2018 Aston Martin Vantage on track

Aston Martin is moving into Silverstone

2018 Aston Martin Vantage on trackAston Martin is opening a new test and development centre at Silverstone, as momentum builds further in the company’s ‘Second Century’ business plan for new cars.

The Silverstone Test Centre will augment the firm’s high-speed test centre at the Nürburgring in Germany, and will at last give the Gaydon-based company a dedicated UK testing facility once again.

Under Ford ownership, Aston was able to share access to the test track next to its HQ, but the growth of Jaguar Land Rover in recent years means the British brands have effectively usurped Aston from the circuit next door.

Silverstone, just a few miles down the road, is the perfect substitute.

Aston Martin DB4 GT at Silverstone

Aston’s chief of vehicle attribute Matt Becker said: “Every company needs a reference circuit and I can think of none more suitable than Silverstone. It is the perfect location to develop the next generation of Aston Martins.”

Aston president and CEO Dr Andy Palmer said he was “pleased that we can now call Silverstone home for dynamic testing and development”.

Aston Martin Vantage

Stuart Pringle is managing director of Silverstone: “Automotive brand centres have always been a big part of Silverstone’s diversification plans,” he explained, “and I am delighted to be in a position to announce that Aston Martin have chosen Silverstone as the location to open their new testing and development centre.   

“Our two brands have such a rich British motorsport heritage and I look forward to working closely with the team at Aston Martin to build on our relationship and ensure the partnership helps deliver on key business objectives for both parties.”

Aston Martin will carry out prototype vehicle testing at Silverstone, with a focus on chassis dynamics and high-speed handling. The circuit is known as one of the fastest and most challenging on the F1 circuit (and one of the most well-loved by drivers), so should provide the perfect playground test centre for Aston’s development drivers.

‘A leading UK automotive employer’

Aston Martin Vantage

The firm also announced plans to create a new Central London office, which it will use for meetings and events with customers and investors. The new site will complement its brand centre at London’s posh Dover Street.

Aston Martin’s total UK workforce should reach 5,000 by 2022, added Dr Palmer. “The company is now investing for growth across the Aston Martin and Lagonda brands.

“Aston Martin will soon become one of the leading automotive employers in the UK. We are currently one of the largest automotive recruiters in the UK, investing approximately 10 percent of the total automotive investments in the UK, creating exciting new opportunities across engineering, design, manufacturing and commercial operations.”

Aston Martin Lagonda’s 10 UK sites

  • Chase Point: Purchasing, body-in-white assembly
  • Gaydon: Global HQ, design studio, sports car manufacturing, commercial operations, research and development
  • London (Dover Street): Brand centre, event space
  • London (Soho Square): Commercial operations, event space
  • Milton Keynes: Aston Martin Red Bull Racing joint projects, design studio, commercial operations
  • Newport Pagnell: Aston Martin Works, continuation series manufacturing
  • Silverstone: Testing and development
  • St Athan: Large platform vehicle manufacturing, research and development
  • Wellesbourne: Special Vehicle Operations, prototype development
  • Wolverton Mill: Parts distribution

Read more:

Want to drive a McLaren on-track? Here’s how

Pure McLaren at SilverstoneThere’s being thrown in at the deep end, and there’s doing your first track day in a McLaren. The 570S hits 62mph in 3.2sec, a VMax of 204mph and costs a not-unsubstantial £145k. And I’ll be driving it flat-out at Silverstone. You could, too.

This isn’t my first time on-track per se. I’ve driven a few laps here and there on car launches, usually with a white-knuckled press officer in the passenger seat. Today, though, will be different: I’ll be alongside a professional racing driver, pushing me to my limits. As for the McLaren’s limits… well, we’ll come to that.

More McLaren features on Motoring Research:

A history of motorsportPure McLaren at Silverstone

McLaren was born on the track. The company made its first racing car in 1966, but it wasn’t until the epochal F1 of 1992 that it built something with number plates. Following a big-budget comeback in 2011, McLaren has fast become a credible rival for Ferrari and Lamborghini, with road-going machines from the 540C to the P1 hypercar. But it remains keen to reinforce those motorsport roots. That’s where Pure McLaren comes in.

Pure McLaren is series of events at circuits around the world; Germany is next, followed by Portugal and Belgium. Owners can bring their own cars, or pay to drive a track-ready 570S or 650S (McLaren’s just-launched 720S will be added in due course). There’s also a coaching programme for those who want to go racing.

Racers ready to rollPure McLaren at Silverstone

After a quick safety briefing, I grab a helmet and head for the pitlane. Each garage houses a fully-fledged McLaren racer – 570S GT4, 650S Sprint or P1 GTR – all being prepped for track use. The place is a hive of carefully managed activity, as mechanics pore over telemetry data to a soundtrack of turbocharged V8s.

Even in retina-scorching Ventura Orange, my 570S looks pretty reserved alongside the bespoilered GT4 version. Yet it’s still a dramatic design: low, wedgy and unmistakably mid-engined. I drop down into the deep bucket seat, pull down the dihedral door and plug in my helmet intercom. Time to hit the track.

Learning from a GT3 driverPure McLaren at Silverstone

My instructor is James, a man whose day-job is racing an Aston Martin Vantage GT3. He’s quiet, well-spoken and modest, but clearly has an enviable CV. “I do a lot of historic racing,” he adds, “1960s F1 cars, Ford GT40s and the like.”

I feel duly humbled. Compared to an old F1 car, hustling a modern McLaren around Silverstone must be child’s play. “In some ways,” says James, “but driving any car quickly takes experience and skill.” His words echo in my head as I prod the starter button and the V8 erupts rudely into life. Let’s hope I can make up with the latter what I lack in the former…

On-track at SilverstonePure McLaren at Silverstone

I trundle slowly down the pitlane, then floor it as we exit onto Farm Curve. The engine and chassis are both in Track mode and I’m shifting gears manually using the paddles behind the steering wheel. I carve right into Village Corner, dab the brakes then dive left and blast up through third, fourth and fifth gears along Wellington straight. Then it’s hard on the brakes again, aiming for the late apex at Brooklands as James relays calm, concise instructions via the intercom.

