After a successful 2008 Silverstone Classic, where over 57,000 visitors saw 21 races and enjoyed three days of family entertainment both on and off the track, Event Director Roger Etcell unveiled some of the plans for next year’s Silverstone Classic in a press conference held in the International Media Centre.
Murray Walker – Silverstone Classic Ambassador
Murray Walker, who has been the special guest this year, has agreed to become the Ambassador to the Silverstone Classic, coinciding perfectly with the launch of his new book and his long association with Silverstone.
Murray Walker said: "I have been very well aware over the past few weeks or so that Motion Works, who have been organising this whole magnificent extravaganza, have been putting an absolutely gargantuan amount of hard work into this event. The work has been done with pleasantness, cheerfulness and gigantic efficiency and I am genuinely impressed with the whole thing. I'm sure you won’t speak to anyone, whether they are a competitor or a spectator, who won’t say the same thing. I've been talking to a lot of the punters, the people who have paid money to come here, and I can tell you that they are all have smiles on their faces. This is the first time Motion Works have done it and I don't know how it can get better when it is absolutely fabulous already. I'm delighted to be associated with the Silverstone Classic."
Dates for 2009
The 2009 Silverstone Classic will take place on 24/25/26 July**, retaining the traditional date of the last weekend in July. After successfully attracting a crowd of over 50,000 this year, in 2009 Motion Works is looking to attract at least 65,000 three-day visitors with a bigger and even better event that will feature further enhanced racing, a greater number of car clubs and classic cars, more live music, a bigger exhibition area with more themed trade malls, more air displays and other family orientated entertainment.
Live TV and online streaming
Pan European broadcaster Motors TV has confirmed two days of live TV coverage for next year’s event. New for 2009 will be the online streaming of the live TV coverage on the Silverstone Classic website, giving the event worldwide coverage.
Jaguar, the celebrated marque
The celebrated marque next year will be Jaguar, 60 years after the company first went racing with the XK120, winning first time out here at Silverstone. In 1949 Jaguar factory workers arrived at Silverstone in coaches, paying 16 shillings to watch their car win.
Michael Quinn, Patron of the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust and grandson of Jaguar founder Sir William Lyons, said: "Obviously we are delighted that Jaguar has been chosen to be the featured marque next year. It is wholly appropriate that 60 years after the XK120's first ever race, where they came in first and second, which is an anniversary well worth celebrating. I was quite interested and amused to hear that the factory workers paid 16 shillings to watch their company race as my grandfather didn't give anything away. On a personal note I have been competing and I would just like to add to Murray's comments about the organisation of this event. I love the fact that the event is designed to be approachable and is appealing to families. There are a lot of children here and drivers are putting them in their cars and showing them around. It is extremely important, especially in the historic racing world, that we appeal to the younger generation. We are really looking forward to being a part of the 2009 event."
New race for Super Touring Cars
New for the 2009 event will be a completely new race format for mid 90’s Super Touring Cars, capturing the great days of BTCC. Organisers will be targeting at least 30 cars to take part and as many original drivers as possible competing for the annual David Leslie Memorial Trophy.
World Record Attempt
A new world record will be attempted in association with Classic & Sports Car Magazine to get 1000 classic road cars on track at the same time. A £10 entry fee per car will raise £10,000 for a nominated charity.
James Elliott, Editor of Classic & Sports Car Magazine said: "It's probably not the best known world record but there is one for the greatest number of classic cars on a track at one time, moving. It is currently in the 870's and was set at Hockenheim. They keep trying to beat their own record and keep failing and there is no reason why we can't beat this record as there are so many fabulous cars here. So we're going to work with Roger Etcell and his team to do a big push and smash this record next year by a long, long way and make this a British record. Classic & Sports Car are going to be pushing very hard but we would like all the press to help us push it so we can establish a world record for this event and for Silverstone."
Roger Etcell, Silverstone Classic Event Director said: "We are pleased to announce that the crowd figure for the three days is 57,000, compared to 41,000 last year and above our target of 49,000 we announced at the media day in March. Motion Works will work to build on the success of this year, aiming to attract over 65,000 people to the 2009 Silverstone Classic with enhancements across the range of entertainment and building towards our ultimate goal of 90,000 by 2010. I'd like to thank everyone involved in putting on this event, especially the competitors who we asked a lot of to keep the paddock clear of transporters and trailers and now that we've set the precedent we can maintain the open paddock from here on and I can only thank the competitors and their mechanics for their support. The whole concept of the Silverstone Classic is 'touch-feel-talk' and hopefully we are achieving that. We're very pleased with the racing element, chuffed with the car clubs involvement, the air displays, music and all the other elements; we couldn't have asked for anything better in just six months since we've taken over the event. With all the elements we've announced today we are confident that the 2009 Silverstone Classic will be bigger and better."
The annual Silverstone Classic is organised and promoted by Motion Works UK Limited (MWUK), the company recently licensed by Silverstone to stage the event for the next five years.
The annual Silverstone Classic is a celebration of motor racing across all decades from the 1920s to the 1990s on a current FIA approved circuit and is not totally historic as it also invites more contemporary races such as Group C, Saloons and late Formula One cars to be raced and seen in their appropriate surroundings. For more information, ticket prices and the latest news on the 2008 Silverstone Classic visit silverstoneclassic.com
** provisional dates which will be confirmed after F1 dates are issued by the FIA