Silverstone Classic 2018: highlights to look out for

This weekend’s unmissable Silverstone Classic has more and a wider variety than ever packed into its three days. Here are our top picks of the many attractions…

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It is not for nothing that Silverstone Classic can boast to be the world’s biggest classic motor racing festival or that it has become a must visit on the motorsport calendar. An almost impossible amount is squeezed into its three days, and not only in the packed programme of 21 historic races which can be relied upon to provide exciting action.

Off-track there is at least as much again, with things to do wherever you turn. This includes displays – over 10,000 classic cars are on show – live auctions and music as well as the fullest range of activities to suit all tastes.

This year more is crammed in than ever, which may make it difficult to know what to prioritise. We at AutoClassics have therefore selected of few of our own highlights...

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F1 cars mark Silverstone’s 70th birthday

This year’s Classic has particular significance as it marks Silverstone’s 70th anniversary as a race track. It was in 1948 that it hosted its inaugural event: the RAC International Grand Prix, the country’s first major motor race after the Second World War.

Over 100 Grand Prix cars spanning the seven decades will therefore feature throughout the weekend. As well as the historic F1 racing schedule F1 icons from yesteryear will be on display and paraded on-track, going right back to the ERAs, Maseratis and Talbots from the inaugural 1948 Grand Prix.

It then will be rounded off by a bespoke Legends of Modern Formula 1 parade, which will contain representatives from many eras, including cars raced by world champions Ayrton Senna, Jenson Button and Damon Hill.

The collection ranges from a Toleman-Hart TG184 from 1984, where Senna made his F1 bow, to a Sauber C30 in which Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez scored world championship points in 2011.

You can read more about the F1 cars on show here.

Stars mark BTCC 60th anniversary

Another anniversary marked at the event is 60 years of the ever-popular and enduring British Touring Car Championship.

The Classic’s third day, named ‘Tin Top Sunday’, will have a specific BTCC theme and there will be no fewer than four special grids, spanning cars from the late 1950s right up to 2005 with more than 150 cars present that have either raced in BTCC or represent models that have.

Reigning champion Ash Sutton leads a host of BTCC stars from past and present who will take to the track in the touring car races or elsewhere, in Sutton’s case fulfilling a childhood dream of racing a 1996 Honda Accord Super Tourer.

Sutton is one of six BTCC champions in attendance, which also includes John Fitzpatrick, the oldest living BTCC champion, and Jason Plato, the series’ most victorious driver. The pair will be fronting a Diamond Jubilee BTCC Anniversary Parade on Sunday.

Read more about the incredible touring car celebrations here.

Record Formula Junior entry to mark its 60 years

Formula Junior also celebrates its diamond jubilee this year and the Classic is marking it with the largest gathering of Formula Junior racers ever assembled anywhere in the world.

In total 118 cars will be present for four Formula Junior races, including models from 33 marques and drivers from 13 nations.

Formula Junior started in 1958 as an affordable stepping stone for young drivers aiming for Formula 1. It quickly became a hit, and several hundred cars from a variety of makes have been raced all over the world, and the series counts Jim Clark, John Surtees, Denny Hulme and Jochen Rindt among its graduates.

The Formula Junior races at the Classic are the conclusion of a three-year world tour marking the anniversary. The tour started in South Africa at the start of 2016 and has included over 100 races across four continents.

Find out more about the amazing story here.

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Ace Cafe recreation and classic bike display to celebrate the diner’s 80 years

That’s not the end of the anniversaries marked at the Classic either, as the Ace Cafe – the North London diner with legendary status among motorcyclists – will celebrate 80 years since its opening with a recreation of the original diner as well as a classic bike display and parade.

The Ace Cafe birthday celebration display will be based in the heart of a huge paddock display of classic bikes which any classic bike owner could apply to be part of. Furthermore 80 of these bikes will be selected for a track parade on the Grand Prix circuit at lunchtime on Saturday.

In addition the Ace Cafe will take over Silverstone’s Pit Stop Cafe in the National Paddock with menus, displays, dressings and music all embracing the character of the original diner.

You can see more of the unique plans here.

