Biggest Media Day yet promises quantity and quality at summer spectacular
Bikes and sidecars join cars on action-packed family-friendly bill
Freddie Hunt celebrates father James’ F1 title triumph in McLaren M23
1966 World Cup celebrations remembered in car football match
A host of the famous stars and evocative cars that will wow the crowds at this summer’s action-packed Silverstone Classic (29-31 July) revved up at today’s traditional Media Day curtain-raiser.
As the premier event on the historic motor racing calendar, the Silverstone Classic is firmly established as the world’s biggest classic motor racing festival, with last year’s record-breaking silver jubilee extravaganza attracting more than 100,000 visitors for the very first time.
Judging by the attendance and fever around Media Day, 2016’s follow-up is gearing up to be even bigger and better, with the Home of British Motor Sport primed to host the ultimate celebration of classic cars.
With the variety of on-track action matched by a plethora of off-track entertainment, the sheer scale of the event is astonishing – and it is continuing to grow year-on-year, as the vast Silverstone estate is given over to a full-on festival of flat-out fun for all the family.
Some 150 of the world’s finest cars took to the Grand Prix track, while static displays in the paddock highlighted many of the car club anniversaries – with lots of models and marques set to celebrate momentous milestones this summer, including the 50th birthday of the iconic Lamborghini Miura and 25 years of the charismatic Nissan Figaro.
Freddie Hunt was one of the undisputed star attractions, as the 2016 Silverstone Classic prepares to mark the 40th anniversary of his father James Hunt’s Formula 1 World Championship crown. Freddie got behind the wheel of his father’s 1976 title-winning McLaren-Ford M23, and was interviewed by commentating legend Murray Walker for a forthcoming feature on Channel 4’s F1 programme. He was joined by Alastair Caldwell – McLaren Team Manager at the time – who regaled a captivated audience with little-known tales from the 1976 campaign.
Other big names to lend their support were actor and renowned car fanatic Philip Glenister and his co-presenter Ant Anstead from TV’s For The Love Of Cars, Nic Hamilton – brother of World Champion Lewis – and former England international footballer Luther Blissett, who is an ambassador for new event charity partner Prostate Cancer UK.
Touring car heroes Steve Soper, Jeff Allam and Patrick Watts were similarly in attendance, and they will all be appearing on-track as part of the inaugural ‘Tin-Top Sunday’ in July.
For the first time at the Silverstone Classic, there will be four separate touring car grids – the JET Super Touring Car Trophy (1990-2000), Historic Touring Car Challenge (1967-1989), Big-Engined Touring Cars (Pre ’66) and Under 2-Litre Touring Cars (Pre ’66) – bringing together more than 200 of the nation’s best-loved cars.
In another exciting innovation, in addition to the ever-popular Group C twilight race, FIA Masters Historic Formula One, Legends of Modern Formula One and Stirling Moss Trophy amongst many others, the new Can-Am 50 Interserie Challenge will stage its season finale at the Classic. These extreme machines will provide an awesome soundtrack to the event as they celebrate their 50thanniversary in 2016.
Extending the event’s appeal to two- and three-wheeled fans as well as car connoisseurs, this summer’s Classic will also welcome to the bill World GP Bike Legends – off the back of a successful debut at Jerez in Spain last year – and the Sidecar Salute, with 1987 500cc World Champion Wayne Gardner and ten-time ten FIM Sidecar World Champion Steve Webster both in attendance at Media Day.
Away from the racetrack, the impressive infield display will include live music concerts from chart-toppers The Boomtown Rats, The Stranglers and Reef, more than 120 car clubs exhibiting classic models from through the decades, Silverstone Auctions, aviation displays, a live Range Rover restoration with new event partner eBay and – for the first time – a Concours d’Elegance.
In a special feature to commemorate England‘s victory over Germany in the 1966 Football World Cup Final, meanwhile, a car football match with the Classic’s official courtesy car partner SsangYong UK will be held exactly 50 years to the day on Saturday, 30 July.
“Thanks to a tireless effort by the entire organising team, the Silverstone Classic has become a world-class event,” commented Nick Wigley, CEO of organisers, Goose Live Events. “Everybody works all year round to ensure that what we offer remains the biggest and best historic racing you will see anywhere in the world.
“I’m incredibly excited about the addition of the Can-Am celebration this year – the sound will be absolutely immense – as well as the introduction of Tin-Top Sunday. I think deep down, we’ve all got a soft spot for touring cars because they’re the kinds of cars our dads used to drive.
“Not only that, but having always wanted to include some two and three-wheeled action, I’m delighted that we have secured some absolute sporting icons with the World GP Bike Legends and Sidecar Salute.
“The Silverstone Classic has become the unmissable event for all of Britain’s car clubs, and this year there will be some 10,000 beautifully polished classic cars on display for visitors to come and admire over the weekend.
“Ticket sales for the 2016 event are really strong, and at such fabulous value for money, our new family weekend ticket has proven to be immensely popular. All the ingredients are in-place for yet another record-breaking Silverstone Classic!”
All tickets for the 2016 Silverstone Classic must be purchased in advance. Adult admission starts at just £42 and sticks to the Classic’s widely-praised ‘access all areas’ policy, thus providing admission to both National and Wing race paddocks, trackside grandstands, the vintage funfair, air displays and the live music concerts which this year include chart-toppers The Boomtown Rats, Reef and The Stranglers.
Full details of all tickets – as well as hospitality packages, special family offers and weekend festival camping – can be found on the event’s official website: www.silverstoneclassic.com
Above: The 2016 Silverstone Classic revved into life at a busy Media Day today
Below top row: Freddie Hunt previewed a celebration of his father James' 1976 Formula 1 World Championship success, accompanied by commentating legend Murray Walker
Below second left: The 2016 Classic will host the greatest collection of touring cars to-date
Below second right: A packed press conference underscored the event's sky-high popularity
Below third left: Official courtesy car partner SsangYong UK will support a car football match to commemorate England's 1966 World Cup success
Below third right: Actor and car fan Philip Glenister (right) was an enthusiastic attendee, pictured here with co-presenter Ant Anstead
Below fourth left: The Lamborghini Miura celebrates its 50th birthday at the 2016 Classic
Below fourth right: The Classic marks 25 years of the charismatic Nissan Figaro
Below bottom: Multiple Sidecar World Champion Steve Webster and 1987 500cc World Champion Wayne Gardner herald a couple of new additions at the 2016 Classic