The Mclaren’s 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 sounds functional rather than musical. But by God, it’s quick. Response is instant and full-throttle gearchanges feel razor-sharp. The speed just keeps building, too; I see nearly 150mph on the Hanger Straight before hauling on the anchors again for Stowe. Only here, a long fourth-gear corner, do I find myself wishing for a little more oomph.

Stick to the scriptPure McLaren at Silverstone

“Brake. Wait for it. Now turn. Steady on the gas. Hug the inside. Now straighten the wheel. And go for it. Fourth gear. Fifth gear. Brake, brake, brake.” Having James’s commentary in my ears seems oddly reminiscent of my misspent youth playing Colin McRae Rally. As a P1 blitzes past, I try to focus solely on his instructions. And the more closely I follow them, the smoother -– and faster – I get.

Smoothness is, of course, the key to driving fast, but that doesn’t mean the 570S can’t be provoked. A couple of times, I overcook my entry-speed into a corner and feel the track-oriented Pirelli P-Zero Corsa rear tyres sliding gently wide. Then as my confidence increases, I push harder, even managing a dab of opposite lock through Becketts.

Slip versus gripPure McLaren at Silverstone

Surprisingly, James seems to approve. “That’s what I like about the 570S: it’s playful”, he says. “The 675LT has a lot more aero, including the active airbrake, and that ultimately makes it much faster. But it doesn’t move around like the 570S. This car is great fun on-track.”

That’s high praise indeed from a man more used to GT3 cars – even if McLaren is signing his pay cheque today. And, for what it’s worth, I concur. I do three sessions in the 570S and each one passes in an adrenalised blur. Silverstone is largely flat and featureless, making it a difficult circuit to learn, but with James’s help I keep the racing line, braking later and getting steadily faster. By the time I pull into the pitlane for the third time, mouth dry and face flushed, I’m convinced I’ve got the hang of it.

Driver demo timePure McLaren at Silverstone

Then James and I swap seats; it’s time for my ‘driver demonstration’ laps. He clears his throat, pulls the wheel in close and conversation stops. Out of the pitlane, he buries the throttle then – oooof! – brakes so hard I nearly headbutt the windscreen. We’re carrying far more speed through the corners now, the car shimmying on the limit of grip. I brace myself for the left at Brooklands, but the brutality of James’s braking still hurls me forward. Racing drivers don’t know the meaning of mechanical sympathy.

I clamber clumsily out of the car: half-euphoric, half-exhausted. A pit crew swarms around, checking levels and deflating hot Pirellis. My first track day is over, but already I’m determined to book another. If you’d like to attend a Pure McLaren event, there are six more this year to choose from. They aren’t cheap – at around £1,000 – but it’s an experience you won’t forget.

Thanks to Salon Privé and Pirelli for their help with this feature

Modern classics on sale at the NEC Classic Motor Show

Modern classics on sale at the NEC Classic Motor Show

Modern classics on sale at the NEC Classic Motor ShowThe classic car season might be drawing to a close, but there’s still time to buy a modern classic for spring 2017. We’ve selected the best on offer at the Silverstone Auctions NEC Classic Motor Show sale, including many icons from the 1980s and 1990s.

Modern classics on sale at the NEC Classic Motor ShowLamborghini Countach LP400 S: £350,000 – £400,000

A Bianco White over red leather Lamborghini Countach: you can’t get more 80s than that. All you need to complete the effect is some Jan Hammer on the cassette player, a pair of red braces and a couple of shoulder pads. The LP400 S was launched in 1978 and featured a host of mechanical and exterior upgrades.

Modern classics on sale at the NEC Classic Motor ShowPorsche 911 Carrera 2.7 MFI: £240,000 – £280,000

According to Total 911 magazine, the 911 Carrera 2.7 MFI is the best impact bumper Porsche 911 of all time. The bumpers were introduced to satisfy US safety regulations, and weren’t exactly welcomed with open arms. The magazine claims “the Porsche 911 Carrera 2.7 proved that Zuffenhausen’s G-Series cars could still excite”. This 1975 car was restored in 2015, although “every effort was made to preserve as much of the original car as possible”.

Modern classics on sale at the NEC Classic Motor ShowPorsche 911 Turbo ‘Flachbau’: £130,000 – £150,000

From a Porsche 911 famous for its bumpers, to one famous for its nose. This is a 930 Turbo ‘flatnose’ or ‘Flachbau’, so called because of its streamlined nose. It was inspired by the 935 race cars and a mere 50 were built for the UK market. It was actually destined for North America, but a cancelled order led to it leaving the factory as a right-hand-drive model.

Modern classics on sale at the NEC Classic Motor ShowPorsche 911 Turbo SE ‘Flachbau’: £100,000 – £120,000

‘Flatnose’ Porsche 911 are like buses: you wait an age for one to come along and then two appear in the same auction. Actually, 911 Turbos share little in common with buses, other than, perhaps, the location of the engine. This 1985 ‘Flatnose’ was registered to Porsche GB and wore the famous 911 HUL number plate. This was the cover star of Car magazine, January 1986, with the accompanying line of “Into the red in second, the speedo shows 95mph.”

Modern classics on sale at the NEC Classic Motor ShowMercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II: £100,000 – £115,000

We conclude our Porsche triple-bill, but remain in Stuttgart for this Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II. The ‘Evo II’ upped the ante, with 235hp as opposed to 195hp offered by the original Evolution, helping to deliver a top speed of 155mph and a 0-62mph time of 7.1 seconds. Only 502 units were ever produced and the one offered by Silverstone Auctions is number 28.

Modern classics on sale at the NEC Classic Motor ShowBMW M3 Sport Evolution: £95,000 – £115,000

Proof, if proof were needed, that performance cars of the 80s and 90s are in strong demand, this BMW M3 Sport Evolution – or Evo III – is likely to sell for a price in excess of £100,000. In every sense of the word, the Sport Evolution is the ultimate E30 M3, with the engine pumped up to 2.5 litres, delivering 254hp. It was also sharper and lighter than previous models.

