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Silverstone Classic 2022 Review

Tim Dunlop takes us on a guided tour of the Silverstone Classic show, choc full of mouth-watering modern classics

By Tim Dunlop

Photography by Tim Dunlop

series of events contributed to my trip to the 2022 Silverstone classic not really going according to plan. Firstly, my media accreditation was quite slow in coming through. This meant to make sure I could attend knowing how popular the event is I bought a set of tickets for the full weekend, only for the media accreditation to drop in my inbox a few days later.


Secondly, a fellow rush contributor changed the date of their house move to the same weekend as the classic. Not normally an issue you would think, however being the dutiful father, I gladly obliged. I did spend the time we were humping boxes up and downstairs over the weekend telling him how very inconsiderate he was though.


So left with one option, that being only able to attend on the Friday the first day of the event I downloaded a copy of the timetable, map and entry list and tried to work out how to fit working my way round seeing the hundreds of clubs, thousands of cars, loads of on track action and a classic car auction into just a few hours. The Friday morning came around, up at the crack of dawn I grabbed the keys to the daily driver (Audi Q4 eTron, I know not very RUSH) turned on the car only to find out the home charger hadn’t done its job and I wasn’t left with enough battery range to get to the circuit and back given it’s a 200 mile round trip. Given motor racing circuits are not renowned for their banks of electric car charging points it meant plan B was needed.


Plan B as it happened worked out quite well. You see I had always planned to head to the circuit on the Friday in the Audi, get all the photos I wanted on track etc thanks to my accreditation and then head back on the Saturday in the Abarth Biposto, park this up as part of the owners club display and then walk around the many other club displays grabbing some photos of anything interesting and quirky, talking to the owners and generally taking in the atmosphere for the basis of a RUSH article.






Having this plan meant I had a display pass for the Abarth and could park this with the owners club rather than leaving it in the depressing media car park outside the track. So a quick print out of the relevant passes, move all the camera gear to the Abarth and off we headed.


RUSH 005 will see me share more about the recent happenings with the Abarth but lets just say after a few pretty uneventful months the car has more than made up for it as my credit card statement will prove. Hence the reason it was not my first choice for making the long motorway drive down to Silverstone.


Arriving at the circuit, media sign on completed and time to head to the extensive car club display area, not before a quick drive around the VIP car park though. It was quite early so not that much of interest apart from a Polestar 1 (I do like these), an Aston Martin DB4 and a lovely Renault Sport Spider finished in all over silver rather than the typical two tone.


I have been attending this event for a fair number of years now and it has continued to grow year on year with more cars, an increase in spectators and more attractions for families to keep everyone enthused. The move this year from the previous traditional date to the new date of the late August Bank holiday did not seem to work for everyone, there was also a redesign and repositioning of some of the main areas which lead to the 2022 event seeming to be noticeably quieter.


series of events contributed to my trip to the 2022 Silverstone classic not really going according to plan. Firstly, my media accreditation was quite slow in coming through. This meant to make sure I could attend knowing how popular the event is I bought a set of tickets for the full weekend, only for the media accreditation to drop in my inbox a few days later.


Secondly, a fellow rush contributor changed the date of their house move to the same weekend as the classic. Not normally an issue you would think, however being the dutiful father, I gladly obliged. I did spend the time we were humping boxes up and downstairs over the weekend telling him how very inconsiderate he was though.


So left with one option, that being only able to attend on the Friday the first day of the event I downloaded a copy of the timetable, map and entry list and tried to work out how to fit working my way round seeing the hundreds of clubs, thousands of cars, loads of on track action and a classic car auction into just a few hours. The Friday morning came around, up at the crack of dawn I grabbed the keys to the daily driver (Audi Q4 eTron, I know not very RUSH) turned on the car only to find out the home charger hadn’t done its job and I wasn’t left with enough battery range to get to the circuit and back given it’s a 200 mile round trip. Given motor racing circuits are not renowned for their banks of electric car charging points it meant plan B was needed.


Plan B as it happened worked out quite well. You see I had always planned to head to the circuit on the Friday in the Audi, get all the photos I wanted on track etc thanks to my accreditation and then head back on the Saturday in the Abarth Biposto, park this up as part of the owners club display and then walk around the many other club displays grabbing some photos of anything interesting and quirky, talking to the owners and generally taking in the atmosphere for the basis of a RUSH article.






Having this plan meant I had a display pass for the Abarth and could park this with the owners club rather than leaving it in the depressing media car park outside the track. So a quick print out of the relevant passes, move all the camera gear to the Abarth and off we headed.


