The 25th anniversary Silverstone Classic had a mixture of awful weather and glorious sunshine.
Racing cars from the last ten decades performed competitively, whether single seaters or comfortable GTs.
The three-day festival topped a record 100,000 visitors. On the Sunday, a special Silver Sunday Parade brought together more than 200 silver models from Land Rover to Lexus, MG to Mercedes and Saab to Ssangyong – the Classic’s official car partner.
A few of TIGOSE Members took part in the races. Spot them in the report below (information provided by Silverstone Classic’s organisers and media office).
Peter Arundell Trophy for Historic Formula Junior
From second on the capacity 54-strong grid, Sam Wilson’s Lotus 20/22 got the best start as pole-sitter Jonathan Milicevic spun his Cooper T59 out of contention.
Jonathan Hughes’ Brabham BT6 and Andrew Hibberd’s Lotus 22 disputed second place until the latter spun, securing Hughes the runner-up spoils and promoting Callum Grant to the final podium position in his Merlyn Mk5/7.
1) Sam Wilson (Lotus 20/22): 9 Laps
2) Jonathan Hughes (Brabham BT6): +5.168
3) Callum Grant (Merlyn Mk5/7): +8.022
Stirling Moss Trophy for pre-’61 Sports Cars
Gregor Fisken fought his way through from fifth on the grid in his stunning scarlet red Ferrari 246S, securing a commanding victory in a car that was raced back in 1961 by Formula One legends Phil Hill and Wolfgang von Trips.
The podium was completed by Wood and Will Nuthall’s Lister Knobbly, ahead of Rob Hall and Andrew Willis’ Lola Mk1 and Kent and Crispin Harris’ Lister Costin Jaguar.
1) Gregor Fisken (Ferrari 246S): 21 Laps
2) Gary Pearson (Lister Jaguar Knobbly): +13.737
3) Tony Wood / Will Nuthall (Lister Knobbly): +26.394
Warwick Banks Trophy for Under 2 Litre Touring Cars
British Touring Car Championship duo Gordon Shedden and Matt Neal avenged their 2014 disappointment by grabbing victory at the wheel of their Team Dynamics-prepared Ford Lotus Cortina.
Oliver’s team-mate Richard Shaw and Shedden staged a spectacular tussle for the lead, both pushing very hard with plenty of sideways, side-by-side and tail-happy thrills. ‘Flash’ got the move made into Stowe on lap 12, and after fighting off a renewed challenge from Shaw, he edged away, with Neal praising his BTCC team-mate for driving ‘like a demon’. The BMW dropped to fifth after a post race penalty was issued for speeding in the pitlane.
A late retirement for Andrew and Max Banks’ Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GTA and a further pit-lane speeding penalty for Andrew Smith’s BMW elevated Sumpter and former BTCC battler Mike Jordan to second on the rostrum ahead of Meaden and Grant Tromans.
1) Matt Neal / Gordon Shedden (Ford Lotus Cortina): 18 Laps
2) Mark Sumpter / Mike Jordan (Ford Lotus Cortina): +13.867
3) Richard Meaden / Grant Tromans (Ford Lotus Cortina): +34.142
Kidston Trophy for Pre-War Sports Cars
A slow getaway from Frederic Wakeman in the front row-starting Frazer Nash Super Sports was a mere distant memory when the 40 minutes of racing drew to a close as both he and team-mate Pat Blakeney-Edwards eventually claimed a hard-fought victory.
1) Frederic Wakeman / Pat Blakeney-Edwards (Frazer Nash): 14 Laps
2) Gareth Burnett (Talbot 105 Alpine): +19.208
3) Rudiger Friedrichs (Alvis Speed 20 SA): +19.838
FIA Masters Historic Formula One
Martin Stretton survived a slow start and a late scare, to triumph behind the wheel of his Tyrrell 12 in a thrillingly close-fought encounter. Sam Hancock snatched the lead in the Fittipaldi F5A, when the lights went out, and when Stretton straight-lined Maggots on the opening lap, enabling Steve Hartley’s Arrows A4 to steal through into second at Becketts.
The pole-sitter reclaimed the position at Brooklands next time round, before pulling off a spectacular manoeuvre on lap four to sweep all the way around the outside of Hancock through Village and The Loop. As Stretton made good his escape – scampering away to the tune of eight seconds – he left a five-way scrap in his wake between Hancock, Loïc Deman’s Tyrrell 10, the Tyrrell 11 of Andy Wolfe, Gregory Thornton’s Lotus 91/5 and Hartley.