Modern classics on sale at the NEC Classic Motor ShowFerrari Testarossa Koenig Competition: £95,000 – £115,000

The Ferrari Testarossa Koenig Evolution was ranked number one in Car magazine’s top 10 German Mod Crimes of the 80s, although author Chris Chilton did note that it’s “probably the most famous modified supercar of the 1980s”. It was the work of racer Willy Koenig, who felt the Testarossa needed more power and a less stylish body. Like blue eyeshadow and Limahl’s hairstyle, some things are better left in the 80s.

Modern classics on sale at the NEC Classic Motor ShowFerrari 412: £80,000 – £95,000

Time has been incredibly kind to the Ferrari 412, a car that can trace its roots back to 1973 and the launch of the 365 GT4 2+2. It arrived in 1985 and, despite appearances, was much improved on the car it replaced: the Ferrari 400. The V12 engine now had a cubic capacity of 4,943cc, while it was also the first Ferrari to offer Bosch ABS as standard. This particular example was first registered in New Zealand and has covered a mere 6,650 miles in three decades.

Modern classics on sale at the NEC Classic Motor ShowFerrari 355 F1 Spider ‘Serie Fiorano’: £75,000 – £90,000

The F355 arrived in 1994 and was the first Ferrari to feature a semi-automatic soft-top roof. The 355 F1 Spider ‘Serie Fiorano’ is arguably the best of the breed, featuring a quicker steering rack, stiffened and lowered suspension, a wider track, improved brakes and a stiffer anti-roll bar. The auction car was delivered new in Florida, before arriving in the UK in 2014.

Modern classics on sale at the NEC Classic Motor ShowFerrari Testarossa: £75,000 – £85,000

If the Koenig-enriched Ferrari Testarossa was a little too much for you, this might be more appealing. Judging by the pre-auction estimate, you can save yourself between £20,000 and £30,000 by opting for something a little more stock.

Modern classics on sale at the NEC Classic Motor ShowPorsche 911 Turbo: £60,000 – £70,000

In model years 1991 and 1992, the Porsche 964 Turbo was powered by a turbocharged 3.3-litre engine developing 320hp, which is lower than the 360hp offered by the 3.6-litre engine, introduced in 1993. This 1992 car was supplied new in the Gulf, before arriving in the UK after a stint in Japan.

Modern classics on sale at the NEC Classic Motor ShowFerrari 308 GTSI: £55,000 – £65,000

The Ferrari 308 GTS made its debut at the 1977 Frankfurt Motor Show – two years after the 308 GTB. Bosch fuel injection was added in 1980 – hence the ‘I’ in GTSI – replacing the four double-choke Webers. This right-hand drive example was delivered new to Switzerland and features a classic red over cream combination.

Modern classics on sale at the NEC Classic Motor ShowAudi Cabriolet: £50,000 – £60,000

You’ll have seen this in one of our earlier features: a 1994 Audi Cabriolet, formerly owned by Diana, Princess of Wales. It’s one of a number of cars with royal connections being offered at the Silverstone Auctions sale.

Modern classics on sale at the NEC Classic Motor ShowBristol Brigand: £50,000 – £60,000

This 1987 Bristol Brigand can’t offer a royal connection, but it was owned by Pop Idol winner, Will Young. Nobody is going to pretend owning a Bristol will be a trouble-free experience – you only need to read the auction notes to discover this – but few cars offer such a unique blend of Britishness and exclusivity.

Silverstone classic racers

Jaguar Land Rover is not going to buy Silverstone

Silverstone classic racersJaguar Land Rover (JLR) has announced it has ended negotiations to buy the Silverstone circuit from the British Racing Driver’s Club (BRDC).

The two organisations have been in discussions since spring 2016 about a deal that would see JLR either buy or lease the racetrack, which is home to the British Grand Prix.

But they have now ended, reports Reuters, quoting a spokesperson from Jaguar Land Rover.

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“Jaguar Land Rover has ended discussions with the British Racing Drivers’ Club for the foreseeable future and is not proceeding with any plans to either lease or purchase Silverstone at this time.”

JLR was said to have been planning to develop a heritage centre at Silverstone, to house some of its extensive classic car collection. Dynamic driving events would also have been an option, similar to those run by Porsche at its own Silverstone experience centre.

Insiders previously suggested it was this Porsche facility that was one of the sticking points in agreeing any deal. The German sports car maker’s contract apparently states no other manufacturer could use the circuit for more than 45 days a year.

The collapse in the JLR deal will be a blow for the BRDC. Silverstone is in need of further investment and the track’s losses are believed to be mounting.

Will classic Porsches break records at Silverstone sale?

Will classic Porsches break records at Silverstone sale?

Will classic Porsches break records at Silverstone sale?With Porsches smashing auction records – including a 993 GT2 recently sold for £1.65 million – all eyes are on the forthcoming Silverstone Auctions sale. Taking place at Silverstone circuit on Saturday 15 October, it includes plenty of rare, exotic and expensive Porsches, including the 964 Carrera RS above. Still, let’s forget about prices for now and just admire the cars. Here are our highlights from the Silverstone sale, presented from oldest to newest.

1959 Porsche 356B T5Will classic Porsches break records at Silverstone sale?

This pretty 356B coupe is one of the earliest UK right-hand-drive cars, estimated at £45,000 – £55,000. It has a modest 67,651 miles on the clock, although the seller warns it has ‘sat for a number of years’. As such, ‘some recommissioning work is carried out before you take it for a blast’. We’d love to.

1968 Porsche 911T SWBWill classic Porsches break records at Silverstone sale?

Launched in 1963, the 911 is the car that defines Porsche in the eyes of enthusiasts. The 2.0-litre 911T (Touring) was introduced in 1967, this car being a rare short-wheelbase version. Resprayed from beige to Irish Green (a period Porsche colour), it comes with its original radio, tool kit and maintenance books – plus invoices for a full restoration in 2010. Estimate is £85,000 – £100,000.

