Every summer, thousands of fans and cars descend on the Silverstone racing circuit for The Classic, one of the foremost events on the automotive calendar. This year, Motul joins the event as a key partner. To find out more about what fans can expect, we spoke to Nick Wigley, CEO of The Classic at Silverstone.
For our readers who don’t know this event, what is The Classic at Silverstone?
It used to be called the Silverstone Classic, but this year we changed the name to The Classic at Silverstone. The Classic actually started in 1990 so, it’s one of the oldest historic festivals. It was our 30th birthday last year, but that event couldn’t happen for obvious reasons, so we're going to celebrate it this year. When I got involved with it in 2009, I could see that it could become one of the foremost events on the international calendar. It now ranks alongside Monaco Historic or Le Mans Classic, which only happens every two years. The Classic happens annually. It has really grown a lot in the last 10 or 15 years. We are now the world’s biggest historic festival, with more than 10,000 cars displayed on the infield over the course of the weekend. There’s also lots of family entertainment, from a different line-up of music each year (our headliners this year are Scouting For Girls, Brand New Heavies and Aswad), to a fun fair, test drives and a huge shopping area.
Why did you choose to partner with Motul?
We are very, very happy to be partnering with an internationally renowned brand like Motul. I think it's a partnership that has massive synergies. And, of course, we have a huge number of competitors, and a huge number of classic car owners and enthusiasts, all of whom would be potential users for Motul. It’s a great partnership for both of us.
How will the event be different this year? Will Covid get in the way?
Yeah, that’s an impossible question to answer right now. We believe that the event is going to go ahead in a fairly normal way. In the UK, they have been running some, what they call, pilot events where they have restricted numbers of people attending, and then they're all being very closely monitored to see whether there is any effect at all. Which, by the time our event happens, at the end of July, we hope all the restrictions will be lifted, and we will be able to run a normal event. Of course, there might be some restrictions like social distancing or Covid passports, but none of that is available information yet.
How long does it take to prepare for an event like this and, as organisers, what does it feel like on that Sun evening when the event is over, and it’s been a success?
Up to now, I've never had anything but elation. I think this year is going to top anything that's ever happened in the past because of having had a year out. Yeah, I am looking forward to that Sunday night, when everybody's gone home and it's quieter, and we've had a fantastic event.
As cars become more electric and automated, how important are events like this in continuing the heritage, passion, tradition and culture of motoring?
I think events like these are vital. If you think about it, the shift is now towards electric cars. Events like this are really going to show and showcase the history of motoring. Our race program, for instance, is the biggest you will see anywhere in the world. We have around 1000 competing cars, with 21 races, and we cover everything right back to the 1920s, from pre-war sports cars right through to modern race cars. So, we've actually got 100 years of racing history taking part in the event, including a grid of old Formula One cars. Events like this give fans real noise and real excitement.