The Silverstone Classic is an annual three-day car and race event at the UK's Silverstone circuit, home of the British Grand Prix.
Over a long weekend every July, the event features a large number of historic cars in races and static displays and draws together a large number of car clubs. It is billed as ‘The World’s Biggest Classic Motor Racing Festival’.
Founded in 1990, the Silverstone Classic was one of the first of motor sport meetings dedicated entirely to historic racing cars and enjoyed considerable success and popularity during the following years. The arrival of similar historic festivals such as the Goodwood Revival and Festival of Speed saw the event lose some of its appeal at the start of the following decade. In recent years, though, the Silverstone Classic has re-established itself as a major historic motor sport festival attracting a crowd of 80,000 in 2011 and in 2012 was voted as one of the World’s best historic motor sport events by Octanemagazine. Another major accolade followed in 2013 when the Silverstone Classic won the prestigious ‘Motorsport Event of the Year Award’ at the third International Historic Motoring Awards (IHMA). The Classic will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2015 with a special Silver Jubilee event which will include a parade of silver cars to mark the milestone occasion.
The weekend includes numerous races, from historic Formula 1 cars to Le Mans Group C prototype and touring cars. The RAC Tourist Trophy for Historic Cars has been staged at the Silverstone Classic since 2010.
In 2010 and 2011, the Silverstone Classic schedule has also featured a celebrity race run in competition prepared Fiat Abarth 500s (2010) and Morgans (2011). Both races were won by Rick Parfitt Jnr, son of Status Quo guitarist Rick Parfitt. Others to have participated are Brendan Cole and Zoe Cole, Heston Blumenthal, Luther Blissett, Paul O’Duffy, Sally ‘Traffic’ Boazman, ‘Comedy Dave’ Vitty and Jo Wood. As well as Cole and Blumenthal, the 2012 line-up included Patrick Stewart, Chemmy Alcott, Brian Johnson, Steve Bull, Tony Hirst and Kelvin Fletcher. The race was won by Fletcher with from Johnson and Jamiroquai's Jay Kay.
In 2011 there were 23 races staged on the full Grand Prix circuit which attracted 1104 entries and was the biggest race meeting staged anywhere in motor sport history.
Both Silverstone’s ‘National’ and new ‘Wing’ pits and paddock complexes were employed to house the large number of entrants which included two races reserved for 50 plus car grids of E-typeJaguars, organised to celebrate the British sportscar’s 50th anniversary. That record set in 2012 was broken in 2014, however, when the event received an unprecedented 1125 entries.
- 2016 (29 to 31 July)
- 50 Years of Can-Am racing - special double-header race named the 'Can-Am 50 Insterie Celebration Trophy' will be the main feature.
- 40th Anniversary of James Hunt's 1976 World Championship
- 50th Anniversary of the Lamborghini Miura
- 35th Anniversary of the Vauxhall Cavalier Mk2
- 2015 (24 to 26 July)
- 25th Anniversary of the Silverstone Classic
- 50 Years of Alpina
- 2014 (25 to 27 July)
- Ford Mustang official 50th anniversary gathering with special displays and track parade
- Maserati centenary celebration
- World record parade of 84 grands prix cars led by Sir Stirling Moss to mark the 50th F1 grand prix at Silverstone
- 2013 (26 to 28 July)
- Special parade of 911 x Porsche 911 to celebrate the 50th birthday of the world's most successful sportscar
- Aston Martin centenary, celebrated with an extensive car display and a 100 car parade lap.
- Displays and parades to mark 50 years of Lamborghini
- 2012 (20 to 22 July)
- World record gathering of 60 Ferrari F40 to celebrate the supercar's 25th birthday
- MG MGB 50th anniversary
- Special 50th birthday parties for Lotus Elan and AC Cobra models
- Special races to mark 30 years of Group C sports prototypes and 25 years of the Ford Sierra RS500
- The UK's first Z-Fest to mark the 60th anniversary of the BMW Car Club
- Jaguar E-Type 50th anniversary gathering, achieving the Guinness World Record for the Largest Parade of Jaguar cars with 767 cars on the track
- 21st Silverstone Classic event
- Celebration of the 50th anniversary of Formula One
- Mini 50th anniversary with four special races including the Laurence Bloom Memorial Trophy
As well as the on-track racing, the Silverstone Classic festival includes live music sets from classic rock and pop bands from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Well known bands to have appeared in recent years are: Dr Feelgood, Suzi Quatro, Santana, 10cc, Wishbone Ash and the Yardbirds. The 2012 line up featured Adam Ant and Mike and the Mechanics, with The Hollies in 2013. The 2014 line-up included Canned Heat and Bonnie Tyler with Status Quo and Paul Young headlining in 2015. In 2016 the line-up included The Boomtown Rats, The Stranglers and Reef.
In addition to numerous trade stands and club displays, car auctions are held at each Silverstone Classic. Until 2010 Bonhams were the auctioneers, including in 2008 a special Lotus and Porsche auction. Since 2011, the auctions are run by Nick Whale's Silverstone Auctions.