1968 Porsche 912Will classic Porsches break records at Silverstone sale?

Another Irish Green Porsche – but looks can be deceiving: this is a 912 rather than a 911. The Cayman of its day, the 912 had a four-cylinder engine and cost around 30% less than its six-cylinder sibling. No surprise, then, that Porsche sold nearly twice as many 912s as 911s in 1966. This 1968 912 had a bare-metal restoration last year and is estimated to sell for £38,000 – £42,000.

1969 Porsche 911 Carrera RS replicaWill classic Porsches break records at Silverstone sale?

More proof that all isn’t as it seems in the world of old Porsches. This 1969 car looks like a 2.7 Carrera RS perhaps the most highly-prized 911 of all. However, it’s a replica, with a highly-modified engine from a 1973 911T and, of course, period graphics and a ducktail spoiler. You’ll pay in excess of half-a-million for a tidy 2.7 RS, which makes the £65,000 – £75,000 estimate for this car very appealing.

1971 Porsche 911SWill classic Porsches break records at Silverstone sale?

Feeling brave? The value of classic Porsches is such that even basket cases like this 1971 911S can be worth £55,000 – £65,000. In truth, the car isn’t quite as far-gone as it looks. Its owner says the engine ‘will turn over’, and the chassis and floors ‘appear solid’. Being a matching-numbers car with a Porsche certificate of authenticity adds value, too – as does a rare 2.2-litre engine.

1973 Porsche 911E TargaWill classic Porsches break records at Silverstone sale?

This mid-range 911E Targa is another Porsche in need of serious work. A left-hand-drive model, it was imported from Florida in 2013, along with a replacement bonnet, doors and front/rear wings. Its 2.4-litre engine comes from a 1973 911T, so obviously isn’t original. However, the car is sold without reserve – potentially making it the cheapest Porsche in the Silverstone sale.

1975 Porsche 911 TargaWill classic Porsches break records at Silverstone sale?

The 911 Targa is firmly back in fashion (helped in no small part by the latest, retro-look 991 Targa), and prices have been rising accordingly. Only six right-hand-drive 911 2.7 Carrera Targas came to the UK, making this a very rare car indeed. We love the trad-Porsche Guards Red paint and Fuchs alloy wheels. Expect it to sell for strong money: the estimate from Silverstone Auctions is £130,000 – £160,000.

1981 Porsche 911 SCWill classic Porsches break records at Silverstone sale?

By comparison, this 1981 911 3.0 SC looks a bargain. Sporting wider ‘Turbo’ bodywork and the iconic whale tail spoiler, it has been owned by the vendor for the past 23 years. The auction estimate is lowly £20,000 – £25,000, partly because the fitment of a new speedo some years ago means the displayed 54,492 miles is unwarranted. Still, if you’re willing to take a punt…

1981 Porsche 924Will classic Porsches break records at Silverstone sale?

Four-cylinder Porsches are back – the latest 718 Boxster and Cayman both use four-pot engines – so perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate the humble 924? This 1981 924 is less humble than most, having covered just 10,220km since it left Stuttgart. A left-hand-drive car originally sold in Italy, it was imported to the UK in 2015. Estimate is £15,000 – £20,000.

1983 Porsche 911 TargaWill classic Porsches break records at Silverstone sale?

Even as winter approaches, there’s something irresistibly appealing about this Summer Yellow Targa. Perhaps it’s the chequered coffee-and-cream Pasha interior? Or maybe the later 234hp 3.2-litre engine? Or simply the fact that it’s covered just 55,000 miles from new? If we had the money, we’d be bidding. Estimate is £37,000 – £43,000.

1985 Porsche 911 RSR ‘evocation’Will classic Porsches break records at Silverstone sale?

This 911 isn’t a replica, but an ‘evocation’. Whatever that means. Either way, it’s a 1985 911 Carrera 3.2 that’s been rebodied to resemble a Carrera RSR – and it looks fantastic. Only 49 genuine RSRs were made, meaning you’ll need a lottery-win to buy one. This car, built by a Porsche engineer using parts from RS-Teknik, is expected to sell for £40,000 – £50,000.

1985 Porsche 928SWill classic Porsches break records at Silverstone sale?

Speak to Porsche specialists and they’ll tell you the 928 is still undervalued. This futuristic, front-engined coupe was originally designed to replace the 911, but many considered it too ‘soft’ for a sports car. However, as a grand tourer, the 928 takes some beating – particularly in 310hp ‘S’ guise seen here. A one-owner car that has spent its life in sunny South Africa, it’s sold with no reserve.

1986 Porsche 930 Turbo FlachbauWill classic Porsches break records at Silverstone sale?

Few things scream ‘1980s’ more loudly than a flatnose Porsche 911 Turbo. Especially in Essex-stiletto white. This is one of only 50 official ‘Flachbau’ Turbos, built in 1986 as part of Porsche’s ‘Sonderwunchprogramm’ (special wishes program). As well as that 935-style front end, it boasts an engine uprated to 330hp and a limited-slip diff. With just 21,000 miles, it has to be only of the finest Flachbaus still in existence. Estimate is £100,000 – £120,000.

1988 Porsche 944 Turbo SWill classic Porsches break records at Silverstone sale?

The fastest 944 was launched in 1988 as a limited-edition, with a spec that emulated the Turbo Cup race cars. Engines were boosted to 250hp, along with larger brakes, optional adjustable Koni dampers and unique alloy wheels. This Turbo S has covered just 47,177 miles and is a Porsche Club GB concours winner. Expect to stump up £35,000 – £40,000 if you’re keen.

1989 Porsche 930 TurboWill classic Porsches break records at Silverstone sale?

The first 930 Turbo appeared in 1975. Fourteen years later, Stuttgart assembled this example – one of the last of the breed. Early Turbos used a four-speed gearbox, but this car has the desirable G50 five-speeder, plus factory-fitted sports seats and a sunroof. With less than 25,000 miles, Silverstone Auctions predicts a hammer-price of £135,000 – £150,000.

