The Silverstone Classic is to many the highlight of the Historic Racing Season and this year’s event was no exception. M & C Wilkinson were competing with two E-Types; one in the “Piper Heidsieck International Trophy for Classic GT Cars pre 66” and the other in the “Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy for Historic Cars Pre 63 GT”.
Qualifying took place on Friday morning, with Chris out first in his E-Type 968 UXY which we had prepared to FIA “Paper 34” specification prior to the event. The “Pre 63 GT” series has gone from strength to strength with an incredible line up of cars and drivers taking part thus meaning the competition was of the highest calibre!
A perfect day’s weather with glorious sunshine throughout the day saw Chris gradually improve his lap times to finish 9th overall and 3rd E-Type on the grid.
Later that afternoon our attention turned to Jamie’s Lightweight E-Type which was qualifying in what was described as the “main event” of the weekend, with over sixty plus pre 66 GT cars racing for honours.
Again the car and driver line up was incredible with some of the biggest names in historic motorsport taking part. Jamie set about making his mark on the grid, he slowly moved up the order lap by lap and by the end of the session he was 22nd out of 62 highly competitive cars.
Saturday’s forecast did not look promising with the possibility of rain throughout the day. Chris was first out in the Pre 63 GT for his first taste of this fantastic series. Despite the forecast the rain stayed away during the fifty minute race for one or two drivers. Chris got off to a good start and was soon as high as sixth after lap one, he then found himself at the back of a four car tussle with three Aston Martins. The Astons could power away down the straights but in the corners the E-Type was taking chunks out of them. However when Chris managed to dive up the inside of Carlos Monteverde in his Aston he decided to close the door and take a chunk out of his bonnet which caused him to spin and lose time.
Nevertheless he regained his composure and tried to gradually move back up the order. At just over half way Chris pitted for his compulsory stop. He stopped the car, jumped out, ran round and got back in whilst replenishing with water. A quick re belt by his mechanics and he was back out having moved ahead of the second place E-Type of Wood/Wood.
As the race further developed and began to reach its climax he was in close pursuit once again of Carlos Monterverde’s Aston (with Gary Pearson now at the helm). Despite setting his fastest laps of the race Gary just kept Chris at bay so as they crossed the line he had finished 7th overall and 2nd E-Type. A great performance from team and driver especially given we only had four weeks to prepare the car for the event from its previous lightweight format!
Later that evening came the “Piper Heidsieck International Trophy”. Right on cue the heavens opened as promised, making conditions treacherous to say the very least!! The race started under a safety car for the first three laps in order to allow drivers time to get to grips with the ever changing conditions.
When racing commenced on lap four Jamie had managed to move up into the top twenty, keeping out of trouble as best as he could as others around him did not! As the pit window opened a safety car period came due to a car stranded on track. Jamie managed (despite poor visibility) to be one of the first to react by coming in for his compulsory one minute stop.
Having reacted so quickly Jamie now lied in 6th place overall and once racing resumed he moved up to 5th chasing the Bryant Cobra. Unfortunately this time it was Jamie who was then caught out by the changing conditions and as the rain fell even heavier he spun and stalled losing him a massive chunk of time.
Jamie had managed to resume racing following his spin and as the chequered flag fell he was 15th overall, giving the team another fantastic race result by the end!