Ferrari Daytona leads car anniversaries

The Classic also traditionally celebrates the anniversary of famous individual cars and this year’s event is no exception, as the Ferrari 365 GTB/4’s 50-year history will be celebrated with Porsche 356, Aston Martin, Austin-Healey and Jaguar landmarks also honoured.

Launched at the 1968 Paris Motor Show the 365 was capable of over 170mph courtesy of a 4.4-litre V12. The car has since become better known as the Ferrari Daytona in deference to the marque’s one-two-three finish in the 1967 24 Hours of Daytona. Ferrari built just 1406 Daytonas in total by the end of its production in 1973.

Also featuring will be the Porsche Club of Great Britain as the marque’s iconic 356 – its first model – entered production 70 years ago in 1948. The Aston Martin Owners Club will be honouring 70 years of the DB1 and 60 years of the DB4, plus the Austin-Healey Sprite is another notable model turning 60 this year. Jaguar car clubs will celebrate 70 years of the XK120 and 50 years of the XJ saloon.

We’ve got more on the range of cars being honoured here.

Mike Brewer’s Car Clinics

The hugely popular Car Clinics by TV’s Wheeler Dealers presenter Mike Brewer will return to the Classic this year, presented by Haynes Publishing.

The informative and entertaining car review clinics have become a firm favourite among Classic visitors in recent years, and are completely free to all holders of a general event ticket.

An Austin 7 special and an Austin-Healey ‘Frogeye’ Sprite are two of the classics that will come under Brewer’s expert eye. Both of these models represent some of Haynes Publishing’s best-selling publications. To complement Brewer’s expert opinion Haynes will also present its own stand from which visitors can purchase the model manual they require.

Read more about the popular attraction here.

New classic cars for sale area

For 2018 Silverstone Classics adds a new classic cars for sale area, sponsored by AutoClassics. It's intended for for independent classic car dealers and restorers, and will be located in the busy infield area next to the car club displays.

There's still time to exhibit, if you're quick, by emailing email: exhibitors@silverstoneclassic.com.

But if you're more interested in taking a look around the many cars for sale, then be sure to seek out the AutoClassics Marketplace.

For more information on the AutoClassics Marketplace, click here.

Free Lexus test drives around local roads

For this year ‘Drive Live’ has been added to the Classic, which will allow visitors to test a Lexus Hybrid around the circuit’s local roads.

As a result of feedback following last year's event the Classic teamed-up with Lexus to offer the free opportunity to experience their Lexus Self Charging Hybrid range first-hand on a 30 minute test drive on the open roads around the circuit in the beautiful Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire countryside.

‘Drive Live’ will be based in the event’s Shopping Village area.

Furthermore there is also in the Drive Live zone the chance for youngsters to get behind the wheel of a car – children aged 10 and over can pilot a dual-controlled Vauxhall Corsa courtesy of Young Driver.

Read more about Drive Live on AutoClassics.

Special showcase of Supercar Legends

The Classic’s 100,000 visitors can view up close the spectacular ‘Supercar Legends presented by Yokohama’ showcase, providing a more modern dimension with up to 30 models from Koenigsegg, Pagani and TVR among others based in the International Paddock.

It will be led by Koenigsegg’s astonishing 249mph Agera and the equally extreme CCX. Pagani will be lining up their Huayra next to its predecessor, the striking Zonda.

TVR will display the all-new Griffith designed by Gordon Murray, as well as the original ‘60s Griffith. Ford brings its technological marvel the all-new GT as well as the GT40 Le Mans winner. Honda has two generations of the radical NSX, which Ayrton Senna was involved in the development for. Lexus’s latest LC500 will rub shoulders with the LF-As and the Aston Martin DB4 GT continuation and DBS Superleggera, among many others.

The line-up will also be fired up for a memorable parade lap of the full Silverstone circuit on Saturday.

Read here for more about the supercars on display.

Silverstone Classic runs from Friday, July 20 to Sunday, July 22 at the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit in Northamptonshire. Some tickets are still available here and remember that entry is by advance ticket only and are available until midnight on Thursday, July 19.

Ace Cafe picture copyright of Ace Cafe London Archive

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