1990 Porsche 964 C2 cabrioletWill classic Porsches break records at Silverstone sale?

The venerable 911 entered the modern era with the 964 of 1989. Porsche was keen to promote the new four-wheel-drive Carrera 4, but many enthusiasts prefer the – visually identical – 2WD Carrera 2 seen here. Described as being in ‘stunning condition’, this 964 C2 cabriolet has an electric roof, leather seats and plenty of Porsche service history. Estimate is £34,000 – £38,000.

1991 Porsche 964 Carrera 4Will classic Porsches break records at Silverstone sale?

Regardless of what Porsche purists think, we like the added traction and all-weather ability of a 4WD 911. Finished in the classic combination of Guards Red with black leather, this 964 also sports 17-inch Carrera Cup alloys, air conditioning and a sunroof. At £40,000 – £45,000, it could be a sound investment.

1991 Porsche 964 Carrera RS NGTWill classic Porsches break records at Silverstone sale?

Oh yes – now we’re talking. After driving one for the MR Retro Road Test earlier this year, the 964 Carrera RS definitely has a parking spot in our dream garage. This NGT version is as close as you’ll get to a race car for the road, with a rollcage and Nomex-covered seats. Carpets and soundproofing have been removed, too – all the better to hear that feral 256hp flat-six. Estimate is £135,000 – £155,000.

1991 Porsche 964 TurboWill classic Porsches break records at Silverstone sale?

More powerful than the 964 RS, and (slightly) more civilised, the Turbo blurs the boundary between sports car and supercar. It also looks fabulous in Tahoe Blue: a study in squat, purposeful aggression. This 3.3-litre Turbo has driven 65,510 miles since new and is estimated at £80,000 – £100,000. So… this or a new 991 Carrera S with a few options?

1992 Porsche 964 Carrera RSWill classic Porsches break records at Silverstone sale?

Another 964 RS? Oh, go on then – especially as this one is painted in the RS signature colour of Rubystone Red. Because everyone loves a pink Porsche, right? The car was imported from Japan and is left-hand-drive, with 41,000km on the clock. Silverstone Auctions’ estimate is £140,000 – £160,000. Oh, and did we mention the seats are trimmed in pink, lilac and purple?

1993 Porsche 968 Club SportWill classic Porsches break records at Silverstone sale?

Looking for a hardcore, track-ready Porsche, but don’t have six figures to spend? Consider the 968 Club Sport, a stripped-out version of the 968 with lowered suspension and lightweight Recaro seats. A previous owner has modified this car with KW suspension, a stainless exhaust system, bigger brakes, a limited-slip diff and a 968 Turbo rear spoiler. Showing just shy of 100,000 miles, it’s expected to sell for £25,000 – £30,000.

1993 RUF 964 RCTWill classic Porsches break records at Silverstone sale?

Feeling RUF? You might be after a ride in this modified 964 Turbo, which has been tuned to 385hp (versus 300hp in the standard car). The legendary Porsche tuner has also fitted its own brakes, suspension, exhaust and alloy wheels, along with a host of cosmetic upgrades. RUF apparently produced no more than 100 RCTs, and this is the only one with a wide Turbo body and four-wheel drive. Estimate is £120,000 – £140,000.

1995 Porsche 993 TurboWill classic Porsches break records at Silverstone sale?

We move on to the 993 generation, the last 911 with an air-cooled engine, and judged by many to be the greatest of all. Even today, the 4WD 993 Turbo is staggeringly fast: 62mph arrives in 3.7 seconds and top speed is 180mph. This 1995 car has been imported from Japan and has 77,000 miles on its odometer. Estimate is £90,000 – £110,000.

1996 Porsche 993 Carrera 2Will classic Porsches break records at Silverstone sale?

Much as we love the Turbo, the simpler pleasures of a 285hp Carrera 2 are more our bag. This 1996 993 C2 manual looks just about perfect, with sports suspension, air conditioning and a grey leather interior. It isn’t cheap – estimate is £40,000 – £50,000 – but who’d bet against that value increasing in coming years?

1998 Porsche 996 Carrera 2Will classic Porsches break records at Silverstone sale?

The step-change between 993 and 996 generations of 911 was too much for some Porsche diehards. But look past the water-cooled engine – and the gloopy ‘fried egg’ headlights – and the 996 is still a great sports car. It’s also good value, as the £16,000 – £20,000 estimate for this 1998 C2 proves. Interestingly, this is an ex-Porsche UK press car, so it spent its early life being driven by car journalists. We’re not sure that’s a good thing…

1999 996 GT3 ClubsportWill classic Porsches break records at Silverstone sale?

Proof that the 996 hadn’t lost its edge, the GT3 used a dry-sumped, naturally-aspirated version of the Le Mans-winning GT1 racer’s flat-six, redlined at a heady 8,000rpm. The optional Clubsport pack added a rollcage, hard-shell bucket seats and a single-mass flywheel for sharper throttle response. Only 28 Clubsports came to the UK, and this Guards Red example has covered just 32,287 miles. Estimate is £55,000 – £65,000.

2001 Porsche 996 GT2Will classic Porsches break records at Silverstone sale?

The GT2 is effectively a 911 Turbo with even more power and rear-wheel drive – a potent combination indeed. You want stats? Try 483hp, 0-62mph in 4.0 seconds and 0-100mph in 8.5 seconds. All with no traction control or electronic stability aids. Gulp. Estimate is £100,000 – £120,000.

2002 Porsche 996 Turbo X50Will classic Porsches break records at Silverstone sale?

The 996 Turbo is another car we drove recently for our Retro Road Test. And what a machine! Easy to drive as a supermini, yet quick as a supercar, it’s one of the most underrated 911s ever. This Turbo is our perfect spec, with subtle black paint, a manual gearbox and the optional X50 pack. The latter effectively transforms the car into a Turbo S, increasing power to 450hp. Estimate is £44,000 – £49,000.