RUSH 005 will see me share more about the recent happenings with the Abarth but lets just say after a few pretty uneventful months the car has more than made up for it as my credit card statement will prove. Hence the reason it was not my first choice for making the long motorway drive down to Silverstone.


Arriving at the circuit, media sign on completed and time to head to the extensive car club display area, not before a quick drive around the VIP car park though. It was quite early so not that much of interest apart from a Polestar 1 (I do like these), an Aston Martin DB4 and a lovely Renault Sport Spider finished in all over silver rather than the typical two tone.


I have been attending this event for a fair number of years now and it has continued to grow year on year with more cars, an increase in spectators and more attractions for families to keep everyone enthused. The move this year from the previous traditional date to the new date of the late August Bank holiday did not seem to work for everyone, there was also a redesign and repositioning of some of the main areas which lead to the 2022 event seeming to be noticeably quieter.


Car Clubs are probably the biggest feature of the Classic with each year's event seeing many of the clubs celebrating significant anniversaries, the 2022 event saw over 125 original and imitation AC Cobra’s on display and on track for a special parade to celebrate 60 years of this truly iconic car. There were also 60th birthday celebrations for the MGB, and Lotus Elan, plus a commemoration of 50 years of BMW M’s division along with many more across the 3 days of the event.


Away from the infield the on track action at the event is more or less non stop from early morning into the darkness of the evening, and no one could accuse the organisers of not offering something for everyone. I had marked a few things on the time table I wanted to see and photograph so headed trackside (thanks to my media vest), set the camera up and waited patiently for the green flag to be shown. Up first was the MRL Pre War Sportscars BRDC 500 for cars built before 1941. I am going through a bit of a classics phase at the moment as I do think there is something very special about watching these cars, some of them approaching 100 years old thundering round the track piloted by drivers who spend the whole lap see-sawing the huge steering wheels while trying to keep the car on the tarmac, all the time in cars with no seat belts. Racing for when men were men!


Once the vintage cars had completed their session it was only a short wait until the second on track offering I wanted to catch was assembling in the pit lane. This time it was some more modern machinery in one of the weekend's most popular races, the Tony Dron Memorial Trophy For MRL Historic Touring Cars. This amazing grid of 58 cars is literally the stuff of dreams with many of the most iconic touring cars being reunited. Seven Sierra RS500’s would battle it out with five BMW E30 M3’s and three R32 Skyline GTR’s whilst holding off various RS Capri’s, a Vauxhall Cavalier, and an eclectic mix of other cars with everything from a Mini Cooper to a BMW CSL Batmobile.


Given the limited time I had at the circuit the final on track action for me would be the Masters Endurance Legends. Since the decision by the European Le Mans Series and World Endurance Championships not to have a round in the UK the opportunity to see modern prototype racing is very limited. This means when I can I always make the effort to catch the Endurance Legends. Seeing a early 2010’s Peugeot 908 HDi or Aston Martin DBR1-2 race alongside Dodge Vipers, Moslers and Ferrari’s brings back fond memories of when I worked as a photographer at the LMS/WEC rounds at Silverstone 8-10 years ago. Amazing times when Peugeot, Audi, Toyota and Porsche would fight it out for the prestigious trophy as a run up to the great race at La Sarthe a few weeks later.







Away from the track and time to pick out some highlights from the various club displays. Jaguar clubs were occupying their usual infield spot on the banking at Copse corner. This year saw the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust bring a selection of cars along from their base at Gaydon and also a nice display of racing big cats including the one off X Type SCV8 which sat alongside the TWR 9R (the prototype that led to the production XJR15). One of the highlights for me was seeing the Jaguar XK120 of Philip and Yvonne Haslam, a car I had been reading about recently in another publication.


The car looked great and fresh as a daisy complete with the commemorative stickers of all the rallies this car has competed in from the Trans-America rally in 2012 via Japan in 2017 for the Samurai Challenge to Nepal and Tibet in 2019. Leaving the Jaguar display and heading over to the area alongside the Wellington straight for a brief chat with one of the directors of the Alfa Romeo owners club who had come along in his friend's immaculate Alfa Sud, which almost got my full attention until I spotted the SZ parked just a few cars away. As a huge fan of the Italian coachbuilder Zagato it's always great to see one of these cars, and I know they are a real marmite car but for me a car that would definitely make it into the dream car lottery win garage for sure.


