Preview becomes a show of its own

Silverstone Classic is months off, but preview day draws stars and cars

The Silverstone Classic vintage races don’t take place until late July, but a special preview day was held recently and drew both motorsports and Olympic stars  while featuring the filming of a television special on the 70th anniversary of Silverstone’s first hosting of the British Grand Prix.

Murray Walker, famed “voice” of British motorsports and Formula 1 racing, was joined in the filming of the TV special by nine-time F1 race winner Mark Webber, former Williams test driver Susie Wolff and Channel 4 racing expert Karun Chandhok.  

Webber did laps in an ERA GP1 E-Type that won the inaugural Grand Prix at Silverstone back in 1948. Wolff and Chandhok also did laps in vintage Cooper and Alta Grand Prix racers from that same era.

Racer Martin Brundle, now the lead F1 commentator for Sky F1, took to the track in a Ferrari 246 Dino like the one Mike Hawthorn drove to the F1 championship 60 years ago. The car was the 50th F1 car Brundle has raced or tested.

Also participating in the preview day were racing engineer and designer Adrian Newey, Monte Carlo Rally winner Paddy Hopkirk, several British touring car champions and multiple Olympic cycling champion Chris Hoy. 2018 marks the 60th anniversary of the British Touring Car Championship, which will be celebrated during the Silverstone Classic.

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In addition to the “stars,” more than 120 cars were put through test laps during the preview day.

Garety Burnett and Matthew Vokes in the winning 1939 Alta | ERA photo

1939 Alta wins Flying Scotsman vintage rally

Garety Burnett and Matthew Vokes drove a 1939 Alta to victory in the 10th Flying Scotsman Rally for vintage vehicles. It was Burnett’s third victory. He won in 2013 and 2016 driving a Talbot 105 Alpine.

“It was probably the toughest event yet with the best competition,” he said after his most recent victory. “But the real joy was in bringing this car to this event when no one thought it would even finish it – and that included me!”

Adding to the satisfaction was the fact that it not only was Vokes’ first vintage rally (although he’s an experienced navigator), but driver and navigator had not met before the event, according to rally organizer, the Endurance Rally Association.

The margin of victory after 726 miles over the course of four days in Scotland was a mere 0.07 seconds ahead of a 1925 Bentley Super Sports driven by William Medcalf with navigator Andy Pullen.

Book cover

Book celebrates ‘History of Motorsport’

The History of Motorsport: From the Beginning Until Today is the title of a new book (in English) from German publisher Delius Klasing. Spanning more than 120 years in 256 pages, the book focuses on one car from each year.

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Just a few examples: For 1952, the Cummins Diesel Special that raced without making a pit stop in the Indianapolis 500. For 1964, the Mini Coopers and the Monte Carlo Rally. For 1970, the high-winged Plymouth Superbird and Dodge Charger Daytona of NASCAR. 

Fiat S. 74 Corsa is featured vehicle for 1912, when the car won in its debut in the Grand Prix race at Savannah, Georgia | Photo courtesy Delius Klausing

The book concludes with an extensive “statistics” section and list of champions.

The book is available from Amazon for less than $45.

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