2002 Porsche Boxster SWill classic Porsches break records at Silverstone sale?

Surprised to see a first-generation 986 Boxster in a classic Porsche auction? Well, this 2002 Boxster S has covered a mere 9,000 miles and is said to be in ‘immaculate condition’. Silverstone Auctions puts the estimate at £15,000 – £20,000: potentially less than half what you’d pay for a new 718 Boxster S. And this one has six cylinders…

2004 Porsche Carrera GTWill classic Porsches break records at Silverstone sale?

Firmly back in the ‘exotic’ zone, this Carrera GT will almost certainly be the priciest Porsche in the auction. But hey, it’s a limited-run V10 hypercar previously owned by F1 team principal Gerard Lopez, so what do you expect? The 2004 GT has less than 20,000 miles on the clock and comes with a RUF suspension-raising system to clear speed humps. If only we had a spare £440,000 – £460,000.

2008 Porsche 997 GT2Will classic Porsches break records at Silverstone sale?

This GT2 has been converted to RS-look, with a carbonfibre bonnet and side intakes, plus centre-lock RS alloy wheels. Inside, it has the more comfortable interior of a regular GT2 – albeit with a rollcage and harnesses. Better strap yourself in tight: the 523hp missile hits 62mph in 3.6 seconds and keeps going to 210mph… if you can find an Autobahn empty enough. Estimate is £100,000 – £120,000.

2009 Porsche 997 Carrera 4S convertibleWill classic Porsches break records at Silverstone sale?

Not everyone wants neck-snapping pace and compromised comfort, of course. For a gentler route into 911 ownership, this 997 Carrera 4S convertible looks very tempting. It comes with a PDK semi-automatic gearbox for easy urban driving and a lowly 28,856 miles on the clock. When new in 2009, the car cost its original owner £89,700. Pay around estimate of £45,500 – £47,500 and you’re effectively getting it half-price.

2010 Porsche 997 GT3 RSWill classic Porsches break records at Silverstone sale?

We finish with something special. The 997 GT3 is a favourite with Porsche aficionados, as the final GT3 available with a manual gearbox and hydraulic power steering. Only 35 of these 196mph ultimate driving machines came to the UK, and you need to find £135,000 – £155,000 to buy one. Start saving now – and we’ll see you at the Porsche Sale.

Ferrari delivers sunshine and smiles at Silverstone

Ferrari delivers sunshine and smiles at Silverstone

Ferrari delivers sunshine and smiles at SilverstoneIn more ways than one, Silverstone was bathed in sunshine this weekend as the circuit hosted the two day Passione Ferrari event. As well as VIPs, guests and owners taking to the track, Ferrari North Europe hosted the company’s annual Rays of Sunshine and BEN charity event. We have the photos from a sunny weekend in Northamptonshire.

Ferrari does a lot for charityFerrari delivers sunshine and smiles at Silverstone

Rays of Sunshine is a charity that grants wishes to terminally-ill children, while BEN is the automotive industry’s own benevolent fund that helps families in the automotive industry in times of need. In total, 50 children attended the event, each one treated to a passenger ride in a Ferrari California T.

Burning rubberFerrari delivers sunshine and smiles at Silverstone

Needless to say, the passenger rides went down a storm. Well, it’s not everyday you get to burn rubber in a Ferrari on the famous Silverstone Stowe Circuit.

Mollie KingFerrari delivers sunshine and smiles at Silverstone

It wouldn’t be a Ferrari event without a celebrity of some kind, so step forward Mollie King, best known as being one-fifth of The Saturdays. Mollie also happens to be an ambassador for Rays of Sunshine.

Ferrari FXX-KFerrari delivers sunshine and smiles at Silverstone

Unfortunately for the children, they weren’t able to do a hot lap in the incredible Ferrari FXX-K. The limited edition model is based on the Ferrari LaFerrari and was built for track use only.

“Unfettered by homologation requirements and regulations, the FXX-K will never be used in competition and was developed to be completely uncompromising,” says the Ferrari website. In other words, this is the Ferrari LaFerrari at its most raw – the figures are quite astonishing.

The 6,262cc V12 engine has been tweaked to boost the output from 800hp to 860hp, although once combined with the electric motor, this rises to a mammoth 1,050hp. As for the torque: that’s a whopping 664lb ft.

Not only is the FXX-K the first Ferrari to produce in excess of 1,000hp, it also generates 540kg of downforce at 200km/h. Sadly, even at a cost of $2.5 million, they sound out quicker than you could say ‘HY-KERs’.

Ferrari 599XXFerrari delivers sunshine and smiles at Silverstone

A track hero from Ferrari’s past: this is the awesome 599XX. Based on the 599 GTB Fiorano, the 599XX is – in Ferrari’s own words – “an extreme track car”.

Ferrari upped the maximum revs to 9,000rpm, with 720hp and 505lb ft of torque available on tap. The 0-60mph time is polished off in under three seconds, while the top speed is knocking on the door of 200mph.

Extensive wind tunnel testing resulted in 280kg of downforce at 200km/h and 630kg at 300km/h. The front underside of the body is completely faired-in, while the vents that channel hot air from the engine have been moved to the bonnet.

Silverstone could boast not one but two Ferrari 599XX on track. In 2010, the car became the first production-derived sports car to break the seven-minute barrier on the classic Nordschleife circuit. It completed the lap in 6 min 58.16 sec.

Ferrari 312TFerrari delivers sunshine and smiles at Silverstone

Away from the track, Ferrari also displayed a number of historic F1 cars, including a 312T and 312T5.

The 312T was the final 312T to be built and is the car in which Clay Regazzoni won the Italian Grand Prix at Monza in 1975 and the USA Grand Prix at Long Beach in 1976.

Ferrari 312T5Ferrari delivers sunshine and smiles at Silverstone

Meanwhile, the 312T5 was the last Ferrari F1 T car and was driven by Jody Scheckter and Gilles Villeneuve in the 1980 season.

Our Nige’s carFerrari delivers sunshine and smiles at Silverstone

This just happens to be Nigel Mansell’s Ferrari 641/2 from the 1990 F1 season. Mansell raced alongside Alain Prost and finished first in the Portuguese Grand Prix.

