Report and photos by Matt White
Held 29-31 July 2016 at the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit in Northamptonshire, England, the Silverstone Classic is one of the most highly regarded classic motorsport events in Europe, even billing itself as the “World’s Biggest Classic Motor Racing Festival”. I had not visited Silverstone for a race day since the 1986 British Grand Prix, when I was a lad, and Nigel Mansell clinched a last gasp victory from the clutches of Nelson Piquet.
It was with eager anticipation that I made the journey down, to cover the event. I hadn’t shot at Silverstone before, so I was looking forward to being able to put my spin on the track. With a veritable feast of classic machinery on display, I was sure that I would come home with some great memories.
The highlight of the Silverstone Classic 2016 — although there are many — would be having the opportunity to shoot the Group C race into a blazing sunset on Saturday evening. These phenomenal cars were the stuff of dreams when I was growing up, and I had the chance to watch them race in my youth. To relive that dream armed with a camera, was a fantastic experience, and one I shall not forget. The mix of sunset colours, glowing brake discs and the spit of exhaust flames was a heady mix.
Another particular highlight was to see the ex-Mika Hakkinen McLaren on track, being driven incredibly well, allowing the crowd to experience the game-changing sound of the Mercedes V10 engine at full chat, reverberating around the stands.
On track racing was incredibly good, despite the huge amounts of money invested in preserving the staggering range of classic sports cars, the drivers were, to a man, driving hell for leather around the demanding Northamptonshire circuit. Notable races were the Supertourers, where Colin Noble Jr was put under immense pressure in his Vauxhall Vectra from a superbly driven Honda Accord, but managed to hold out for the race win on both occasions.
The duel between the Matra MS670 V12 and the McLaren M8F in the Can-Am Inter Series Cup was legendary. The scream of the Matra V12 was pitted against the raw power of the 8.8-litre McLaren. I can’t find the words to describe the cacophony that these two created, but if you ever get the chance to witness these cars jousting it out on track — take it without a second thought.
The event attracted a good size crowd, and was incredibly well run and organised. It was a pleasure to be able to attend.
In addition to our main report and photos, photographer Matt White also documented the Silverstone Classic 2016 with the following spectacular images from the 26th annual historic motor racing event at the historic 3.6-mile Silverstone Grand Prix circuit. We split up pictures into two galleries. The first gallery starting below features our favorite images, while the second gallery can be found on the last page of the article and gives a comprehensive view of all the photographs. To see more from Matt, visit MattyWhiteMedia.com.
2016 Silverstone Classic – Featured Picture Gallery
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