If the 2015 edition marked the Silverstone Classic’s silver anniversary, then this year, gold would very much appear to be the colour en vogue – with Jonathan Kennard stealing the show behind the wheel of the striking Warsteiner-liveried Arrows A3, the day before former Spandau Ballet hit-maker Tony Hadley takes to the music stage.
The opening day of the 2017 Silverstone Classic – the world’s biggest classic motor racing festival – comprised no fewer than 15 trouble-free qualifying sessions. The competitive action began with Formula Ford 50 Presented by Historic Motorsport International, as the world’s pre-eminent junior single-seater series celebrates its half-century in style with an oversubscribed entry list.
Later on, fans were thrilled by the captivating sight of drivers fighting at the wheel of 1920s and ‘30s icons in the Kidston Trophy for Pre War Sports Cars. Meanwhile there were standout performances from tin-top legend Steve Soper – who seized pole position for the John Fitzpatrick Trophy for Under 2 Litre Touring Cars (U2TC) in a 1964 Ford Lotus Cortina – and Gary Pearson, who produced a late flyer in his 1955 Jaguar D-type to narrowly snatch the top spot on the starting grid for the Royal Automobile Club Woodcote Trophy for Pre ’56 Sports Cars.
It was Kennard, however, who grabbed the headlines, as the former British F3 ace belied his lack of prior track time in the blue riband FIA Masters Historic Formula One series for DFV-era cars to soar to the top of the timing screens on his debut in the 1980 Arrows, a car once driven by six-time grand prix-winner Riccardo Patrese.
In the JET Super Touring Car Trophy, Jason Minshaw set the pace in his 1998 Volvo S40, in a session that reserved many admiring glances for the shark-nosed BMW 635 piloted by New Zealand racing hero Jim Richards.
The evocative Group C sportscars transported onlookers back in time to a halcyon age of endurance racing, while the day’s action concluded with a field of nifty and nimble Austin A30s and A35s taking to the circuit in the hands of their owners – 24 hours before the cars return to the track for the eagerly-anticipated Celebrity Challenge Trophy race.
All 1,000-plus entries sampled the famous Silverstone Grand Prix circuit over the course of a busy day, and the first car club anniversary parade of the weekend was led by a dozen hypercars – including a Zonda, a Ferrari F40, a trio of Porsche 918s and a brace of Bugatti Veyrons, with a combined value of more than £12 million.
Today also witnessed the start of the against-the-clock eBay RESTORATION LIVE challenge – as Fergus Walkinshaw and his team set to work on a 1984 Ford Capri – while some notable motor sport machinery went under the hammer last night at the Silverstone Auctions evening.
Ex-British Touring Car Champion Tim Harvey’s 1991 BMW E30 M3 in its original Labatt’s livery sold for £146,250, and a 1990 Lancia Delta HF Integrale Evolution works Group A rally car – once piloted by four-time World Rally Champion Juha Kankkunen – reached almost double its estimated sale price at £225,000.
Formula Ford 50 presented by Historic Motorsport International
- Michael O’Brien (Merlyn Mk20A) 2m 20.837s (93.03mph)
- Callum Grant (Merlyn Mk20A) 2m 21.997s
- William Nuthall (Jamun T2) 2m 22.520s
Commander Yorke Trophy for Historic Formula Junior
- Sam Wilson (Lotus20/22) 2m 21.580s (92.54mph)
- Andrew Hibberd (Lotus 22) 2m 21.868s
- Timothy De Silva (Brabham BT2) 2m 22.901s
Stirling Moss Trophy for Pre ’61 Sports Cars
- Grahame Bryant/Oliver Bryant (Lotus 15) 2m 24.071s (90.94mph)
- Chris Ward (Lister Costin) 2m 24.670s
- Rob Barff (Lotus 15) 2m 24.954s
John Fitzpatrick Trophy for Under 2 Litre Touring Cars
- Steve Soper (Ford Lotus Cortina) 2m 32.501s (85.91mph)
- Andy Wolfe/Richard Meaden (Ford Lotus Cortina) 2m 33.019s
- Mark Sumpter (Ford Lotus Cortina) 2m 33.410s
Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy for Historic Cars (Pre ’63 GT)
- Wolfgang Friedrichs/Simon Hadfield (Aston Martin DP212) 2m 29.376s (87.71mph)
- Christopher Milner (Jaguar E-type) 2m 32.019s
- Lukas Halusa (Ferrari 250 GT) 2m 32.027s
Royal Automobile Club Woodcote Trophy for Pre ’56 Sports Cars
- Gary Pearson/John Pearson (Jaguar D-type) 2m 29.525s (87.62mph)
- Frederic Wakeman/Patrick Blakeney-Edwards (Cooper T38) 2m 29.664s
- Chris Ward/Andrew Smith (Cooper Jaguar T33) 2m 29.839s
Kidston Trophy for Pre War Sports Cars
- Frederic Wakeman/Patrick Blakeney-Edwards (Fraser Nash Super Sports) 2m 49.479s (77.31mph)
- Gareth Burnett (Talbot 105) 2m 50.375s
- Rudiger Friedrichs (Alvis Firefly) 2m 50.535s
FIA Masters Historic Formula One
- Jonathan Kennard (Arrows A3) 1m 50.598s (118.46mph)
- Michael Lyons (Williams FW07B) 1m 51.155s
- Nick Padmore (Williams FW07c) 1m 51.213s
Gallet International Trophy for Classic GT Cars (Pre ’66)
- Mike Whitaker (TVR Griffith) 2m 24.280s (90.81mph)
- Grahame Bryant/Oliver Bryant (AC Cobra) 2m 24.563s
- Julian Thomas (Jaguar E-type) 2m 24.672s
Maserati Trophy for HGPCA Pre ’66 Grand Prix Cars
- Sam Wilson (Lotus 18 372) 2m 20.033s (93.56mph)
- William Nuthall (Cooper T53) 2m 20.463s
- Barry Cannell (Brabham BT11A) 2m 21.858s
FIA Masters Historic Sports Cars
- Paul Gibson/Chris Ward (Lola T70 Mk3B) 2m 05.599s (104.31mph)
- Diogo Ferrao/Martin Stretton (Lola T292) 2m 05.755s
- Martin O’Connell (Chevron B19) 2m 05.852s
- Steve Tandy (Spice SE90 GTP) 1m 54.980s (113.95mph)
- Mike Wrigley (Spice SE89C) 1m 55.584s
- Kriton Lendoudis (Mercedes C11) 1m 56.620s
JET Super Touring Car Trophy
- Jason Minshaw (Volvo S40) 2m 14.74s (97.24mph)
- Chris Beighton (Honda Accord) 2m 15.317s
- Gianfranco Brancatelli (Ford Sierra RS500) 2m 15.596s
Jaguar Classic Challenge
- Julian Thomas/Callum Lockie (Jaguar E-type) 2m 25.379s (90.12mph)
- Gary Pearson (Jaguar E-type) 2m 25.531s
- John Pearson (Jaguar E-type) 2m26.494s
Silverstone Classic Celebrity Challenge Trophy Owner
- James Colburn (Austin A35) 2m 55.914s (74.48mph)
- Charles Knill-Jones (Austin A35) 2m 55.979s
- Ben Colburn (Austin A35) 2m 56.317s
Source. Silverstone Classic