while images exist of a fine looking Capri convertible prototype, it was Ford Australia that eventually gave us a Capri convertible as such. Unrelated to the classic Ford Capri, the car was given the moniker of Mercury Capri and some models found their way to the USA in the early nineties.
This year, Sir Jackie Stewart was present to celebrate 50 years since that July 1969 first British Grand Prix victory. This was the first of three world championship wins for Stewart and the man himself was back behind the steering wheel of his Matra MS80-02, the serene blue Grand Prix winning car, for a couple of laps of the circuit on both Saturday and Sunday.
He was also on hand to present the Sir Jackie Stewart Trophy for FIA Masters Historic Formula One to the winners of the blue-riband retro F1 races that featured classic cars from 1966 to 1985.
While the Silverstone Classic may have briefly ended up on the ropes having taken a punch or two from the likes of the Goodwood Revival and the Festival of Speed, it’s safe to say that the Classic recovered well and 2019 was another record-breaking year.
Total attendance was a staggering 109,000 over the three days and the show featured 21 retro classic races, many anniversary parades, and the live music festival – which in itself was celebrating its own anniversary theme; the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, the event that attracted an estimated 400,000 to New York in the summer of 1969.
The show attracted a record number of car clubs this year too, meaning there was around 10,000 privately owned classics to be drooled over.
Meanwhile, Silverstone Classic auctions, held over 2-days, allowed those with the cash to splash to take home something a little more substantial than a programme, while the host of shows like Wheeler Deeler and Deals on Wheels Mike Brewer hosted Car Clinics, giving an insight into just what owning a classic car entails – a large wallet, no doubt.
Summing up Silverstone Classic 2019, CEO Nick Wigley thanked all those that attended, from participators to the public, and said that the MINI racing especially will live long in the memory for those lucky enough to be there. If you weren’t, then you can still catch up on the all the action via YouTube or ITV4 – and yes, I still have that little Matchbox MINI Cooper.
More images from Silverstone Classic 2019
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