For the first time in its 29-year history, next summer’s Silverstone Classic will feature dedicated races for Formula 1, Formula 2 and Formula 3 thus creating the festival’s first ever international single-seater showcase.
The Classic’s race-card has always dished up crowd-pleasing Formula 1 showdowns featuring the great Grand Prix cars from much-loved past eras and in 2019, the firm favourites of FIA Masters Historic Formula One and the HGPCA (Historic Grand Prix Cars Association) will return. Never before, though, has the packed programme included dedicated races for Formula 2 cars, while the ever-evocative Classic Formula 3 series returns for the first time since 2014.
Ensuring all the 100,000+ show-goers can savour the notable occasion, the milestone F1, F2 and F3 action will be spread across all three days with qualifying on Friday and then back-to-back races on Saturday and Sunday.
Starring a host of iconic cars as raced in period by the likes of Jochen Rindt, Ronnie Peterson, Jody Scheckter, Graham Hill and Sir Jackie Stewart, the flourishing Historic Formula 2 International Series is open to cars built between 1967 and the end of the 1978 season.
It was an era when F2 was the proving ground for young drivers intent on making the step into Grand Prix racing, and it was not unusual for F1 stars to step back into F2 on their free weekends. Chassis rivalry was just as fierce, with Matra and Martini from France and Tecno from Italy against March, Brabham, Lotus and Chevron from Great Britain.
Offering fast and reasonably accessible racing, the Historic 2 Series – organised by the Historic Sports Car Club (HSCC) – is enjoying a huge revival regularly attracting grids of close to 30 cars. Now with more chassis’ being prepared and a double-header date at the Classic in prospect, the HSCC is aiming for up to 40 cars – a target, if achieved, that would be the biggest-ever Formula 2 grid.
Joining F2, and making a welcome return to the Classic, the HSCC-managed Classic F3 Championship is also targeting a massive 40 car field with competitors from the popular French Formula 3 invited too. Entries will cover Formula 3 cars originally built and raced between 1971 and 1984 thus covering two eras with earlier 1600cc twin-cam cars joined by the later 2-litre cars that were introduced in 1974. Furthering the interest and spectacle, grids are expected to include genuine period cars as raced by drivers like Martin Brundle, Derek Warwick and Nelson Piquet on their respective ways to the top.
“Every summer we aim to enhance the established crowd-favourites with some outstanding new additions and to have Historic Formula 2 and Classic Formula 3 on the 2019 race-card for the very first time will make next year’s festival really special,” enthused Nick Wigley, Silverstone Classic CEO.
“As everyone knows, such is the immense scale of the Classic that it also has a great history of breaking records and setting new standards, so the prospect of not only the Classic's first-ever Formula 2 grid but also quite possibly the biggest field of Formula 2 cars ever seen anywhere on the planet further fuels excitement.”
Grahame White, CEO of the HSCC is equally delighted. He said: “The chance to race at the Silverstone Classic is very special and I’m delighted that our Formula 2 and Formula 3 grids will get this opportunity next summer. I think we will be able to deliver bumper grids and tremendous racing, showcasing these categories to a huge audience.”
The special F1, F2 and F3 single-seater celebration joins those grids already confirmed for next summer’s Classic, these include the prestigious Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy for Pre ’63 GT Cars, the Transatlantic Trophy for Pre '66 Touring Cars, FIA Masters Historic Sportscars and the new Masters Endurance Legends. News of further exciting races will follow in the New Year.