10 things to look forward to at the 2022 Silverstone Classic

Old favourites and new, plus celebrations galore, reshape the massive historic jamboree for its revised August bank holiday date this weekend. Here are 10 highlights to look forward to at the Silverstone Classic

10 things to look forward to at the 2022 Silverstone Classic

This weekend's Silverstone Classic is one of the most eagerly-anticipated events on the historic racing calendar. And with 20 races across the weekend, there's something for everybody to see at the home of British motor racing.

Here's our pick of what to look out for.

1. Lewis Hamilton's winners on show

Hamilton clinched his first world title with the McLaren MP4-23 of 2008, which will be on display with each of his six other title-winning cars

Hamilton clinched his first world title with the McLaren MP4-23 of 2008, which will be on display with each of his six other title-winning cars

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Seven-time world champion Sir Lewis Hamilton’s title-winning cars will be seen together for the first time as part of a special celebration for fans of the 37-year-old as Formula 1 takes centre stage at the Silverstone Classic.

Hamilton’s McLaren-Mercedes MP4-23 of 2008 – his second season at the sport’s pinnacle – will be displayed with Mercedes F1 W05 and W06 chassis from 2014 and 2015, and Mercedes-AMG F1 W08, W09, W10 and W11 of 2017-20 respectively.

Among his 103 grand prix victories, 68 in his championship seasons alone, the Briton has a proud record at Silverstone, where wins in 2008, 2014-17 and 2019-21 enraptured home supporters. Hamilton has also finished second in 2010 and 2018 (plus the separate 70th Anniversary GP in 2020) and third in 2007 and this July.

Apart from his current Mercedes-AMG W13, Alpine, Aston Martin, Red Bull and Williams are displaying this season’s cars at Silverstone. Supporters will also have the opportunity of experiencing F1 simulators on site.

2. Sir Frank Williams tribute

At the scene of his team's first win with Clay Regazzoni in 1979, late F1 team boss Frank Williams will be commemorated

At the scene of his team's first win with Clay Regazzoni in 1979, late F1 team boss Frank Williams will be commemorated

Photo by: Motorsport Images

It took 10 years of graft, heartbreak and extraordinary resilience for Frank Williams’s F1 team to win its first world championship grand prix. When Clay Regazzoni triumphed at Silverstone in 1979, in a Cosworth DFV-powered Williams FW07 designed by Patrick Head, rivals were thrilled for Frank.

He almost struck gold twice in 1969, Frank Williams Racing Cars’ F1 debut year. Driving Frank’s Brabham-Cosworth BT26, his great friend Piers Courage finished runner-up second time out in Monaco, and in the USA. Tragically, Courage died in the team’s de Tomaso at Zandvoort in 1970.

Lesser men would have quit, but Williams – who died last year – battled through perilously thin years until Jacques Laffite finished second in Germany in an eponymous FW04 in 1975. Following a fractious 1976 season with oilman Walter Wolf, Frank formed Williams Grand Prix Engineering with Head.

Alan Jones’s 1980 driver’s title was followed by Keke Rosberg (1982), Nelson Piquet (1987), Nigel Mansell (1992), Alain Prost (1993), Damon Hill (1996) and Jacques Villeneuve (1997). Where better to honour Williams’s eight constructors’ crowns than Silverstone, scene of eight of its 114 GP wins.

3. Grand Prix cars through the ages

DFV power, no less vibrant than in 1967 when Jim Clark won the British GP, will be on display in the Masters Racing Legends for three-litre F1 cars

DFV power, no less vibrant than in 1967 when Jim Clark won the British GP, will be on display in the Masters Racing Legends for three-litre F1 cars

Photo by: Schlegelmilch/Motorsport Images

A stunning selection of grand prix cars that have defined motorsport over the past 90 years will be at Silverstone, many competing across diverse grids.

The broadest spectrum of these will grace the Historic Grand Prix Cars Association’s span, featuring front-engined Maserati 250F, Cooper-Bristol, Scarab and Kurtis-Offenhauser from the 1950s, when the world championship’s maiden decade kicked-off at Silverstone.

PLUS: The front-engined "s*** beetle" that was born obsolete

Coopers and Lotuses showcase 1954-60 2.5-litre F1 and its 1500cc successor to 1965 in which screaming V8s will lose out to deep-throated, wider-tyred Tasman and InterContinental Formula Brabhams but outcorner them.

The wail of Cosworth DFV engines – of the type with which Jim Clark won the British GP at Silverstone on the engine’s fourth outing in July 1967 – will be heard in the Masters Racing Legends three-litre races. Williams FW06, 07B and 07C pilots chase the Frank Williams Memorial Trophy at the scene of his equipe’s emotional maiden victory.

A small Ignition GP demo pack of 1990s cars stars McLaren MP4/7, Benetton, Jordan, Minardis, Brabham BT60 and an Onyx!

