An Appropriate 60 Minis Will Race On Track For Mini’s 60th Birthday At Silverstone Classic
Silverstone Classic’s celebrations of the Mini’s 60th birthday at this year’s historic racing event, taking place on July 26 to 28, has just got a bit more special. We had previously reported that the Classic was planning a pair of anniversary races of evocative pre-1966 Mini Cooper S machines, and had received an appropriate number of 60 entries for them.
There was a small problem though that the Silverstone track’s race grid capacity was slightly short of this, at 58 cars–which, as well as spoiling the symmetry, would mean two entries would miss out. But the Classic now has been able to get special dispensation from Motorsport UK, UK’s motorsport governing body, to indeed increase the starting grid for the diamond jubilee races to a very appropriate 60!
Therefore these Mini races will not only be the greatest on-track field of retro Minis ever seen anywhere on the planet, they also will break the Silverstone Classic event’s all-time grid number record. “It only seems right and proper that we mark the Mini’s 60th milestone with a 60-car grid, so we are really grateful to those at Motorsport UK and Masters Historic Racing, who are organizing these anniversary races, for securing this special permission,” said Silverstone Classic CEO Nick Wigley.
“As well as being a sixties fashion icon, the Mini’s reputation was built on some wonderful motorsport successes, so there could neither be a better, nor more appropriate, way to celebrate its 60th anniversary than with an incredible 60-strong grid at the world’s biggest classic motor racing festival.”
Also adding to the Mini’s diamond jubilee celebrations at the Classic, Mini legend Paddy Hopkirk will be reunited with his Monte Carlo Rally-winning #37 Cooper S to lead a glittering track parade of Minis on Friday lunchtime. Hopkirk and co-driver Henry Liddon won the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally, which was one of the Mini’s first and most famous international sporting successes.
“I’m really flattered to have been asked to front this fantastic parade,” Hopkirk said. “It’s great that I’ll be back in my old car and I’m going to be bringing the Monte trophy along, too. It was presented to me by Princess Grace. The Classic is such a brilliant event and, oh my goodness, it will be absolutely amazing to see 60 Minis altogether on the track at the same time.”
The two 20-minute Mini races at the Classic promise to be feisty affairs, and have an all-star driver entry, with entrants from throughout Europe and as far afield as the US. Proven Mini aces such as Jonathan Lewis, Ian Curley, Bill Sollis, Lars Ekorness and Nick Swift will be joined by a number of well-known racers from elsewhere including multiple Le Mans class winner Darren Turner, Patrick Watts who first made a name for himself winning the Mini 850 Championship in 1979 and later became a popular British Touring Car Championship racer, as well as 2013 BTCC Champion Andrew Jordan.
Images courtesy of Silverstone Classic