The top six cars all flashed across the finish line blanketed by barely six seconds – harking back to the good old days indeed!
1) Martin Stretton (Tyrrell 12): 13 Laps
2) Sam Hancock (Fittiapldi F5A): +1.763
3) Loïc Deman (Tyrrell 10): +2.275
Super Touring Car Trophy
Frank Wrathall marked his return to the Silverstone Classic by storming to a superb victory in his Audi 80 Quattro – from right the way down in 12th on the starting grid. James Dodd made the early running in his Honda Accord from the similar car of Stuart Whyte and Patrick Watts, who subsequently spun his Peugeot 406 on lap two.
1) Frank Wrathall (Audi 80 Quattro): 9 Laps
2) James Dodd (Honda Accord): +4.418
3) Stewart Whyte (Honda Accord): +25.264
Maserati Trophy for HGPCA pre-’66 Grand Prix Cars
Tim Harvey continued the theme of BTCC stars proving their mettle in a variety of different machinery by overhauling Will Nuthall’s Cooper T53 for victory on his first outing in the Cooper T51. Both men out-accelerated pole-sitter Julian Bronson off the starting line, as Jon Fairley rocketed up the order from 13th into third.
1) Tim Harvey (Cooper T51): 9 Laps
2) Will Nuthall (Cooper T53): +2.035
3) Jon Fairley (Brabham BT11): +12.549
Jet Battle of Britain Trophy
Mike Whitaker proved unstoppable, darting immediately into second place from fourth on the grid and relieving pole-sitter Matt Nicoll-Jones of the lead later around the opening lap. Thereafter, the TVR Griffith stretched its legs and went on to claim a comfortable victory, with Nicoll-Jones’ Jaguar E-type clinching the runner-up spoils and former BTCC legend Steve Soper rounding out the podium following a solid drive in a similar car.
1) Mike Whitaker (TVR Griffith): 9 Laps
2) Matt Nicoll-Jones (Jaguar E-type): +17.468
3) Steve Soper (Jaguar E-type): +37.368
FIA Masters Historic Sports Cars
Martin O’Connell flew solo as he sped to victory in a hotly contested race that could have gone any of four different ways. Former World Touring Car Champion Rob Huff’s Lola T70 Mk3B led away from pole position ahead of a feisty O’Connell in his Chevron B19, with Grant Tromans in another Lola T70 Mk3B giving chase and Marino Franchitti soon up to fourth from 14th in a similar car.
O’Connell eventually assumed the lead, with Meaden slotting into second – and the order would remain that way right the way to the chequered flag.
Having spun on his ‘out’ lap following the pit-stops, Tromans’ team-mate Martin Stretton made amends by relieving Meins of third, with the Lola T70 Mk3B of Jason Wright and Andy Wolfe, Anthony and Ollie Hancock’s Lola T212 and Daniel Gibson’s Broadley Lola T70 Mk3B all similarly deposing the early race leader before the end.
1) Martin O’Connell (Chevron B19): 21 Laps
2) Richard Meaden / Marino Franchitti (Lola T70 Mk3B): +8.874
3) Grant Tromans / Martin Stretton (Lola T70 Mk3B): +20.693
International Trophy for Classic GT Cars (pre-’66)
Martin O’Connell proved that 50 minutes of flat-out racing had not wearied him by making it back-to-back triumphs in this terrific hour-long encounter after overcoming a brace of fierce rivals.
Following a brief spell at the front for pole-sitter Matt Neal in the Sunbeam Le Mans Tiger, Michael Gans moved to the head of the field in his AC Cobra, initially pulling away – until O’Connell in his Jaguar E-type and Mike Whitaker’s TVR Griffith began to home in, the former from all the way down in 25th on the grid.
By lap five, it was three for the lead and what ensued was a superb spectacle as Gans used all of the Cobra’s straight-line speed to gamely defend from his marauding adversaries.
The trio ran side-by-side as they weaved their way spiritedly through the backmarkers and even past a spinner immediately across their bows. Gans’ phenomenal defensive effort under intense pressure only came to an end when he hung the tail out once too often and a tank-slapper on the exit of Copse on lap 11 finally released O’Connell.
Whilst Gans’ team-mate Andy Wolfe briefly threatened to redress the balance once the pit-stops had been completed as hunter turned hunted, O’Connell was up to the challenge and responded in fine style. Whitaker wound up a distant third, just two seconds ahead of Sean McInerney’s TVR Griffith, which stormed through from 54th on the grid and even had time to serve a stop-go penalty along the way!