4. Derek Bell heads Group C cavalcade

John Fitzpatrick will get back behind the wheel of a restored Porsche 956

John Fitzpatrick will get back behind the wheel of a restored Porsche 956

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Five-time Le Mans winner Derek Bell, 80, will demonstrate the last of the iconic Rothmans Porsche 962s as 25 stunning cars, curated by guru Henry Pearman, celebrate Group C’s 40th anniversary. Porsches, Jaguars and a Sauber-Mercedes are among those set to run on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

Driving a factory Rothmans 956, Bell and Jacky Ickx were the Group C winners in the 1982 Six Hours of Silverstone World Endurance Championship round. Bell will demonstrate 962 #008 in which he and Hans-Joachim Stuck finished third in the 1987 Silverstone 1000km.

John Fitzpatrick will be reunited with the newly restored JDavid 956 #110, his and Derek Warwick’s 1983 Brands Hatch 1000km winner. John Watson and Kenneth Acheson – in his Sauber-Mercedes C9, a sister to his 1989 mount – are among the era’s returning stars.

Alex Brundle has the privilege of driving one of the Silk Cut Jaguar XJR-8s his father Martin drove in 1987. The rare sight of three XJR-6s, two in British Racing Green, will remind fans of Warwick and Eddie Cheever’s 1986 Silverstone 1000km victory.

5. Junior school sports day

Top Formula Junior racer Sam Wilson will face stiff competition once more

Top Formula Junior racer Sam Wilson will face stiff competition once more

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Formula Junior was active for only six seasons – from 1958-63 – as a contemporary category for rising stars. Almost 60 years after it was supplanted by 1000cc F3, its influence in original theatres of motorised warfare globally transcends that of any other.

Founded by solicitor and motorsport historian Duncan Rabagliati in 1993, the Formula Junior Historic Racing Association (FJHRA) has upheld pre-war Italian nobleman racer Count Giovanni ‘Johnny’ Lurani’s concept – for cars powered by production engines to 1100cc – brilliantly.

Silverstone Classic mornings would not be the same without the Junior school ‘sports day’ slipstreamers, which open the racecards. Thirteen-time winner Sam Wilson is back in the Cooper T59 with which he claimed gold in 2011’s double-header, before switching to a Lotus 20/22.

Tough rivals include Lotus 22 drivers Andrew Hibberd, Cameron Jackson (in Martin Walford’s) and Howden Ganley’s protege Horatio Fitz-Simon, Brabham quartet Jon Milicevic, Michael O’Brien and Alex Ames (BT6s) and American Tim de Silva (BT2), Switzerland’s Philipp Buhofer (Lotus 27) and Westie Mitchell (De Sanctis).

6. 90 years of sportscar racing

Plenty of sportscar variety will be on display at the Classic, with John Burton's Chevron among the cars to beat in Thundersports

Plenty of sportscar variety will be on display at the Classic, with John Burton's Chevron among the cars to beat in Thundersports

Photo by: Motorsport Images

From thudding Bentleys of the 1920s, when WO’s cars ruled the Le Mans 24 Hours, to high-downforce composite prototypes of the 2010s, there is racing for every sportscar fanatic at this year’s Classic.

Expect tail-happy Frazer-Nashes, Rudi Friedrichs’s hot Alvis Firefly, an Alfa Romeo 8C and Lago-Talbots to pursue the rapid Alta from Surrey engineer Geoffrey Taylor’s concern in Motor Racing Legends’ Pre-War race. Aston Martins – one with Darren Turner up – and lofty Talbot AV105s colour the grid.

Gruff Lister-Jaguars and Jaguar C and D-types take on Maseratis, Ferraris, HWMs, Cooper Monacos and a host of very fast Lotuses when MRL’s joint Royal Automobile Club Woodcote Trophy/Stirling Moss Trophy grid spotlights the 1950s on Sunday.

Masters Sports Car Legends will feature mighty Lola-Chevrolet T70s battling two-litre Chevrons, Lolas, Taydec and Daren, recalling Brian Redman, Jo Bonnier and Ronnie Peterson’s heroics in period Aston Martin Owners Club Martini Trophy races at Silverstone. The Historic Sports Car Club’s Thundersports net is cast wider with slick-shod Lola and McLaren Can-Am cars and Osella-BMWs trying to beat brilliant veteran John Burton (Chevron B26).

7. Tony Dron Memorial Trophy tin-topper

The late Tony Dron will be remembered in the Historic Touring Car Challenge race

The late Tony Dron will be remembered in the Historic Touring Car Challenge race

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Beating three-litre Ford Capri V6s in a two-litre Triumph Dolomite Sprint in the 1977 British GP support race at Silverstone rates among the late journalist racer Tony Dron’s greatest victories. Honouring the proud BRDC member’s hugely successful driving career in MRL’s Historic Touring Car Challenge title is thus entirely justified.

‘The Dron’, who stepped back from F3 and won five rounds outright that season, finished equal on points with Bernard Unett (Chrysler Avenger 1300GT), who faced thinner opposition in the baby class. Despite winning 10 times to Unett’s nine, the arcane scoring system favoured Unett for his third crown.

