The organizers of July’s Silverstone Classic are claiming to have brought together the biggest gathering of Grand Prix cars ever seen in action at one meeting, with more than 120 examples competing in six races spanning an equal number of decades. In total, there were more than 1000 entries for the 22 races over the weekend.
With more than 30 starters, the Grand Prix Masters races for the 1970s and 1980s era provided a spectacular sight. Andy Meyrick took two wins driving his March 761, pursued by Bill Coombs (Tyrrell 009) and Steve Hartley (Arrows A4). The only slight disappointment was that every car was Cosworth DFV-powered. The addition of a Matra or BRM V12 would have provided variety, but it was good to see Jeremy Smith out in his ’76 March 2-4-0 six-wheeler running well. With its striking four rear wheels, this car never raced in period and was constructed primarily to attract sponsorship.
Other Grand Prix victories fell to Roger Wills (Cooper T51), Enrico Spaggiari (Cooper T51) and Philip Walker (Lotus 16), with grids as large as 50 starters. The two Group C races brought wins for Katsu Kubota (Nissan RC90) and Bob Berridge (Mercedes C11), while Oliver Bryant in his Lola T70 Mk3B fought off the attentions of Simon Hadfield/Leo Voyazides in their similar car and Manfredo Rossi di Montelera and his Abarth Osella PA1 to win in World Sports Car Masters. Voyazides was having a good weekend as he also took victory in the race for larger sedans with his Ford Falcon and the under-two-liter sedan counter in his Lotus Cortina, this time sharing with Simon Hadfield. Gary Pearson and Carlos Monteverde steered their ex-Jim Clark Jaguar D-Type to a dominant victory in the Woodcote Trophy. Nathan Kinch drove one of five Ferrari 512s entered for the Italian Historic Car Cup to the victory ahead of Bobby Verdon-Roe’s Ferrari 412P. The historic RAC Tourist Trophy went to Stuart Graham/ Richard Attwood (Aston Martin DB4) ahead of the Ferrari 330 GTO of Carlo Vogele and Willie Green. The two Historic Formula Junior races fell to Sam Wilson from Jon Milicevic, both Cooper T59-mounted.
The Silverstone Classic grows in stature year on year and the full, revised, Grand Prix circuit was used for the first time this year, complete with the fully accessible pits and paddocks split between the old complex and the new “Wing” building sited just after Club corner. Such a large entry would simply not have been possible without these new facilities.