Silverstone Classic revs up for weekend’s races
The 2019 edition of the Silverstone Classic – the world’s biggest classic motor racing festival – is underway as a vast and impressive array of mouth-watering machinery blasted into qualifying action today (26 July).
Today’s 14 sessions will set the grid positions for a jam-packed schedule of 21 races across the weekend, and if the early signs are anything to go by then this year’s Classic will be as ultra-competitive as ever.
HSCC Classic Formula 3 kicked off proceedings as Christian Olsen and Andrew Smith traded blows in a bid to claim the first pole position of the day. It was Smith who earned those particular bragging rights with a superb lap in the closing moments.
The pair were the clear class of the field – serving up a taster for what could be a great battle for F3 glory over the weekend – whilst Frenchman Frédéric Rouvier proved to be best-of-the-rest in his Martini Mk34.
Oliver Bryant dominated proceedings in the Royal Automobile Club Woodcote and Stirling Moss Trophy, lapping his Lotus 15 faster than the chasing pack.
With both the Woodcote and Stirling Moss entries being combined in the same race this year, it was the Jaguar D-type of Pearson brothers John and Gary that topped the times for the Pre ’56 Sportscars.
The mighty Can-Am cars led the way in HSCC Thundersports with Georg Hallau in the #1 Lola T310 out front, despite stopping on-track in the final seconds.
Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy for Historic Cars were next on the bill, with Till Bechtolsheimer and Ludovic Lindsay claiming pole for the Pre ’63 GT Cars in their Tojeiro EE, ahead of Lukas Halusa and Niklas Halusa in the iconic Ferrari 250 GT Breadvan and the Jaguar E-type of Graeme and James Dodd in what is one of the Classic’s most exotic fields.
The closest scrap of the day took place in HSCC Historic Formula 2, as Matthew Watts narrowly prevailed in a tight battle for the top spot with Darwin Smith, the pair separated by just 0.12s over the course of the 3.66-mile Grand Prix lap.
Michael Lyons put in a commanding performance in the shootout for pole in the Historic Touring Car Challenge, lapping at an impressive average speed of just shy of 100mph behind the wheel of his flame-spitting Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500. Current BTCC champion Colin Turkington will line-up fourth in a BMW M3 E30, with Adam Morgan directly behind in sixth in a Ford Capri.
In the final session of the morning, Rudiger Friedrichs flew to pole in the Bentley Centenary Trophy for Pre-War Sports Cars, pacing the 50-plus field in his Alvis Firefly 4.3.
The action continued over the lunchbreak too, with a plethora of evocative parades taking to the track – highlighted by a multitude of Minis led by rallying legend Paddy Hopkirk.
The qualifying action will resume this afternoon, ahead of Saturday and Sunday’s lights-to-flag bill of retro racing entertainment.
HSCC Classic Formula 3
1. Andrew Smith (March 783) 2m 09.101s (102.07mph)
2. Christian Olsen (Martini Mk39) 2m 09.362s
3. Frédéric Rouvier (Martini Mk34) 2m 10.270s
Royal Automobile Club Woodcote and Stirling Moss Trophy
1. Oliver Bryant (Lotus 15) 2m 26.018s (90.24mph)
2. Philip Walker/Miles Griffiths (Lotus 15) 2m 28.563s
3. Richard Kent/Joe Osborne (Lister Costin Jaguar) 2m 29.968s
1. Georg Hallau (Lola T310) 2m 04.127s (106.16mph)
2. Dean Forward (McLaren M8F) 2m 05.648s
3. John Burton (Chevron B26) 2m 08.090s
Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy for Historic Cars (Pre ’63 GT)
1. Till Bechtolsheimer/Ludovic Lindsay (Tojeiro EE) 2m 32.242s (86.55mph)
2. Lukas Halusa/Niklas Halusa (Ferrari 250 GT Breadvan) 2m 33.082s
3. Graeme Dodd/James Dodd (Jaguar E-type) 2m 33.627s
HSCC Historic Formula 2
1. Matthew Watts (March 772) 2m 00.098s (109.72mph)
2. Darwin Smith (March 722) 2m 00.218s
3. Miles Griffiths (Ralt RT1) 2m 01.012s
Historic Touring Car Challenge
1. Michael Lyons (Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500) 2m 14.742s (97.80mph)
2. Mark Wright/Dave Coyne (Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500) 2m 16.233s
3. Steve Dance (Ford Capri) 2m 17.541s
Bentley Centenary Trophy for Pre-War Sports Cars
1. Rudiger Friedrichs (Alvis Firefly 4.3) 2m 51.737s (76.73mph)
2. Fred Wakeman/Patrick Blakeney-Edwards (Frazer Nash Super Sports) 2m 52.228s
3. Gareth Burnett (Alta Sports) 2m 55.759s