The 56-car pack encapsulates a heady melange of tin-top eras, with 500bhp-plus Nissan Skyline and Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500 turbocars out front. Super Tourers, bewinged Capri-GAAs and BMW CSL ‘Batmobiles’ and Group 1 cars are bound to be embroiled in their own fights, as will Lotus Cortinas and Alfa Romeo GTAs in the Under 2-litre Touring Car split.

A big Pre-’66 pack, spanning Ford Falcon and Mustang V8s to Mini Cooper Ss, contests Sunday’s Transatlantic Trophy curtain-closer.

8. March of the mods in F2

Matthew Watts is tipped as one of the favourites in historic F2 with his March-BMW

Matthew Watts is tipped as one of the favourites in historic F2 with his March-BMW

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Formula 2 in 1600cc and two-litre guises traversed Europe as a colourful circus of F1 wannabes vying for talent scouts’ and sponsors’ attention from 1967-78, the HSCC’s historic retrospective’s pre-wing car cut-off point.

Made in nearby Bicester, March’s 782 is widely hailed as the marque’s finest product. Powered by BMW Motorsport’s M12 engines, Bruno Giacomelli won eight of the 12 rounds in 1978, while Alex Ribeiro scored on Nurburgring’s Nordschleife in his Hart 420R-motivated 782.

Naturally, 782s will be at the sharp end of the action. Matt Wrigley arrives fresh from winning both Oulton Park Gold Cup races in his Hart-powered ex-Rad Dougall Toleman Group car. But Andy Smith – who debuted Richard Evans’s ex-Eddie Cheever car here superbly in May – and Matthew Watts will be tough to beat.

Chassis variety comes courtesy of Ben Mitchell in Watts’s Martini-BMW MK19/22, American Tim De Silva (Fred Opert Racing Chevron B35), Dean Forward (Surtees TS10), Marc Mercer and Greg Audi (Ralt RT1s), David Tomlin (Motul) and Nick Pink (Lola T360).

9. GT cars spanning seven decades

Racelogic Shelby American Daytona Cobra will be among the frontrunners in huge Intercontinental Trophy Classic field

Racelogic Shelby American Daytona Cobra will be among the frontrunners in huge Intercontinental Trophy Classic field

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Gran Turismo means different things across the generations, and Classicgoers will witness an unprecedented spectrum of eras contrasting Sunday’s Pre-’63 Royal Automobile Club Historic Tourist Trophy to McLaren 570Ss and Mercedes-AMGs in the Masters GT4 Challenge races.

Boasting a 66-strong entry, the Intercontinental Trophy Classic (Masters Gentlemen Drivers Pre-’66) field is the weekend’s largest. Roaring Shelby American Daytona Cobra evocations – headed by the crack local Racelogic team of Julian Thomas/Calum Lockie – original Cobras and semi-lightweight Jaguar E-types will make the running. A bumper crop of Lotus Elans and Ginetta G4Rs will get among them.

The Ferrari 250 GTO of Gary Pearson/Joe Twyman, wire-wheeled E-types and narrow-arched AC Cobras will slug it out for Historic TT gold. An Aston Martin DB4, Austin-Healey 3000s, Morgan +4s and Lotus Elites ensure battling throughout the field.

Racing concurrently with the Masters Endurance Legends LMP cars are braces of Mosler MT900Rs and V10 Dodge Vipers, Porsche 997 Grand-Am RSR and 911 GT3, Aston DBRS9 and Ferrari 458s and 430s.

10. Live music, food and more

There's something for everybody on display at Silverstone Classic

There's something for everybody on display at Silverstone Classic

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Rocking and Racing has long been a Classic catchline. Many non-petrolheads traditionally arrive in the afternoons and settle in for the evening gigs, alongside competitors, their families and teams in the arena.
Remember 1970s disco classic We Are Family? Americans Sister Sledge – formed by four siblings from Philadelphia – will transport you back to that era on Friday. Londoner Gabrielle takes centre stage on Saturday, before Rick Astley steps up on Sunday.

A Foodie Fest enhances the Best of British theme. Celebrity chefs Candice Brown (2016 Great British Bake Off winner), Lesley Waters and Niall Kirkland cook up storms on the Silverstone Kitchen Live stage on successive days, supported by Silverstone executive chef Dean Hoddle-Smith.

After you have trawled 120 car club gatherings, from fast Fords through Porsche to obscurati, TV’s Wheeler Dealer Mike Brewer and Marc ‘Elvis’ Priestley’s Car Clinics impart expertise, tips and banter on Saturday and Sunday. Licensed over-25s have the opportunity to test drive electric Cupra, Ford, Genesis, MG, Nissan and Polestar cars on the road with Switch Live powered by Myenergi.

There will be plenty of musical acts on the main stage

There will be plenty of musical acts on the main stage

Photo by: Mike Massaro

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