Ferrari F12tdfFerrari delivers sunshine and smiles at Silverstone

Bringing us right up to date is this Ferrari F12tdf. Only 799 units will be built and it pushes the boundaries of a street-legal track car. The 6,266cc V12 engine will help propel the F12tdf to 200km/h in just 7.9 seconds.

Apprentice graduation ceremonyFerrari delivers sunshine and smiles at Silverstone

Ferrari North Europe used the event to say ‘you’re hired’ to five new service technicians who graduated after three years of technical training at Ferrari. Rene Arnoux, Marc Gene and F1 correspondent Tom Clarkson were on hand to present the apprentices with their certificates.

Rays of SunshineFerrari delivers sunshine and smiles at Silverstone

But the lasting memory of the event will be the smiles on the faces of the children who were treated to a lap of Silverstone. A picture paints a thousand words.


2016 Silverstone Classic: in pictures

2016 Silverstone Classic: in pictures

2016 Silverstone Classic: in picturesIt’s Silverstone’s second biggest motoring event (after the British Grand Prix): more than 100,000 motorsport fans headed to the Northamptonshire circuit this weekend to see 10,000 classic cars on display and competing on track.

Paddock access2016 Silverstone Classic: in pictures

The best thing about Silverstone Classic is, unlike the Grand Prix, anyone with a ticket can get close to the action. Visitors over the weekend enjoyed full paddock access.

Can-Am2016 Silverstone Classic: in pictures

Every year, Silverstone Classic holds a number of special parades to celebrate significant motoring anniversaries. This year, they included 50 years of Can-Am racing, with a pair of special commemoration races – the culmination of a three-round Can-Am 50 Interserie Challenge.

1966 World Cup2016 Silverstone Classic: in pictures

Other celebrations included a car football match to celebrate the 50th anniversary of England winning the 1966 World Cup. Here’s Damon Hill showing off his dribbling skills.

James Hunt2016 Silverstone Classic: in pictures

More importantly for motorsport fans, it’s 40 years since F1 legend James Hunt overcame all odds to win the 1976 Formula One World Championship.

Freddie and Tom Hunt2016 Silverstone Classic: in pictures

James Hunt died in 1993 at the age of 45, but his sons Freddie and Tom Hunt were at this year’s Silverstone Classic to celebrate the 40th anniversary of his achievement. A number of his road and racing cars were on display at Silverstone, as well as trophies and memorabilia from his title-winning 1976 season.

Lamborghini Miura2016 Silverstone Classic: in pictures

Other celebrations included the 50th anniversary of the Lamborghini Miura… and the 35th anniversary of the Mk2 Vauxhall Cavalier.

Live restoration

eBay Range Rover

In a first for the Silverstone Classic programme, racing driver Fergus Walkinshaw and his team were restoring a Range Rover Classic over the weekend, using parts only bought on eBay.

Mike Brewer2016 Silverstone Classic: in pictures

TV star Mike Brewer was on hand giving restoration hints and tips through his car clinic – looking at a variety of cars, from the freshly-restored Range Rover to a modified E21 BMW 3 Series.

Motor racing2016 Silverstone Classic: in pictures

Of course, the real action happens on the circuit. From historic F1 cars to Le Mans prototypes, there’s an eclectic mix of rare and expensive cars on track.

90s Endurance Legends2016 Silverstone Classic: in pictures

A particular highlight was the 90s Endurance Legends, celebrating racing cars such as the  McLaren F1 GTR long tail and Lister Storm GTM.

Historic Touring Car Challenge2016 Silverstone Classic: in pictures

The Historic Touring Car Challenge catered for a full grid of 58 touring cars raced between 1966 and 1985.

Masters Pre-66 Touring2016 Silverstone Classic: in pictures

The Masters Pre-66 Touring featured touring cars from before 1966, from classic Minis to big-engined yank tanks such as the Ford Falcon.

Stirling Moss Trophy for pre-61 Sports Cars2016 Silverstone Classic: in pictures

Competing for the actual cup Stirling Moss was awarded for winning the 1955 British Grand Prix (his first-ever GP victory), visitors to Silverstone Classic were treated to a grid of purpose-built pre-1961 racing cars.

Legends of Modern Formula One2016 Silverstone Classic: in pictures

Returning to Silverstone Classic for its second year, the high speed demo of modern F1 cars was held every day of the three-day festival. Where else can you get so close to a plethora of modern Grand Prix cars?

Clubs2016 Silverstone Classic: in pictures

More than 100 car clubs attended Silverstone Classic this year. This mouthwatering selection of Porsche 911s was one of our highlights.

Silverstone Auctions2016 Silverstone Classic: in pictures

A big part of the event is the Silverstone Classic auction. Grabbing the headlines this year was a Peugeot 205 GTi, which sold for an incredible £30,938.

Ferrari 512 TR2016 Silverstone Classic: in pictures

Other highlights included a 1994 Ferrari 512 TR which sold for £162,000…

Flatnose Porsche 930 Turbo2016 Silverstone Classic: in pictures

…and a £94,500 ‘flatnose’ Porsche 930 Turbo.

2016 Silverstone Classic2016 Silverstone Classic: in pictures

We’ll leave you with this shot of the Super Touring Cars – one of our favourite race categories at Silverstone Classic. Who could fail to feel nostalgic at the sight of a stickered-up Vauxhall Vectra?

Fast and fabulous: Silverstone Classic Auction preview

Fast and fabulous: Silverstone Classic auction preview

Fast and fabulous: Silverstone Classic Auction previewFrom fabulous Ferraris to fast Fords, there’s something for everyone at the Silverstone Classic Sale 2016. We’ve sifted through the lot list to pick our favourite cars, each one set to go under the hammer at the Silverstone circuit on the 30th and 31st July 2016.

Ford GT: £200,000 – £230,000Fast and fabulous: Silverstone Classic Auction preview

No, not the original Ford GT40 or indeed the all-new Ford GT, but the one that now sits in the middle. This particular Ford GT left the factory in 2005 and has been upgraded to deliver in excess of 600 hp. A snip at just under a quarter of a million pounds.

