This years Silverstone Classic event was blessed with fantastic weather causing the spectators, teams and drivers to
swelter as the temperatures soared across the whole of the weekend.
There was a massive programme of activities expertly organised and promoted by Motion Works UK Ltd, the company licensed by Silverstone to stage the event for the next five
years. Motion Works did a very professional job with the event running smoothly throughout, with no sign of traffic problems either into or out of the circuit. The target for the event was to attract a total of 49,000 visitors up from last
years 41,000. By the end of the weekend the target had been comfortably surpassed, as some 57,000 people flocked to Northamptonshire to see some of the world's most spectacular machinery on and off track at
a single venue. Motion Works plans to expand the event further over the next few years with a target of 65,000 people in 2009, rising to an ultimate goal of 90,000 by 2010.
The range of activities on offer was bewildering to some extent, making it difficult to find the best strategy for getting around over the three days ensuring that nothing was overlooked. The on track programme was massive and
spectacular, with a total of 21 races covering cars ranging from Formula 1 to Sports and GT to Saloons. Some magnificent machinery
was on display including the mighty Lola T70 Mk3B, and a bevy of Group C sports cars including the Porsche 962 and Le Mans winning
Silk Cut liveried Jaguar XJR12. This racing action was ably supported by fascinating on track parades, celebrating the BRDC's 80th birthday, Silverstone, Lotus and Porsche 60th anniversaries and more.
In addition to this there was a special stage in the centre of the circuit where the ultra powerful Group B Rally cars of the early 1980's
could be seen at close quarters being put through their paces in a demonstration by 'Slowly Sideways'. Some of the cars from this
period were absolutely outlandish and none more so than the Audi Quattro, Ford RS200, Metro 6R4 etc. The sight of the Quattro
approaching head on at high speed and braking at the last possible moment was a rare sight to savour. Indeed as one of these cars
accelerated away over a small ramp, despite a small run up it still managed to get clearly airborne thrilling the spectators in the process.
As well as all of the ground based action there were spectacular air displays on offer. On the Friday and Sunday the Team Guinot Wing
Walkers were in action with their two superb Boeing Stearman biplanes, with two very brave young ladies performing gymnastics as the aircraft performed some tricky manoeuvres across the sky. That was
not all, as in addition we had the opportunity to see the 1950 Hawker Hunter jet fighter put through its paces, a World War II Hurricane graced the skies on Saturday, and then a Spitfire from the Battle of Britain
Memorial Flight and a P51 Mustang providing a superb display of these amazing aircraft on the Sunday. The air action continued with the Red Devils Freefall Parachute Team descending in perfect weather on
Saturday evening ahead of the Denny Hulme Trophy Race which continued into the dusk, fought over by some evocative cars including the classic Ford GT40 and Lola T70 Mk3B's with lights ablaze as
darkness fell. Also in the air on Sunday was the Yakolevs Display Team, performing graceful and elegant aerobatics in their Russian built aircraft. Reading this report, you could be forgiven for thinking that this
was an air display rather than a motoring event. Adding to the period atmosphere a group of aircraft from the Vintage Aircraft Club flew in and were parked along the main runway, allowing close inspection for aviation fans and to round things off there was also a display of Hot Air Balloons gracing the tranquil skies over the weekend.
On the infield there was a market area with all manner of motoring
memorabilia, books, prints, paintings, art exhibition, collectors car parts, models etc, there really was something for everyone to take home. A walk through the art exhibition revealed some gems, and not all were
motoring related either. Marine artist Thomas J Burnell explained with enthusiasm the painstaking detail with which he researched his subject. Consulting captains log books, eye witness accounts and
every other scrap of information he could get his hands on to ensure that his paintings of the epic battles of famous names such as Admiral Nelson were accurate to the most minute detail.
Of course, not to be forgotten were the motoring clubs of famous marques including Lotus (Celebrating their 60th anniversary), Ferrari,
Porsche (Also celebrating their 60th year), Aston Martin, Alfa Romeo and many, many others totalling some sixty clubs in total, exhibiting some fabulous cars, historic and modern. In the Ferrari area
onlookers could see a line up of the amazing Ferrari Enzo, the Ferrari F50 and the Ferrari F40, a very rare opportunity indeed. The
Porsche collection was massive with hundreds of gleaming cars of various types and specifications on display.
The much loved and missed Murray Walker was back behind the microphone at the weekend, and he appeared to have lost none of his
inimitable style, enthusiasm and excitement. He had his very own stand at the event and did a number of autograph sessions to promote his new large format scrapbook, which looked to be very much in demand with the fans.
The event also included the Bonhams Auction which took place on the Saturday featuring Porsche and Lotus cars, together with the
Richard Lloyd collection following Richard's tragic death in a light aircraft crash earlier in the year.
Classic car owners had the chance to participate in the Silverstone Classic
retrorun which is a fun driving event for cars built prior to 1988. There were four routes to choose from, each approximately 100 miles in length and each visiting motoring points of interest on the drive in to the circuit. On the Sunday
the entrants had the opportunity to drive their cars around the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit.
Motion Works appeared to have every angle covered and catered for those
with musical demands as well. At the Scarf and Goggles over the weekend there was a selection of musical acts with the highlight on Saturday Evening being provided by Britain's Got Talent winners 'Escala', and Beatles Tribute
band 'Imagine The Beatles' rounding out the day's entertainment. We have put together a selection of images from the event, the gallery can be found in the F1 photos area of this site. There is also a link to the Silverstone Classic
website where you can obtain more details of the racing action and see videos of some of the cars and drivers. Next year's event is due to be staged at the same time of year (End of July), and is not to be missed. The celebrated
marque for next year is Jaguar, marking 60 years since the company first went racing with the XK120.