It’s been a busy few weeks for me so as I sit down to write this blog it seems like the topic was a long time ago now. However, I couldn’t let it pass without me writing about how great the Silverstone Classic was this year.
It is always a highlight of my year and this year was no exception. I have a fondness for classic cars and it is great to see so many of these awesome machines from my childhood and well before, doing what they were designed to do. Race. This year’s event saw the addition of a new race category for Touring cars from 1970-2000. This was to be a hugely popular race with the spectators and the addition of current BTCC favourite, Frank Wrathall to the field in a 1995 Vauxhall Cavalier enticed support even more.
For me, the headline race was the Saturday evening Group C race into dusk. I love the awesome 1980’s Le Mans cars and there was an awesome array of Group C and C2 cars taking part. A favourite had to be the Jagermeister Porsche 962. An Iconic car of the time in an iconic livery. A Peugeot 905 with Nicolas Minassian at the wheel on the entry list was also of huge significance. Sadly, despite qualifying second on the Friday, the car was not to take to the track for either of the two races during the weekend. A bitter blow to many, but Minassian was to take to the Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit for Sunday’s race in one of the three Lancia LC2’s.
Another popular race was the Grand Prix Masters race for formula one cars of the 70’s & 80’s featuring cars such as McLaren M26’s, Arrows A4’s and Williams FW07’s. Remarkably this race was to be the first ever to feature two six wheeled formula one cars. A Tyrell P34 and a March 2-4-0 were to take part much to many people’s delight.
With 13 races on the Saturday and a further 11 on the Sunday there was plenty of on track action to keep the crowed entertained and the high quality and close racing in some of the world’s most beautiful, recognisable and valuable cars, whether it classic GT’s or pre 1956 sports cars or even pre 1961 front engined Grand Prix cars along with many well known drivers past and present, there was something for every motorsport fan young and old.
As if all the on track action wasn’t enough, the many thousands of cars on display from various car clubs was magnificent to see. Cars from Lamborghini, Lotus, Aston Martin, AC Cobras even a bselection of Lancia Delta’s. This year’s Silverstone Classic celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Ferrari F40. One of the world’s most recognizable super cars and the stuff of fantasy for every boy, like myself, who grew up in the 80’s. To mark this occasion, a parade of F40’s took to the track on Sunday setting a record for the most Ferrari F40’s on track together at the same time. There were over 60 in total from all over the world and what a brilliant sight they were under the hot sun. An experience I will not forget in a hurry.
There were trade stands a plenty for you to spend your money and activities for all ages to keep the whole family occupied. The Sun came out to make up for the wet Friday and the weekend was another fantastic event. The Silverstone Classic goes from strength to strength and I am already looking forward to next year’s event. If you haven’t been, then I would highly recommend it. You won’t leave disappointed.
I havent got round to sorting all my photos from the weekend yet, but you can see some Group C ones here. Also, If you like the Chris Gurton Photography page on Facebook, you will be updated when new galleries will be added.
I’m sure you all remember the case of the mystery car from my blog post last week. It seems there are a lot of you very keen to find out what it actually is and it even had the likes of Martin Haven and the guys at Radio Le Mans scratching their heads. Well, wonder no more. The case has been solved and the Car Identified. I would have revealed all earlier, but unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances which I needed to resolve, I didn’t get round to writing this.
After writing my post last week, I got a huge response. Mostly from people trying to guess what it was. However some people did come forward with some useful snippets of information which I used to did a little deeper. With information ranging from someone who thought they spotted it in a race teams truck, to people who had seen it at a track day. Also a few more photos were bought to mine and Graeme’s attention. Working on a few leads, emails were sent out to various people in the hope that I could get a definitive answer.
Having spent hours searching and digging, I had found out who had built the car, but little information was given on their website. So an email was also sent to them. On Wednesday, I received a number of emails back. A couple saying they didn’t know anything about the car but two were of great help. The company I had found, Mark Bailey Racing, did indeed the build the car and managed to give me some information about it. They also told me who they thought was the current owner. The other email was received from the trackday organisers of events which this car had been spotted at. They did know the owner and had forwarded on the email I had sent them along with a link to my blog.
The owner had got in touch not long after with the information we are all desperate to find out. So here it is, in the words of current owner Paul Spencer:
‘I can solve the mystery for you as I own the car. It’s a unique car built in 2000 using Schuppan 962 bodywork and a bespoke chassis designed especially for it. Well done those of you who mentioned 965/962. It’s powered by a Nascar spec short stroke Chevy engine producing 670bhp and uses a Hewland 6 speed sequential. It had never really been used before I bought it 2 years ago and we’ve had to make a lot of changes to the suspension to make it track worthy. It’s coming together now and should end up as a really quick car. It’s as fast as the Group C cars from the 1980s and a bit of a monster to drive. I’m happy to go into more detail if anyone’s interested. I’ll take the car to a few RMA track days this year and may race it if I can find any suitable races to enter.’
I have spoken to Paul via email as I was keen to find out more and see if he had any photos we could use but he is in New York at the moment and said he would contact me when he gets back. So hopefully, there will be more to come on this unique car.
A couple of good photos of the car in action at Spa Francorhamps can be found here.