The headline grabbing career of one of Britain’s most charismatic and colorful sportsmen will be celebrated at this summer’s Silverstone Classic from the 29th to the 31st of July. It is exactly 40 years since hard driving, fast living James Hunt overcame all the odds to win the FIA Formula One World Championship in 1976 – a dramatic feat recently acclaimed in the award-winning Ron Howard directed movie Rush.
Hunt sadly passed away in 1993 at the age of just 45 but the legend lives on and the 40th anniversary of his crowning achievement will be marked at the world’s biggest historic motor racing festival with special displays curated by his two sons Freddie and Tom. These displays will include a number of James’ most notable road and racing cars plus rarely seen trophies and memorabilia from the flamboyant Englishman’s title winning 1976 season.
The special celebrations at Silverstone are very appropriate, too, as Hunt savored more Formula One success at the superfast Northamptonshire venue than at any other circuit worldwide. As a much-loved underdog, home hero Hunt scored a hugely popular maiden F1 win at Silverstone in April 1974 when racing for the locally based Hesketh team.
Two years later, Hunt ignited his title winning campaign with a second confidence boosting International Trophy victory, this time for his new team McLaren. And it was at Silverstone that, as reigning champion, he won his only British Grand Prix after an epic dice with John Watson in 1977.
“I know the crowds at Silverstone back in the seventies really took my dad’s heroics to their hearts, so it’s going to be very special for all of us in the family to be marking the 40th anniversary of his World Championship at this summer’s Silverstone Classic,” said Freddie Hunt. “I’ve seen so many photos and films of my father racing the M23 that it really was emotional to get behind the wheel and experience just a smidgeon of what it must have been like to race these fantastic F1 cars in period. It really was a remarkable era and one which the Classic always celebrates in style.”
Aside from the Hunt celebrations a host of the famous stars and evocative cars will wow the crowds. With lots of models and marques set to celebrate momentous milestones this summer, including the 50th birthday of the iconic Lamborghini Miura and 25 years of the charismatic Nissan Figaro.
For the first time at the Silverstone Classic, there will be four separate touring car grids – the JET Super Touring Car Trophy (1990-2000), Historic Touring Car Challenge (1967-1989), Big-Engined Touring Cars (Pre ’66) and Under 2-Litre Touring Cars (Pre ’66) – bringing together more than 200 of the nation’s best-loved cars.
In another addition to the Group C twilight race, FIA Masters Historic Formula One, Legends of Modern Formula One and Stirling Moss Trophy amongst many others, the new Can-Am 50 Interserie Challenge will stage its season finale at the Classic. Extending the event’s appeal to two- and three-wheeled fans as well as car connoisseurs, the Classic will also welcome to the bill World GP Bike Legends.
Away from the racetrack, the infield display will include live music concerts from chart-toppers The Boomtown Rats, The Stranglers and Reef. Over 120 car clubs will be exhibiting classic models, Silverstone Auctions will be in full swing, a series of aviation displays, a live Range Rover restoration and for the first time a Concours d’Elegance.
All tickets for the 2016 Silverstone Classic must be purchased in advance. Adult admission starts at just £42 and sticks to the Classic’s widely-praised ‘access all areas’ policy, thus providing admission to both National and Wing race paddocks, trackside grandstands, the vintage funfair, air displays and the live music concerts. We really can’t wait!