The Best of British : Ten Classic Silverstone Moments
With the ever popular British Grand Prix taking place at the Home of British Motorsport this weekend, the Silverstone Classic team have put together their top 10 Classic Moments from Silverstone in it’s history.
1. The first post-WWII Grand Prix at Silverstone – 1948 British Grand Prix
Italian racers Luigi Villoresi and Alberto Ascari finished in 1st and 2nd position respectively, each in a Maserati 4CLT with Brit, Bob Gerard third in an ERA. Little more than a converted airfield at the time, more than 120,000 people descended on Silverstone to spectate. The venue is now firmly established as the Home of British Motorsport and the Silverstone Classic is the place to watch historic motorsport.
2. King George VI visits Silverstone – 1950 British Grand Prix
The only occasion a reigning monarch has visited Silverstone was for the 1950 British Grand Prix, when King George VI and Queen Elizabeth met drivers including a young Sir Stirling Moss, who finished in 2nd position in the 500cc support race. A mere 64 years later, Stirling Moss led a parade in a Maserati 250F at the Silverstone Classic to celebrate 50 Years of Grand Prix at Silverstone.
3. First Ferrari Grand Prix Victory – 1951 British Grand Prix
Ferrari recorded the first of what is now more than 220 F1 victories, with José Froilán González beating Juan Manuel Fangio in, what was at the time, the all-conquering Alfa Romeo. Fans of Ferraris and other classics from this period can see them race at the Silverstone Classic in the Maserati Trophy for HGPCA Pre’66 Grand PrixCars races.
4. A race to forget for Graham Hill – 1960 British Grand Prix
Starting second on the grid, Graham Hill stalled his BRM in front of a home crowd at the start of the 1960 British Grand Prix, but then went from last to first, recording the fastest lap of the race, only to spin off five laps from the finish, handing victory to Jack Brabham. The race also proved to be a Formula 1 swansong for Aston Martin. The Maserati Trophy for HGPCA Pre’66 Grand Prix Cars races at Silverstone Classic regularly see grids of 50+ cars, many ex-Hill and Brabham.
5. James Hunt’s only Silverstone victory – 1977 British Grand Prix
In the year succeeding his historic World Championship win, James Hunt celebrated his only Silverstone victory in 1977 with his McLaren M26, finishing 18 seconds ahead of his great rival Niki Lauda.
The Hunt family are celebrating the 40th anniversary of James Hunt’s World Championship victory at the 2016 Silverstone Classic and fans can also see James’ M26 at the event.
6. A first for Formula One – 1977 British Grand Prix
The Home of British Motorsport has long been at the forefront of innovation in the sport and, in 1977, Jean-Pierre Jabouille contested the British Grand Prix in an Equipe Renault Elf RS01, the first car in Formula One to be fitted with a turbo engine. The 1.5 litre V6, did not last the full race but its inclusion in the race marked a new era in the sport and fans can experience eight decades of development in Grand Prix, Sports, GT and Touring Cars at the Silverstone Classic.
7. The first International Historic Festival – 1990
In 1990 the BRDC director and former TT winner on both two and four wheels, Stuart Graham, successfully launched a historic motor festival at Silverstone. Mervyn Garton was brought in to mastermind the off-track activities and the International Historic Festival was born. The festival is now known as the Silverstone Classic and in 2015 celebrated the 25th anniversary at Silverstone. Two special awards, named after the original Scarf & Goggles pub and the event founders, were introduced to recognise the most acclaimed racing car and best infield display of the weekend. The Scarf & Goggles pub was also brought back last year and is now a firm fixture on theJET Village Green during the Classic.
8. Mansell gives Senna a ride – 1991 British Grand Prix
The iconic photograph of Nigel Mansell giving Ayrton Senna a lift back to the pits came in the 1991 British Grand Prix after the Brazilian stopped out on the circuit on the last lap with a fuel problem. Mansell had won the race in his Williams FW14-Renault.
Mansell’s FW14B iteration of this car was on display at the 2015 Silverstone Classic. Don’t miss the Legends of Modern Formula One at this year’s festival on display in the National Paddock and running on track for high speed demonstrations.
9. A Guinness World Record – 2011 Silverstone Classic
When 767 Jaguar E-Types from across Europe and North America participated in a track parade at the 2011 Silverstone Classic a new Guinness World Record was set for the largest parade of Jaguar cars. There may not quite be 767 at the 2016 event, but you can still be sure to catch a glimpse of the car described by Enzo Ferrari as ‘the most beautiful car ever made’.
10. Festival lap record – Silverstone Classic 2013
The lap record for the Silverstone Classic in the current configuration is 1:46.428, held by Nic Minassian in a Jaguar XJR14 in 2013. The circuit used for the Silverstone Classic is the Silverstone Historic GP Circuit, with Vale corner slightly altered from the standard GP circuit. This year more grandstands have been opened with even more big screens available for an all-round improved spectator experience.
Will another classic moment occur this weekend with British World Champion Lewis Hamilton in the fight for his 4th World Drivers Championship, British F1 Rookie Jolyon Palmer in his debut British Grand Prix and British world champion Jenson Button in potentially his last F1 home race? We’ll have to wait with baited breath until Sunday afternoon to find out.
The British F1 Grand Prix will be followed by the world’s biggest classic motor racing festival, Silverstone Classic in just three weeks time with 100,000 visitors expected. If you want to be one of those creating your own classic Silverstone moment you can order tickets for the 2016 Silverstone Classic here.