A somewhat wet and windy weekend didn't dampen the enthusiasm for 2019 Classic
This, however, didn't seem to dampen the enthusiasm of the large crowds that turned out on both days to witness this now famous festival of historic racing, with the organisers reporting yet another record-breaking year.
Over the three days, visitors were treated to a packed 21 race schedule ranging from Historic Formula 3 to the Sir Jackie Stewart Trophy race for FIA Masters Historic F1. Other races were for Historic F2, pre-’56 and pre-’61 Sportscars, Thundersports, pre-’63 GT cars, pre’66 GP Cars, pre-’66 Touring Cars, pre-War Sports Cars, Historic Sports Cars, Masters Endurance Legends Classic GT Cars (pre-’66) – plus, celebrating its 60th Anniversary, a massive 57-car grid of Minis.
In addition to all the on-track motorsport action, enthusiasts could mix with the teams and drivers in the garages in both the National and International Paddocks – as well as enjoying the myriad of attractions available for petrolheads and non-petrolheads alike.
We couldn't make it to Friday qualifying; but were there for the first race on Saturday, for HSCC Classic Formula 3 cars. On a wet track Dane Christian Olsen (1994 Martini Mk39) led the pack home by over four seconds from Ian Jacobs’ 1984 Ralt RT3. The pair finished in the same order in Sunday's race with Christian increasing his winning margin to 16 seconds.
Still raining for the second race of the day, the RAC Woodcote Trophy for pre-1956 Sportscars & Stirling Moss Ttrophy for pre-1961 Sportscars. Oliver Bryant (1958 Lotus 15) and David Hart (1959 Lister Costin) swapped places a number of times in their battle for the lead before Bryant eventually brought the Lotus home in first place, while the Pearson brothers’ 1955 Jaguar D-Type bagged the Woodcote Trophy.
The HSCC Thundersports race saw the awesome 1972 McLaren M8F with Dean Forward at the helm (quite apt given the conditions) get the better of Georg Hallau in the Lola T310 to take the win on a track better suited to powerboats than CanAm cars. In Sunday's running of the Thundersports race Hallao took the honours while mechanical problems forced Forward to retire.
Saturday’s Formula 2 winner, Miles Griffiths (1978 Ralt RT1) had to settle for second on Sunday, behind Martin O’Connell (1977 Chevron B40) who took the flag despite a last lap spin.
The Tourist Trophy race for Historic (pre-1963) GT Cars brought Saturday morning’s proceedings to a close with a win for the raucous bare-metal AC Cobra piloted by Martin Hunt who fended of the Jaguar E-Type of James Cottingham and Harvey Stanley, with the Ferrari 250 GT ‘Breadvan’ of Lukas and Niklas Halusa claiming third place in the last moments of the race.
Racing recommenced after the Saturday lunch break with the Jackie Stewart Trophy race for FIA Masters F1, in which Matteo Ferrer-Aza (1979 Ligier JS11/15) mastered a still wet track to score a convincing win by almost six seconds over Martin Stretton’s 1983 Tyrell 012. Sunday's running of the same race saw Steve Hartley in the ex-John Watson McLaren MP4/1 beat the Williams FW07C of Mike Cantillon to the flag by just 0.382 seconds.
F1 fans had a special treat with the appearance on track of Jackie Stewart. The three times World Champion climbed into the Matra MS80-02 in which he won his first World Championship in 1969 and, to the cheers of the crowd (and marshals) completed a number of demonstration laps. Not bad for an 80 year old!
Stewart was present, not just to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of his first British GP win at Silverstone in 1969, but also to help raise awareness of his charity Race Against Dementia to which the Silverstone Classic’s official Charity Partner, Alzheimer’s Research UK is donating all funds raised over the weekend.
The first of two Mini Celebration races saw a huge 57-car grid (incuding a ‘Woody’ estate variant) take to the track on Saturday afternoon in which victory went to Darren Turner by just 0.74s over Chris Middlehurst. Fittingly, on the 60th anniversary of the Mini, the final race of the weekend was the second Mini Celebration Trophy in which the victory went to current BTCC driver Adam Morgan over Ian Curley.
Will Nuthall in a 1960 Cooper T53 beat Sam Wilson (1960 Lotus 18) to the finish line in Saturday’s running of the Gallet Trophy for pre-1969 GP Cars, while on Sunday Sam Wilson took the honours from Jon Fairley (Brabham BT11).
