Already including the evocative Group C sportscars and the DFV engine dominated Formula One cars of the 1970s and 80s two additions to the program for this summer's Silverstone Classic powered by the AA will bring more iconic race cars to the world's biggest historic motorsport festival.
The first of these additions are two races – one on the Saturday of the event, the other on Sunday – celebrating the touring cars of the 1970s, 80s and 90s – the years that brought the discipline to the forefront of international, and national, racing. The line up, which already runs to 30 cars, with a capacity 50 strong grid expected, will include representatives of German, European and British championships of the era spanning Group 2, Group A and the supertouring regulations.
As such Silverstone will host the likes of the Ford Capri, Jaguar XJ-C, BMW CSL, BMW M3 and Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500 as well as the Nissan Primeras and Ford Mondeos of the mid-90s of the BTCC – the peak of manufacturer involvement in the championship.
Singled out among the stellar grid for the races is the RS500 which will be celebrating its silver anniversary in 2012, having been launched in August 1987 on the race track and road. The car was the product of the Evolution rules of the Group A specification, allowing highly developed versions of cars onto the grid if 500 road going examples were built. The resulting – enormously powerful, hugely bewinged – monster dominated the series of the late 90s in the hands of Andy Rouse and Robb Gravett in the UK, as well as Reudi Eggenberger’s eponymous squad in the European championship. The RS500 also proved a revelation on the road, offering supercar performance for only a fraction more money than the standard Sierra.
Several RS500 are already on the provisional entry with more bound to join them over the coming months to celebrate the car's milestone.
“Though firmly established as the world's biggest classic motor racing festival we are always looking to provide both racers and fans with innovations and evolutions,” said Nick Wigley, Event Organiser. “The special touring car race will be the first of its kind, highlighting the huge success of tin-top competition in recent years. That 2012 marks the 25th birthday of the amazing Sierra RS500 just adds to what's clearly going to be a very special occasion.”
The second addition will bring Formula 500 and Formula Two cars built between 1967 and 1979 to the Silverstone Grand Prix track.
The race will hark back to the years when Formula Two grids regularlay welcomed the F1 stars of the day – drivers like Jochen Rindt, Niki Lauda and James Hunt. The race will place the nimble F2 cars they would have been familiar with against the thundering F5000 machines powered by American V8 engines.
Wigley says; “Formula 5000 was a huge draw back in the Seventies and Eighties with drivers such as Alan Jones, Jody Scheckter, Mario Andretti and, of course, the late Peter Gethin. It's no surprise that the formula has enjoyed a global revival in historic racing circles during the past few years and we know the fabulous sight and sounds of these mighty V8 machines will provide another nostalgic crowd pleaser in July.”
The 2012 Silverstone takes place on July 20-22. For more information, including on the 'Early Bird' ticket offer and onsite camping facilities visit www.silverstoneclassic.com.