1) Martin O’Connell (Jaguar E-type): 25 Laps
2) Michael Gans / Andy Wolfe (AC Cobra): +12.508
3) Mike Whitaker (TVR Griffith): +41.026
Christophe d’Ansembourg and Bob Berridge waged a no-holds-barred early battle in the final race of the day, as the iconic Group C cars brought some Le Mans fever to Silverstone by racing evocatively into the twilight. The 1991 Silk Cut Jaguar XJR14 and 1992 Nissan R90 exchanged places on several occasions in a captivating duel, before the Belgian pulled clear. Pole-sitter Steve Tandy in a 1990 Spice SE90 GTP finished third.
1) Christophe d’Ansembourg (Jaguar XJR14): 14 Laps
2) Bob Berridge (Nissan R90): +15.868
3) Steve Tandy (Spice SE90 GTP): +28.065
RAC Woodcote Trophy for Pre ‘56 Sports Cars
Chris Ward began the race in one car, took the chequered flag in another, mastered the treacherous conditions and set fastest lap for good measure in a superb curtain-raiser.
The former chief Silverstone instructor grabbed the initial advantage in the Cooper-Jaguar T33, but oil smoke on the second lap precipitated an unscheduled pit visit and a significant delay. A subsequent stop-go penalty for speeding in the pit-lane rubbed salt into the wounds and ruled the car out of reasonable contention.
That promoted the scrap for second – waged between Frederic Wakeman’s Cooper-Jaguar T38, Gary Pearson’s Jaguar D-type and John Young’s C-type – into a tussle for the top spot that continued right the way through to the driver changes. Pearson hung on to claim a very solid second, but behind, Blakeney-Edwards fell prey to a charging Simon Hadfield, whose Aston Martin DB3S had languished outside the top 20 when he took over at the wheel. Setting a searing pace, he snatched the final podium position from the Cooper T38 almost within sight of the chequered flag.
1) John Young / Chris Ward (Jaguar C-type): 21 Laps
2) Gary Pearson (Jaguar D-type): +12.541
3) Wolfgang Friedrichs / Simon Hadfield (Aston Martin DB3S): +30.192
Peter Arundell Trophy for Historic Formula Junior
Following an aborted first start – caused by a multi-car midfield accident – the action got underway at the second time of asking behind the safety car. From the front row of the grid, Sam Wilson stormed into an immediate lead in his Lotus 20/22 and would never again be headed, although he was put under serious pressure by Jonathan Hughes’ Brabham BT6.
1) Sam Wilson (Lotus 20/22): 5 Laps
2) Jonathan Hughes (Brabham BT6): +0.801
3) Callum Grant (Merlyn Mk5/7): +21.915
RAC Tourist Trophy for Historic Cars (Pre ’63 GT)
Simon Hadfield was again the star of the show, with a judiciously timed pit-stop and supreme wet weather prowess paving the way to a commanding victory.
As conditions and visibility deteriorated, the opening half of the race took place behind the safety car, and when the track went ‘green’, there was a Jaguar E-type duel at the front of the field between Rob Hall and James Cottingham.
Further back in the pack, Wolfgang Friedrichs’ Aston Martin DB4 GT and Martin Hunt in the AC Cobra had pitted under the safety car – whereas a number of others hadn’t – with the upshot that their respective team-mates Hadfield and Patrick Blakeney-Edwards returned to the track in first and second positions.
While Hadfield thereafter made good his escape, Blakeney-Edwards consistently happened upon traffic at precisely the wrong moment, allowing the pursuing Jaguars of Hall and Cottingham to close in and – ultimately – overtake him before the chequered flag.
1) Wolfgang Friedrichs / Simon Hadfield (Aston Martin DB4 GT): 14 Laps
2) Rob Hall (Jaguar E-type): +14.924
3) James Cottingham (Jaguar E-type): +24.014
FIA Masters Historic Formula One
Saturday winner Martin Stretton led throughout in his Tyrrell 012 – making it cause for a double weekend success, albeit in considerably more inclement conditions – but he was kept honest throughout by Sam Hancock’s Fittipaldi F5A.
Whilst Stretton made a mid-race break, Hancock closed in dramatically on the final lap when Stretton was inadvertently held up while lapping a midfielder in the Becketts complex.
Behind, there was a superb duel between Loic Deman’s Tyrrell 010 and Andy Wolfe’s Tyrrell 011 – ultimately resolved in favour of the latter – although by the end of the race, Nick Padmore had latched right onto their tail in the considerably older Lotus 77. Padmore pulled off a number of spectacular overtakes along the way as he worked his way up the order.
