• Special showdowns to celebrate 75 years of epic motor racing at Silverstone
• Formula 1 heritage to fore on and off famous Grand Prix track
• Star drivers rolling back the years in star cars
• Must-see Le Mans and NASCAR anniversary highlights
• Wide range of tickets on sale – kids under 16 go free!
Celebrating 75 years of world class motorsport at Silverstone, this month’s very special Silverstone Festival (25-27 August) will be jam-packed with wondrous icons from the Grand Prix circuit’s glorious past.
The unrivalled track programme over the end-of-summer Bank Holiday weekend features no fewer than 20 sensational retro races spanning Silverstone’s illustrious history. Dramatic Formula 1 track demos, glittering infield displays and access to the award-winning Silverstone Museum add further to the high octane entertainment open to all visitors.
With so much on offer, choosing ‘must-see’ highlights is a massive challenge. Here, though, are our top ten unmissable attractions.
1. 75th Anniversary Trophy for HGPCA Front Engine Grand Prix Cars
Silverstone hosted its first motor race – a Grand Prix no less – in 1948 (photo above – credit: Michael Turner). Saluting that seminal moment in British motorsport, this year’s 75th anniversary Festival is staging a very special showdown on Sunday for classic front-engined Grand Prix cars from that original era. The incredible line-up includes legendary Alfa Romeo, ERA, Ferrari and Maserati pin-ups, including a couple of racers that contested that very Grand Prix at Silverstone in 1948.
2. Fan Zone putting the spotlight on today’s F1 cars
Bringing the Silverstone story right up-to-date, the Fan Zone gives visitors the rare chance to see the latest Formula 1 cars from Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant, BWT Alpine, McLaren, Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS and Williams Racing up close. In addition, Mercedes and Williams will be showcasing some of the their stunning past British Grand Prix winners with a couple live on track, too.
As if that isn’t enough, access to the Silverstone Museum is included in the price of admission and its own special F1 exhibition includes Ayrton Senna’s 1991 World Championship winning McLaren MP4/6 and Nigel Mansell’s 1992 World Championship winning FW14B. Well worth a visit.
3. On track Formula 1 demos
Further underlining Silverstone as the home of the Grand Prix, this year’s packed Festival race card includes five races for illustrious F1 cars from past golden eras.
Adding to the excitement and aural entertainment, two of the sport’s best-sounding ‘screamers’ will also be revving up for unforgettable track demos. From the circuit’s formative years comes the fearsomely complex BRM Type 15 V16 (photo above), a true British motor sport icon which made its debut at Silverstone in August 1950 and runs today on fossil-free P1 Fuel.
Another highlight is Adam Tyrrell, grandson of legendary F1 team owner Ken, demonstrating the very first Tyrrell 001 as raced by Jackie Stewart in 1970. From more recent times, Esteban Gutiérrez will be putting a V8-propelled 2013 Mercedes F1 W04 through its paces bringing back memories of Lewis Hamilton’s pole-setting exploits in 2013.
4. Honouring 100 years of the 24 Hours of Le Mans
Not only is Silverstone saluting its own 75th anniversary at the Festival but there’s also a nod to the centenary of the world famous 24 Hours of Le Mans. The star-studded bill includes a number of awesome showdowns for GT and sportscars that raced in the Gallic classic, as well as two spectacular showdowns for record numbers of Masters Endurance Legends – superfast prototypes from more recent times. Head-turners lining-up include Aston Martins, Audis, Ferraris, HPD Hondas, Ligiers, Pescarolos, Porsches plus a pair of dazzling V12 diesel-engined Peugeots 908s (photo above). Not to be missed.
5. Winged wonders renew old rivalries
If fire-breathing Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500s from the 1980s are your fix, then don’t miss Saturday morning’s MRL Historic Touring Car Challenge. No fewer than six of these astonishing flame-spitting ‘Cossies’ are entered into a stunning 50-minute showdown which also sees a host of other BTCC greats – including BMWs, Capris, and racy Rovers – all renewing their old rivalries on the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit.
6. Packed grids fuel evergreen passions
Silverstone Festival is famous for wowing huge crowds with full grids of 58 great cars stirring up lots of great memories… and the over-subscribed International Trophy for Classic GT Cars (Pre ’66) never fails to deliver. Saturday afternoon’s capacity field is filled with battling Cobras, Elans, E-types, Healeys and TVRs – it’s another of the captivating Festival’s numerous stand-out crowd-pleasers.
7. Heaven on Earth for Corvette enthusiasts
Chevrolet’s immortal Corvette turns 70 this year and, celebrating that mega-milestone in resounding style, the HSCC Thundersports race stars no fewer than seven of these stellar V8 sportscars from the States, all dating back to the sixties. Adding to the celebrations, the Classic Corvette Club UK will be teaming up with the Corvette Appreciation and Preservation Society for a 70th anniversary track parade on Friday.
8. Stars in the cars
While cars are always the stars at the Festival, big-name drivers with deep-seated motor sport passions are once again out in force. Touring car champions John Cleland, Matt Neal, Andy Priaulx and Steve Soper are among this year’s notable entries. Cleland is racing a 1955 Lotus Mk VI, Neal a 1964 Sunbeam Le Mans Tiger and a 1964 Lotus Cortina with his son Henry, Priaulx a 1965 Shelby Cobra and a 1965 Ford Mustang and Soper a 1990 BMW M3 and 1965 Ford Mustang. Another in the phalanx of mighty Mustangs contesting the Adrian Flux Trophy for TransAtlantic Pre ’66 Touring Cars is shared by Alex Brundle and six-time Olympic champion Sir Chris Hoy.
9. Days of Thunder
Silverstone isn’t the only motorsport deity celebrating its 75th birthday at the Festival – also founded in 1948, top US race series NASCAR is marking the very same milestone in 2023. Bringing some of the rip-roaring ‘Days of Thunder’ excitement to the home of British motorsport, track parades with a full-on demo on Sunday packed with a posse of genuine NASCAR muscle stock cars will be yet another of the must-see – and must-hear – highlights for those who know their Jeff Gordons from their Clint Bowyers.
10. Under the hammer
At last year’s event, a Ford Escort RS Turbo once owned by Princess Diana sold for staggering £650,000 – now, 12 months on, another collection of eye-catching lots are coming under the Iconic Auctioneers’ hammer. All consignments are on display in the Silverstone Wing and notable treasures well worth seeing include rally cars from the late Colin McRae’s stable plus a pair of original Ford Capris from the hit British TV series The Professionals. Bidding is also encouraged!