Anniversary Celebrations at Silverstone
Past Champions and legends from the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) were at Silverstone to celebrate the 50th, 60th and 80th anniversaries of the BTCC, Silverstone and British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) respectively.
The anniversary celebrations, which took place during Silverstone’s round of the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship, involved a host of BTCC stars being reunited with some of the iconic cars that have graced the championship during its illustrious 50 year history.
The historic Northamptonshire circuit was also celebrating a milestone anniversary of its own – 2008 marking 60 years since Silverstone hosted the first-ever Grand Prix in 1948 – while the BRDC, of which many of the attending BTCC legends are members, was also celebrating its 80th Anniversary.
Former BTCC Champions who attended the festivities included Jack Sears – winner of the inaugural 1958 British Saloon Car Championship, as it was known back then; 1961 Champion, Sir John Whitmore; 1965 Champion, Roy Pierpoint; three time Champion Bill McGovern – 1970 to 1972 inclusive; Richard Longman – Champion in 1978 and 1979; Andy Rouse – winner of a record 60 races and four BTCC titles (1975, and 1983-1985 inclusive); and Chris Hodgetts – ’86 and ’87 Champion. The Champions were also joined by a host of BTCC legends such as Jackie Oliver, Gordon Spice, Jeff Allam, Martin Thomas and Tony Dron, taking part in ‘Meet and Greet’ sessions with the race day crowd, and jumping behind the wheel of the iconic classic BTCC cars for a celebratory Parade Lap around Silverstone’s National Circuit. In addition to the anniversary celebrations, and despite the inclement weather, a 27,000 strong crowd enjoyed three titanic battles in each of the BTCC races.
Jason Plato won Race 1, with Fabrizio Giovanardi winning Race 2 and BRDC Superstar Mat Jackson Race 3. However, the biggest winner on the day was possibly Italian driver Giovanardi, who tightened his grip on the 2008 Championship. Richard Phillips, Managing Director of Silverstone Circuits Limited, commented,
“We have had a fantastic weekend of celebrations, both on and off the track. It was great to see the British Touring Car Championship back at the Home of British Motor Racing, and our shorter National Circuit produced its fair share of action and drama for the fans.” Speaking about the anniversary celebrations, Phillips added, “I would like to thank all of the drivers and car owners for their tremendous support today. It was fantastic to see so many legends and cars in the same place at the same time. “
"Celebrating three milestone anniversaries was always going to make this a special weekend and the atmosphere certainly lived up to expectations. The fans loved having the opportunity to meet the drivers - many of whom are Members of the BRDC, and all have extremely fond memories of racing here at Silverstone. They are all part of the circuit’s rich heritage and today has been a perfect tribute to the BTCC, Silverstone and the BRDC”.