Full plans for another spectacular Silverstone Classic were unveiled at the event's media day on March 23rd to journalists from around the globe. The home of British motor racing hosted a day long event bringing together journalists, celebrities, show organisers, competitors and car exhibits to announce the full line up for what sounds like the biggest and best Silverstone Classic yet.
All the highly successful elements that attracted more than 100,000 visitors for the past two summers are back on the packed three-day entertainment programme. This year's standout bill features exciting new races, a special world record anniversary parade, more off-track entertainment for all ages than ever before, the largest ever car club attendance, evocative live music concerts with chart-topping songs from the sixties and eighties plus an impressive line-up of racing celebrities.
At the heart of it all and playing a key role in the Silverstone Classic media day was the TR Register who launched the anniversary celebrations for the TR3A and TR5.
When production began in 1957, the TR3A was never officially known as anything more than an update to the TR3. The styling was updated with a 'wide mouth' grille and the luxury of external door handles was added. The best selling of the 'sidescreen' equipped TRs, the TR3A was uprated during production to 100BHP with a larger version of the existing four cylinder engine taking it to 2138cc. More importantly it became the first production sports car to be available with disc brakes as standard - ground breaking for the time.
The TR5, which celebrates it's half centenary was an equally important milestone model in the Triumph range. It was the first of the six cylinder TRs, certainly the quickest but also the first to sport the all new technology of Lucas Petrol Injection. USA emissions regulations mean't that the car never made it across the pond, the USA instead opting for the twin carburettor'd TR250. A stop gap, one season model only the TR5 soon made way for the TR6 which appeared for sale in early 1969 it is now one of the rarest and most desirable TRs combining masculine performance with the curvy feminine styling from Italian Giovanni Michelotti.
"It's an incredibly important year of anniversaries for us with two models that marked a significant milestone and adoption of new technology of the time within the TR range" was the comment to press from the TR Register's Eastern Area Director Dave Burgess.
Whilst the TR Register cars which consisted of two TR5s and two TR3A's one of which was the ex Competitions Department development/support and recce car VHP529 were on display outside, the press conference took place on the top floor of the wing.
TR's under the wing
"We have stellar event lined up for this summer," confirmed Nick Wigley, CEO of event organiser, Goose Live Events. "We are constantly reviewing every aspect of the Silverstone Classic, and feedback has taught us that its three key attributes for fans are the absolute quality, scale and breadth of the racing content, our access all areas policy and the all-inclusive nature of the tickets.
"It's a fantastic event packed full of entertainment, and we will continue to build upon all the positive elements from last year's spectacular. Ticket sales are currently up 17 percent on the same stage in 2016, which is very encouraging, and we are selling far more three-day tickets than ever before. We already have a record number of car clubs registered to attend, too, so all the signs are pointing to the biggest and best Silverstone Classic yet."
Indeed, with the largest number of competition cars and the widest variety of historic racing grids seen anywhere on earth, the Silverstone Classic is the premier event on the international historic racing calendar.
Media conference in full swing
As ever, this summer's unrivalled bill includes all of Europe's leading historic racing championships for Formula One, single-seater, GT, touring and sportscars from motor sport's most celebrated eras – with some 130 iconic cars turning out to test today. The weekend will pack in an impressive 23 races in total – many boasting in excess of 50 entries.
Tiff Needell was another high-profile name in attendance at the Media Preview. The former grand prix driver and current Fifth Gear presenter will be joining the Formula Ford grid this summer, in addition to fronting ITV4's coverage of the event. He will be racing his original Lotus 69F which he has recently purchased back.
Tiff Needell with his original Formula Ford car
"I remember being at Brands Hatch as a 15-year-old spectator for the very first Formula Ford race," he recalled. "I subsequently entered a competition for a Lotus 69F, which I won, and after scraping the rust off my tow car, I transported the little Lotus to races up and down the country.
Media day offers an opportunity for free testing
Needell, Gardner and Spencer will also be part of the new Celebrity Challenge Race. Other famous faces present included Olympic gold medallist Mark Hunter, adventurer Charley Boorman and newly-announced 'Wheeler Dealers' host Ant Anstead, all of whom will get a chance to experience the Austin A35 on Silverstone's legendary GP circuit.
"I'm in it to win it." says Ant Anstead
"I'm always on the lookout for opportunities to have a bit of fun, and everybody will be up for the challenge," enthused Boorman. "It's going to be a fabulous weekend."
Charlie Boorman enjoying a Ferrari
Over 10,000 privately-owned classics will be proudly displayed during the course of the three-day event, with anniversary parades set to include the Jaguar XJ220, Fiat 500, Ferrari OC, Lotus 7, TVR and the TR Register.
The sight of 50 plus Jaguar XJ220's will be quite breathtaking just before the TR Register take to the track late on the Saturday afternoon to commemorate the TR3A and TR5 anniversaries with a special parade lap at the event. This fits neatly with Jaguar Land Rover once again being announced as partners for the event.
David Brabham who raced the XJ220 at Le Mans with David Coulthard shared some of his recollections from the 24 hour campaign that year; "Victory did not come easily. First of all the air jack failed and dropped the car on my foot which swelled up so big my race boot wouldn't fit. The during the race the drivers footwell filled with fuel and it was all capped off with being disqualified in the weeks after the event!"
David Brabham reunited with his Jaguar XJ220
Williams will also be marking the 40th anniversary of its Formula 1 debut in the 1977 Spanish Grand Prix at this year's Classic and to help announce the celebrations, Nigel Mansell's 1992 title-winning car returned to Silverstone for the first time since the British hero won on home soil 25 years ago.
Nigel Mansell's championship winning F1 Williams Renault
Returning family favourites include the JET Village Green complete with the Scarf & Goggles pub, dramatic Street Car Shoot Outs, air shows, a shopping village now with its very own Town Square and live music from the Bootleg Beatles, Tony Hadley and the Dire Straits Experience – all included in the overall ticket price.
Throughout the weekend, the TR Register will be once again hosting members in our allocated display area within the infield supplying a meeting place, shelter form the hot sun and free tea, coffee and biscuits. All attendees present will have an opportunity to take part in the commemorative track parades.
The Silverstone Classic media event concluded with all owners of cars being treated to a couple of laps around Silverstone in some of the star cars of the event followed by a photo shoot out on circuit for use in press releases and articles in the lead up to the greatest historic motorsport in the UK, Silverstone Classic 2017.
WEC & Le Mans Driver Richard Bradley takes the Editor out in his 1935 Aston Martin
A special thanks to Dave Burgess, Dave Gillespie, Dave Soloman and Iain Paul for supplying display cars on the day. To book your tickets to take part in the TR Register display, use the club booking code on the back pages of TR Action Magazine or within the members area of the website.
TRs always capture the press attention!