Walking over from the infield to the heritage pits took me through the display by the RS Owners Club, aside from the various Sierra and Escort Cosworths there were three cars that caught my eye. First up a very pretty Mk1 Escort Mexico. There is a common theme with many Mk1’s that see’s owners change the wheels to mini lite style, add some stripes and a huge set of spotlights so it was refreshing to see this one still in its original colour scheme with chrome hubcaps and looking quite understated. Next up the only car that I have driven that actually scared me, rewind to the early 2000’s and my spell as a car salesman. One of the cars we had in stock was a Fiesta RS Turbo, and it might surprise you to know that it was this small hatchback that put the fear of God into me. Seeing two parked in the paddock sent shivers down my spine. I really must face my fear at some point.


I reached the assembly area at the back of the pits just in time to see the TVR Car Club getting their members and their cars lined up for their parade laps. I grabbed a quick video on my phone of the 50 odd cars and pinged it over to the RUSH writers WhatsApp group as I think as a collective we all have a soft spot for various members of the TVR family. Personally the bright red Sagaris was the one for me, although Griffiths do look amazing value at the moment (yes I’ve been browsing the classifieds again).

Car Clubs are probably the biggest feature of the Classic with each year's event seeing many of the clubs celebrating significant anniversaries, the 2022 event saw over 125 original and imitation AC Cobra’s on display and on track for a special parade to celebrate 60 years of this truly iconic car. There were also 60th birthday celebrations for the MGB, and Lotus Elan, plus a commemoration of 50 years of BMW M’s division along with many more across the 3 days of the event.


Away from the infield the on track action at the event is more or less non stop from early morning into the darkness of the evening, and no one could accuse the organisers of not offering something for everyone. I had marked a few things on the time table I wanted to see and photograph so headed trackside (thanks to my media vest), set the camera up and waited patiently for the green flag to be shown. Up first was the MRL Pre War Sportscars BRDC 500 for cars built before 1941. I am going through a bit of a classics phase at the moment as I do think there is something very special about watching these cars, some of them approaching 100 years old thundering round the track piloted by drivers who spend the whole lap see-sawing the huge steering wheels while trying to keep the car on the tarmac, all the time in cars with no seat belts. Racing for when men were men!


Once the vintage cars had completed their session it was only a short wait until the second on track offering I wanted to catch was assembling in the pit lane. This time it was some more modern machinery in one of the weekend's most popular races, the Tony Dron Memorial Trophy For MRL Historic Touring Cars. This amazing grid of 58 cars is literally the stuff of dreams with many of the most iconic touring cars being reunited. Seven Sierra RS500’s would battle it out with five BMW E30 M3’s and three R32 Skyline GTR’s whilst holding off various RS Capri’s, a Vauxhall Cavalier, and an eclectic mix of other cars with everything from a Mini Cooper to a BMW CSL Batmobile.


Given the limited time I had at the circuit the final on track action for me would be the Masters Endurance Legends. Since the decision by the European Le Mans Series and World Endurance Championships not to have a round in the UK the opportunity to see modern prototype racing is very limited. This means when I can I always make the effort to catch the Endurance Legends. Seeing a early 2010’s Peugeot 908 HDi or Aston Martin DBR1-2 race alongside Dodge Vipers, Moslers and Ferrari’s brings back fond memories of when I worked as a photographer at the LMS/WEC rounds at Silverstone 8-10 years ago. Amazing times when Peugeot, Audi, Toyota and Porsche would fight it out for the prestigious trophy as a run up to the great race at La Sarthe a few weeks later.







Away from the track and time to pick out some highlights from the various club displays. Jaguar clubs were occupying their usual infield spot on the banking at Copse corner. This year saw the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust bring a selection of cars along from their base at Gaydon and also a nice display of racing big cats including the one off X Type SCV8 which sat alongside the TWR 9R (the prototype that led to the production XJR15). One of the highlights for me was seeing the Jaguar XK120 of Philip and Yvonne Haslam, a car I had been reading about recently in another publication.


The car looked great and fresh as a daisy complete with the commemorative stickers of all the rallies this car has competed in from the Trans-America rally in 2012 via Japan in 2017 for the Samurai Challenge to Nepal and Tibet in 2019. Leaving the Jaguar display and heading over to the area alongside the Wellington straight for a brief chat with one of the directors of the Alfa Romeo owners club who had come along in his friend's immaculate Alfa Sud, which almost got my full attention until I spotted the SZ parked just a few cars away. As a huge fan of the Italian coachbuilder Zagato it's always great to see one of these cars, and I know they are a real marmite car but for me a car that would definitely make it into the dream car lottery win garage for sure.