1) Martin Stretton (Tyrrell 012): 10 Laps
2) Sam Hancock (Fittipaldi F5A): +0.652
3) Andy Wolfe (Tyrrell 011): +19.988
HSCC Guards Trophy
Pole-sitter Martin O’Connell was left down in 20th position after his own early stop, but he would eventually go on to produce an utterly dominant drive.
The Chevron B8s of James Schryver and Hugh Colman traded blows in the opening exchanges but it was a silver Jaguar E-type wowing the crowds with a surging drive from 19th on the grid. Making the most of the treacherous conditions, its driver Julian Thomas grabbed the lead after weaving his way past the more powerful Chevrons, but any dreams of victory were dashed when he missed the pit window.
When the dust and drizzle settled it was O’Connell back in front as he produced a series of fastest laps on his way to winning the race by more than a minute. It was a fitting victory for O’Connell – his third of the weekend – and particularly with Chevron celebrating its 50th anniversary year. His success earned him the coveted Motor Sport magazine Driver of the Weekend Award.
Dion Kremer claimed a lonely second with Michael Schryver’s Chevron B6 completing the podium.
1) Martin O’Connell (Chevron B8): 13 Laps
2) Dion Kremer (Elva Mk8): +1:03.423
3) Michael Schryver / Simon Hadfield (Chevron B6): +1:37.179
Super Touring Car Trophy
Worsening weather later in the afternoon made for shortened races, and from pole position, the Honda Accord of Stewart Whyte led from lights-to-flag – although he had to stave off a fired-up Patrick Watts over the course of the final lap.
Behind the wheel of his Peugeot 406, the former historic rally champion clearly revelled in the grip-less conditions and had reduced Whyte’s advantage to less than a third-of-a-second at the finish line, posting the fastest lap of the race along the way.
Dutchman Jan Bot wound up a commendable third in a BMW E30 M3, and a spin into the barriers on the final lap for Neil Smith’s Alfa Romeo 156 elevated the colourful BMW 3.0CSL driven by Sam Hancock to fourth.
1) Stewart Whyte (Honda Accord): 5 Laps
2) Patrick Watts (Peugeot 406): +0.327
3) Jan Bot (BMW E30 M3): +10.785
Spice machinery scored an impressive 1-2-3 although the duel for victory was far from straightforward. Steve Tandy and David Methley enjoyed a race-long battle with the latter’s C2 car initially flying from fourth on the grid into the lead.
Tandy remained hot on his heels and as the race entered its final stages he used the greater performance of his 6.5-litre Chevrolet-powered Spice SE90 GTP to blast back past into Copse corner.
The race had been led off the line by Tommy Dreelan’s striking Leyton House Porsche 962 before Tandy and Methley took over. Spice’s podium clean sweep was complete when Aaron Smith took third late on.
1) Steve Tandy (Spice SE90 GTP): 6 Laps
2) David Methley (Spice SE89): +4.319
3) Aaron Scott (Spice SE86): +18.630
Maserati Trophy for HGPCA pre-’66 Grand Prix Cars
The second HGPCA race produced a second win for the impressive Tim Harvey in the ex-Bruce McLaren Grand Prix-winning Cooper T51. Jon Fairley led as the pace car released the field but former British Touring Car Champion Harvey wasted no time grabbing an advantage he was never to relinquish.
Behind, it was the front-engined Scarab of Julian Bronson that flourished in the conditions, slithering its way though from eighth on the grid to take an impressive second place. Will Nuthall claimed the final podium position with Fairley falling back to cross the finish line in fourth.
1) Tim Harvey (Cooper T51): 5 Laps
2) Julian Bronson (Scarab Offenhauser): +9.133
3) Will Nuthall (Cooper T53): +21.873
JET Battle of Britain Trophy
As the harder rain returned, the second Battle of Britain race had the honour of bringing down the curtain on the 25th anniversary 2015 Silverstone Classic. Mike Whitaker had won Saturday’s race in his TVR Griffith and he started from the front with Matt Nicoll-Jones’ Jaguar E-type lining up close behind in second. This time, though, the TVR had to play second fiddle as Nicoll-Jones snared the spoils. Behind, it was the mighty Mini Coopers of Jonathan Lewis and Italian Andrea Stortoni that revelled in the tricky conditions to finish third and fourth.
1) Matt Nicoll-Jones (Jaguar E-type): 4 Laps
2) Mike Whitaker (TVR Griffith): +11.735
3) Jonathan Lewis (Austin Mini Cooper S): +13.263