The Transatlantic Trophy for pre-1966 Touring Cars saw an epic struggle for the lead between the Rob Fenn/Jake Hill Ford Mustang and the similar car of Craig Davies which was interrupted when they made contact forcing Hill to spin. Davies let Hill back into the lead; but collision damage caused bodywork to rub on Hill’s left rear tyre which led to a blow-out on the final lap. Hill made it to the chequered flag on three wheels thanks to Davies’ generosity in not passing for the rest of the lap.
Staying with the saloon car theme, the Historic Touring Car Challenge for cars from 1966-1990, saw Michael Lyons cruise to a well-earned victory in his Spa 24-Hours winning Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500, with Craig Davies (also in a Sierra Cosworth) stealing second on the final corner from Steve Dance’s Capri.
In July 1919 WO Bentley founded his eponymous company and, fittingly, the Bentley Centenary Trophy race for pre-War Sports Cars was won by the father/son team of Tim and Oliver Llewellyn driving an 8-litre Bentley 8/3 from 1926, after beating off the challenge from Rüdiger Friedrichs’ 1933 Alvis Firefly.
Coming further up to date in Le Mans history the Yokohama Trophy for FIA Master Historic Sports Cars saw the Banks brothers, Andrew and Max, take the victory in their 1968 McLaren M6B from Gary Pearson’s 1969 Lola T70.
The last race on Saturday evening evoked memories of more recent Le Mans 24 hour races with the 180+ mph prototypes hurtling into the gathering twilight. The Pescarolo LMP1 of Mike Cantillon/Jonathan Kennard headed the field at the flag, followed by the 2012 Lola B12 driven by Steve Tandy, and the same combination of cars/drivers finished Sunday’s race in the same order. For most spectators, however, the main interest was probably the UK racing debut of the Bentley Speed 8 – the car that gave Bentley its most recent win at Le Mans in 2003.
A somewhat wet and windy weekend didn't dampen the enthusiasm for 2019 Classic
ALL GO AT SILVERSTONE AGAIN
ALL GO AT SILVERSTONE AGAIN
Race 1: HSCC Classic Formula 3
1. Christian Olsen (Martini MK39) 9 laps (89.96mph)
2. Ian Jacobs (Ralt RT3) +4.492s
3. Andrew Smith (March 783) +11.735s
Race 2: Royal Automobile Club Woodcote and Stirling Moss Trophy
1. Oliver Bryant (Lotus 15) 17 laps (72.43mph)
2. David Hart (Lister Costin) +3.032s
3. Tony Wood/Will Nuthall (Lister Knobbly) +28.713s
Race 3: HSCC Thundersports
1. Dean Forward (McLaren M8F) 10 laps (85.11mph)
2. George Hallau (Lola T310) +5.656s
3. Robert Beebee (Lola T70 Mk3B +26.429s
Race 4: HSCC Historic Formula 2
1. Miles Griffiths (Ralt RT1) 8 laps (84.33mph)
2. Darwin Smith (March 722) +1.845s
3. Andy Smith (March 722) +13.155s
Race 5: Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy for Historic Cars (Pre ’63 GT)
1. Patrick Blakeney-Edwards/Martin Hunt (AC Cobra) 17 laps (71.11)
2. James Cottingham/Harvey Stanley (Jaguar E-Type) +6.917s
3. Niklas Halusa/Lukas Halusa (Ferrari 250 GT Breadvan) +25.455s
Race 6: Sir Jackie Stewart Trophy for FIA Masters Historic Formula One
1. Matteo Ferrer-Aza (Ligier JS11/15) 9 laps (92.34 mph)
2. Martin Stretton (Tyrrell 012) +5.761s
3. Mike Cantillon (Williams FW07C) +6.372s
Race 7: Mini Celebration Trophy presented by Adrian Flux
1. Darren Turner (Austin Mini Cooper S) 7 laps (72.43mph)
