Goodwood withdrawal symptoms? Mourning the passing of another British Grand Prix? Both? Might we humbly suggest rather than facing the cold turkey alone you get to Silverstone this weekend where no less than 1060 legendary cars will race —race — in no less than 24 separate events. It’s the Silverstone Classic, the biggest racing event… in the world.
And to encourage you to get out in the sunshine and make the trip up/down east/west to the Home of Formula One to enjoy levels of access you simply don’t get anywhere else, we’re going to be looking at of one of the Classic’s star attractions each day this week.
Today is the Ferrari 512, the ‘other car’ in Steve McQueen’s ‘Le Mans’. But don’t wait until Friday to make your mind up whether to go. Tickets are on sale only until 17.00 this Thursday. As of now, there are no tickets on the gate. Details are on www.silverstoneclassic.com.
Before we get to the 512, we think we should point out there are over 100 Grand Prix cars from the 1920s to the 1980s taking part. There are races in honour of Jim Clark, who won the first of his two titles in 1963, and Froilan Ganzales, who died just last month but will always be remembered as the first man to steer a Grand Prix Ferrari to a win.
Saturday dusk races include an impressive grid of Group C Le Mans cars, which follows the afternoon’s Masters Historic Sports Car race (including a bunch of GT40s, a ‘made-from-original-bits’ Porsche 917 (drop any high-falutin’ objections and give in to your sense of awe… a 917 racing!!) and that Ferrari 512.
The 512 M, the second evolution of the five-litre V12 powered sports car enjoyed only a short life, shorter even than that of the 917, which already had a year’s extra development on it by the time Ferrari built the 512.
Although fragile — especially at Le Mans where it was raced by Le Mans legend Jacky Ickx — the 512s took the fight to the lighter, arguably more sophisticated Porsche 917s. Towards the end of 1970 Ferrari won the Sebring 12 hours and various non-champion races, but it was too late to avoid Porsche domination of sports cars racing in 1970, and by then Enzo Ferrari had moved on to his next car, as was the unsentimental old bugger’s want.
Only 25 512s were ever made, fewer ever actually completed, and many of them were cobbled up into show cars and CanAm cars, so just seeing one race is enough of a treat. To see it duelling on a track with a 917 is almost worth the trip to Silverstone alone.
We’ll back tomorrow with more from Silverstone’s line up, including one predecessor of the BT52 Brabham-BMW — one of the stars of this year’s Goodwood Festival Of Speed — the world championship winning Brabham—Ford BT49C.