Walking over from the infield to the heritage pits took me through the display by the RS Owners Club, aside from the various Sierra and Escort Cosworths there were three cars that caught my eye. First up a very pretty Mk1 Escort Mexico. There is a common theme with many Mk1’s that see’s owners change the wheels to mini lite style, add some stripes and a huge set of spotlights so it was refreshing to see this one still in its original colour scheme with chrome hubcaps and looking quite understated. Next up the only car that I have driven that actually scared me, rewind to the early 2000’s and my spell as a car salesman. One of the cars we had in stock was a Fiesta RS Turbo, and it might surprise you to know that it was this small hatchback that put the fear of God into me. Seeing two parked in the paddock sent shivers down my spine. I really must face my fear at some point.


I reached the assembly area at the back of the pits just in time to see the TVR Car Club getting their members and their cars lined up for their parade laps. I grabbed a quick video on my phone of the 50 odd cars and pinged it over to the RUSH writers WhatsApp group as I think as a collective we all have a soft spot for various members of the TVR family. Personally the bright red Sagaris was the one for me, although Griffiths do look amazing value at the moment (yes I’ve been browsing the classifieds again).

Once the TVR’s had left for the track I worked my way back through the remainder of the car club displays passing a gorgeous Ferrari 348 in yellow (better than red for me on this car), then a nice line up of Aston Martin’s before arriving at a special display entitled Britain's Rarest Cars. This display that had been pulled together by the Telegraph newspaper featured 50 cars with some of them being the sole survivors of their breed.


Avoiding selecting one-off prototypes or multi-million pound limited edition hypercars, the spotlight was put on more familiar mainstream motors from bygone eras that are hardly ever seen on our roads today. I picked out the Orange Fiat 127 sport, I am guessing as it’s ancestor of my Abarth, and also a Vauxhall Cavalier Calibre probably due to the fact when I was younger and had a paper round I would deliver to a house that had one on the drive more or less identical to the one at Silverstone.


Time was running away from me and I still needed to get over to the new pit complex to see the various attractions so a quick sprint around the rest of the car clubs saw me pick out a very pretty Alpina D3 (still an itch I need to scratch), a subtly modified Lotus Elise S1, a display of more MX5’s than a petrolhead would ever need, a superb Pontiac Judge GTO and three Silver Clio V6 (not sure if there is a collective noun for these).


Although single seater racing does nothing for me, a hasty stop to grab a pic of the display of Lewis Hamilton’s championship winning cars just had to be done, especially as it’s the first time they have all been together. Judging by the crowds queuing to see this I am in the minority in not really enjoying this form of racing, but each to their own I guess.







One of the great features of the Classic is the shuttle buses that tour the circuit ferrying people around, at many of the Silverstone events these are modern buses but for the Classic they ship in a selection of vintage buses which are always a superb sight and offer the visitors a great throw back to a bygone age.


I decided to swerve the queue for the bus and walk over to the far side of the circuit, this proved to be a superb decision as it gave me a chance to catch up with an old friend. The friend in question was not a person but a very nice McLaren F1 which I had last seen in 2007. It appears the car is still in the hands of the same owner and now has to be one of the highest mileage F1’s in existence with over 45000 miles on the clock. Always a pleasure to see it and especially when it's completely unexpected.


Arriving at the Wing complex I simply had to grab some images of the 40th anniversary celebration of Group C. I actually don’t think there is a more iconic car for people of my age than the Silk Cut Jaguar and seeing a few examples of these along with a smattering of Porsche 956 and 962’s was a further highlight of an already great day.






My final task for the day was to visit the Silverstone Auctions sale that is a regular feature at the classic and is housed in two halls of the Wing complex. The auction team always manages to pull together a superb selection of cars, the highlight of the sale this year was a S1 Escort RS Turbo previously owned by Lady Diana which sold on the Saturday afternoon of the Classic event for over £650,000 (plus fees). From a RUSH viewpoint there were a few bits I picked out which I thought would excite our readers (and indeed our contributors judging by the chat on our writers group when I shared a few pics. The organisers of the auction must already be readers of the magazine as they had parked 5 such cars together. How about a Corolla AE86, a BMW E30 M3, a Mercedes 190 Evo II, a Lancer Evolution VI and a Lotus Carlton.


If only the magazine budget would allow that, it would make a cracking group test with three super saloons and a couple of left field choices for the Japanese fans. Speaking of fans of all things Japanese, heading back outside the wing to look at the additional auction entries found me having a good nosey around a rather nice Subaru P1 before turning my attention to another car that would find its way into my dream garage in the form of a Nogaro Blue Audi RS2. Simply gorgeous!


It was getting late and knowing I had a busy day moving furniture coming up I decided to make my way to the bus stop and hitched a ride in a lovely old bus back to my car to head home. Next year's event is already in the diary, hopefully there will be no house moves and I can spend some more time at this great event. If you’ve not been please do give it a look I am sure it will like me become a firm fixture on your calendar.