2. Chris Middlehurst (Morris Mini Cooper S) +0.740s
3. Adam Morgan (Morris Mini Cooper S) +4.242s
Race 8: Gallet Trophy for Pre ’66 Grand Prix Cars (HGPCA)
1. Will Nuthall (Cooper T53) 8 laps (81.56mph)
2. Sam Wilson (Lotus 16 368) +2.429s
3. Michael Griffiths (Cooper T79) +5.178s
Race 9: Transatlantic Trophy for Pre ’66 Touring Cars
1. Rob Fenn/Jake Hill (Ford Mustang) 15 laps (71.15mph)
2. Craig Davies (Ford Mustang) +0.868s
3. Andy Wolfe (Ford Lotus Cortina) +1.038s
Race 10: Bentley Centenary Trophy for Pre-War Sports Cars
1. Oliver Llewllyn/Tim Llewellyn (Bentley 3/8) 14 laps (75.43mph)
2. Rudiger Friedrichs (Alvia Nash Super Sports) +1.240s
3. Fred Wakeman/Patrick Blakeney-Edwards (Frazer Nash Super Sports) +1:10.663s
Race 11: Yokohama Trophy for FIA Masters Historic Sports Cars
1. Andrew Banks/Max Banks (McLaren M6B) 23 laps (98.94mph)
2. Gary Pearson (Lola T70 MK3B) +42.452s
3. Diogo Ferrao (Lola T292) +47.500s
Race 12: Aston Martin Trophy for Masters Endurance Legends
1. Mike Cantillon/Jonathan Kennard (Pescarolo LMP1) 15 laps (98.23mph)
2. Steve Tandy (Lola B12/60) +3.880s
3. Christophe D’Ansembourg (Lola Aston Martin DBR1-2) +7.512s
Race 13: HSCC Classic F3
1. Christian Olsen (Martini MK39) 9 laps (90.47mph)
2. Ian Jacobs (Ralt RT3) +16.369s
3. Adrian Langridge (March 803) +21.263s
Race 14: HSCC Thundersports Endurance
1. George Hallau (Lola T310) 17 laps (88.43mph)
2. John Burton (Chevron B26) +2.709s
3. Robert Beebee/Joshua Beebee (Lola T70 Mk3B) +58.569s
Race 15: HSCC Historic Formula 2
1. Martin O’Connell (Chevron B40) 10 laps (100.94mph)
2. Miles Griffiths (Ralt RT1) +1.447s
3. Darwin Smith (March 722) +15.962s
Race 16: Historic Touring Car Challenge
1. Michael Lyons (Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500) 19 laps (80.41mph)
2. Craig Davies (Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500) +10.036s
3. Steve Dance (Ford Capri) +10.519s
Race 17: Sir Jackie Stewart Trophy for FIA Masters Historic Formula One
1. Steve Hartley (McLaren MP4/1) 11 laps (114.65mph)
2. Mike Cantillon (Williams FW07C) +6.372s
3. Christophe D’Ansembourg (Williams FW07C) +21.251
Race 18: International Trophy for Classic GT Cars (Pre ’66)
1. Julian Thomas/Calum Lockie (Shelby Daytona Cobra) 20 laps (85.50mph)
2. David Hart/ Oliver Hart (AC Cobra Daytona Coupe) +12.613s
3. Graeme Dodd/James Dodd (Jaguar E-Type) +36.229s
Race 19: Gallet Trophy for Pre ’66 Grand Prix Cars (HGPCA)
1. Sam Wilson (Lotus 18 372) 9 laps (92.75mph)
2. Jon Fairley (Brabham BT11/19) +3.970s
3. Will Nuthall (Cooper T53) +6.315s
Race 20: Aston Martin Trophy for Masters Endurance Legends
1. Mike Cantillon/Jonathan Kennard (Pescarolo LMP1) 21 laps (113.34mph)
2. Steve Tandy (Lola B12/60) +1.663s
3. David Porter (Peugeot 90X) +43.021s
Race 21: Mini Celebration Trophy Presented By Adrian Flux
1. Adam Morgan (Morris Mini Cooper S) 8 laps (81.96mph)
2. Ian Curley (Austin Mini Cooper S) +5.007s
3. Michael Caine (Austin Mini Cooper S) +5.447s
After the scorching weather enjoyed at last year’s Classic, and with the same at this year’s Friday qualifying, Saturday’s early morning rain was a disappointment. Even though the rain relented later, only to return on Sunday morning, the weekend was generally dull, grey, windy and a touch on the chilly side.
All photos @ Peter Osborne