60 Minis For The Mini’s 60th Birthday—Silverstone Classic Is Set For Another Record-Smashing Grid
The all-popular and evergreen Mini celebrates its 60th birthday this year, and the Silverstone Classic is never one to let a landmark pass it by. Certainly not one as grand as this. The Mini, launched in 1959, revolutionized small car design and became a ‘Swinging Sixties’ icon with it. The Classic had already confirmed that at this summer’s event would mark the diamond jubilee with two special all-Mini races, competing for ‘The Mini Celebration Trophy’. Mini action will feature on all three days of the event, which takes place on July 26 to 28, with its qualifying on the Friday and a 20-minute race each on the Saturday and Sunday. There also will be an anniversary track parade at Friday lunchtime.
Now Silverstone Classic has confirmed that it, appropriately, has received entries for 60 Minis for the 60th anniversary races. Slightly unfortunately, the track’s capacity is 58 starters meaning that as things stand at least two Minis will miss out, remaining on the reserve list. Still, it’s reckoned to be another world record grid for this year’s running of the world’s largest historic motor racing festival, joining what is also set to be a record-breaking Formula 2 grid at the 2019 event.
And given the entire multitude of original pre-1966 Minis are fitted with similar race-prepared 1275cc engines and built to identical technical regulations, the action is sure to be competitive. Plus there will be plenty of noteworthy drivers racing them, including British Touring Car Championship aces such as 2013 champion Andrew Jordan, as well as Jeff Smith, Michael Caine and Patrick Watts, joining proven Mini aces like Jonathan Lewis, Ian Curley, Bill Sollis, Lars Ekorness and Nick Swift. Best-selling crime-fiction writer Peter James will be dicing with them too. Entries have come from throughout Europe and even from as far afield as the USA.
“With 58 Minis slipstreaming around Silverstone, these are going to be absolutely mad races!,” predicts Jordan who recently gave BMW’s latest 330i M Sport its maiden win in the 2019 BTCC season-opener at Brands Hatch. “I’m really looking forward to it–I utterly love historic racing and the Silverstone Classic which is now such a massive event. These Mini races will be one of my highlights of the year. We’ve bought a car which we’re rebuilding at the moment, which in itself is really enjoyable. We will have a few tests before the event and then see how we go. While I race historics for fun, of course I’m going to try to win. Actually, I think we’ve got a very good chance of winning!”
Silverstone Classic CEO, Nick Wigley, was meanwhile thrilled at the prospect. “Last month we announced a record, full-capacity grid of historic F2 single-seaters and now we have the prospect of this equally incredible line-up of Minis,” he said. “Everyone loves the Mini and to see so many of them all racing together bumper-to-bumper on the country’s premier circuit is going to be a staggering sight that no one who’s lucky enough to witness it will ever, ever forget.”
Images courtesy of Silverstone Classic