While the entry for the July 21-23 running of the Coys Historic Festival at Silverstone was not up to previous year’s standards, the focus on celebrating 50 years of the Formula One World Championship brought out a fine array of former Grand Prix drivers and record crowds to watch them. Twelve hard-fought races and a historic rallysprint highlighted a full weekend of activities at Britain’s historic Silverstone circuit.
Among the “ancien pilotes” on hand were a mixture of the greats and the lesser known. Nigel Mansell made a rare appearance behind the wheel of an ex-Senna Lotus for demonstration purposes only (though he was quickly in the mood to go faster), while Sir Stirling Moss took part in a variety of cars, including a Maserati 250F. Ex-world champions Sir Jack Brabham, John Surtees and Jackie Stewart were also out on the track several times and were joined by 1950s Maserati racer Maria Teresa de Fillipis, former Lotus and Ferrari driver Cliff Allison and Connaught, Vanwall and Ferrari pilot Tony Brooks. Other F1 luminaries included Richard Attwood, Mike Taylor, Trevor Taylor, Howden Ganley, John Watson, Bob Bondurant, Mike Sparken, Eric Thompson, Tim Parnell, Jean Pierre Beltoise and Roy Salvadori.
In the on-track action, the Duncan Hamilton Trophy for 1950s sports cars went to the speedy Lotus 15 2.5-Climax-powered car of Robert Brooks of Brooks Auction fame.
The 10-lapper for pre-1952 Grand Prix cars was a tussle between the 1936 ex-Prince Bira ERA of Ludovic Lindsay and the 1943 P2 Alfa Romeo of Sir John Venables Llewelyn. Lindsay gradually pulled out a small lead, while Barrie Williams pushed his ERA through the field to grab third from Michael Steele’s similar ERA.
The fastest machines of the weekend were the FORCE pre-1972 Classic Grand Prix cars with a number of interesting historics on the track. Mike Littlewood, in an ex-Peterson Lotus 72, beat Sid Hoole’s Brabham BT33 into second by six seconds after some hairy moments in traffic. Bobby Bell in his ex-works BRM P153 was clearly the hard charger in this race, hanging onto the tail of the ex-works Lotus 49 driven by Joaquin Folch to grab fifth at the flag.
Rounding out the weekend was coach builder Rod Jolley in his Cooper T45/51, taking the honors in the pre-1966 Grand Prix cars race from John Beasley’s Brabham BT4 and Paul Alexander’s BRM P261.