Silverstone to get high on E-types

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The revamped Silverstone F1 circuit will come alive with the world’s largest gathering of Jaguar E-type, when the Silverstone Classic kicks off on 22 July.

The three-day fixture will mark the 50th anniversary of the iconic sports car with a massive infield display of E-types (below), a dedicated race to the model and an attempt to get get 1000 examples to set a Guinness World record for a parade for the model.

The celebrations all take place against a raft of fresh race grids – including the welcome return of Group C racers - featuring over 1000 race drivers competing in more than 800 of the world’s finest competition cars.

The racing will be complemented by live entertainment on the Friday and Saturday, featuring Suzi Quatro (below), 10cc and Wishbone Ash among others, and a flypast by WW2 warbirds.

The track action will also feature the biggest gathering of Grand Prix cars with more than 110 GP cars competing in six of the weekend’s 22 races. Highlights include a celebration of he legendary Cosworth DFV engine with a 32-car field for the Grand Prix Masters grid (below).

Not to be outdone, the HGPCA’s Pre-1966 Rear Engine Grand Prix single seaters will feature a string of iconic Lotus, including the 18 that kicked off the marque’s switch to a rear engine format. It’ll be up against its replacement, the 21 that brought marque founder Chapman his first GP win, and the iconic 25 that Jim Clark drove to dominate the 1963 World Championship with.

The HGPCA’s earlier, Pre-1961 Front Engined GP Cars grid (below) will feature some gems, too, – some dating back to the 1930s with the mighty ERA – while marking Ferrari’s first ever GP win at the circuit exactly 60 years ago this month.

The group will include the Ferrari Dino that Phil Hill used to score the final Grand Prix victory for a front-engined car at Monza in 1960 and a Scarab that was one of three prepared for the Zandvoort GP the same year and now back in action after nearly 50 years in the Donington Collection.

A highlight of Saturday’s race programme will be the twilight race dedicated to the thunderous Group C racers (below), back at the historic Northampton meet for the first time since 2009.

But it’s the 58-strong grid of the E-type Challenge that promises to get the most attention. The race on Saturday evening is the second of four rounds in the specially arranged Historic Sports Car Club race series and is only open to cars in strict period specification running in two classes; cars prepared to a period race trim and standard cars.

Also celebrating golden anniversary milestones will be Porsche Club GB and the Austin Healey Club, with both clubs expecting a turnout of several hundred cars for Silverstone Classic’s ever-popular Variety of Classic Cars section. It’ll be home to more than 120 car clubs, hosting a combined 7000-plus classics.

There’ll be plenty of opportunity for celebrity spotting, too, thanks to the Morgan sports car charity race which will feature TV chef Heston Blumenthal competing against the likes of game show host Carol Vorderman, ballroom dancer Brendan Cole and TV series Apprentice star Lee McQueen.

And don’t miss C&SC’s own Julian Balme in action in his Ford Falcon in the HSCC’s Big Engine Touring Cars race on Saturday and Sunday morning.

Tickets start from £35 for adults, £5 for under 16s (advance purchase for Friday). Call 0871 231 0849 and /silverstoneclassic.com

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