AC Ace Bristol: £165,000 – £185,000Fast and fabulous: Silverstone Classic Auction preview

Power from a straight-six Bristol engine makes this the most sought-after of all AC Ace models. It’s a 1958 car delivered new to British Columbia Sports Cars in Canada, prior to arriving back in England in 1990.

Ferrari 575M Maranello: £160,000 – £180,000Fast and fabulous: Silverstone Classic Auction preview

The 575M Maranello was the first road-going Ferrari V12 to feature an F1-style gearbox, while the 575 signified its 5,750cc displacement. With a top speed in excess of 200mph and a 0-62 time of 4.2 seconds, this was like an F1 car for the road. The mere fact that this example has covered just 3,300km contributes to the pre-auction estimate.

Ferrari 512 TR: £155,000 – £175,000Fast and fabulous: Silverstone Classic Auction preview

The Ferrari 512 TR was the evolution of the iconic Testarossa, with production starting in 1991 – TR is an abbreviation of Testa Rossa. The 512 TR has a top speed of 195mph and will sprint to 62mph in 4.8 seconds. A total of 2,261 units were produced.

Jaguar E-Type S1 Roadster: £140,000 – £170,000Fast and fabulous: Silverstone Classic Auction preview

It wouldn’t be a classic auction without an E-Type, and the Silverstone sale has its fair share of Jaguar’s finest. This is arguably the pick of the crop – a 1961 Series 1 Roadster, described by the auctioneers as “the definitive Jaguar connoisseur’s dream”. It’s chassis number 62, making it one of the earliest and therefore most desirable of the breed.

Ferrari 550 Maranello: £120,000 – £150,000Fast and fabulous: Silverstone Classic Auction preview

The 550 Maranello was launched at the Nurburgring in 1996 and was, or so Ferrari claimed, “the answer to those who believed the performance of a front-engined V12 car could not beat that of a mid-engined sports car”. What makes this car particularly special is the fact that it was owned by Sir Geoff ‘they think it’s all over’ Hurst. But it’s not now…

Ferrari 430 Scuderia: £120,000 – £150,000Fast and fabulous: Silverstone Classic Auction preview

When Michael Schumacher is involved in the development of a car, you know it stands a good chance of being rather good. And in the case of the 4.3-litre V8 Ferrari 430 Scuderia, it most certainly is rather good. Not to be confused with the Fiat Seicento Michael Schumacher edition, obviously.

Ferrari 308 GTB: £110,000 – £130,000Fast and fabulous: Silverstone Classic Auction preview

The 308 GTB arrived in 1975 and added dry sump lubrication to the 308 GT4’s V8 engine. This particular example was built in 1978 and is one of the earliest steel-bodied cars – the first cars off the production line being fibreglass.

Ferrari 348 TB: £105,000 – £125,000Fast and fabulous: Silverstone Classic Auction preview

The 348 TB arrived in 1989 and was the first Ferrari to be launched following the death of Enzo Ferrari. The name was derived from its 3.4-litre engine, transverse gearbox and berlinetta body. This is one of 60 pre-production cars released to Ferrari dealers.

Porsche 964 RS Clubsport: £100,000 – £125,000Fast and fabulous: Silverstone Classic Auction preview

We take a break from Ferrari to bring you this rather special Porsche. It’s a 964 RS Clubsport, finished in ultra-desirable Guards Red and fitted with a Clubsport interior. The pre-auction estimate tells you all you need to know about demand for the iconic 911s.

Aston Martin V8: £95,000 – £110,000Fast and fabulous: Silverstone Classic Auction preview

One of our favourite lots is this 1980 Aston Martin V8. It actually left the factory in Storm Red, but was repainted in Cumberland Grey at a cost of £8,000. Features include air conditioning, electric mirrors and cruise control.

Porsche 930 Turbo SE Flatnose: £90,000 – £110,000Fast and fabulous: Silverstone Classic Auction preview

You know what we were saying about iconic and desirable 911s? This Porsche 930 Turbo SE ‘Flatnose’ ticks all the boxes – a 1986 car built under the ‘Sonderwunsch’ (Special Wishes) programme. Only 49 right-hand drive examples were ever built.

Porsche 996 GT2: £90,000 – £100,000Fast and fabulous: Silverstone Classic Auction preview

Talking of low production runs – this 2002 Porsche 996 GT2 is one of 129 ever sold in the UK. It’s finished in Polar Silver Metallic with a black leather interior. It could well top £100,000 at auction.

Ferrari Testarossa: £85,000 – £105,000Fast and fabulous: Silverstone Classic Auction preview

Given the values of some 80s classics, this Ferrari Testarossa looks like terrific value for money. It’s a left-hand-drive example finished in Rosso Corsa with a Nero interior. Comes complete with ‘D12 FER’ private plate.

Porsche 964 Turbo: £85,000 – £100,000Fast and fabulous: Silverstone Classic Auction preview

This 1991 Porsche 964 Turbo is powered by a 3.3-litre turbocharged engine and was delivered new at a cost of £75,000. Over 65,000 miles and 15 years later, it has gained at least £15,000 in value.

Ferrari 599 GTB: £85,000 – £95,000Fast and fabulous: Silverstone Classic Auction preview

Alternatively, for a similar pre-auction estimate, you could own this 2009 Ferrari 599 GTB. It was delivered new to a customer in Dubai and features the likes of a carbon dashboard, F1 paddle shifters, uprated Bose sound system and Daytona seats.

Porsche 911 2.4 T Coupe: £85,000 – £95,00018_Silverstone_Auctions

Somebody pass us a wet towel, because this looks absolutely stunning. It’s a 1972 Porsche 911 2.4 T finished in an oh-so-1970s shade of Royal Purple. If it was any more 70s it would be donning a pair of flares and dancing to Showaddywaddy.

Alfa Romeo 1900 Speciale: £80,000 – £90,00019_Silverstone_Auctions

Arguably the most elegant car to go under the hammer at the Silverstone Auctions Classic Sale, it is believed this Alfa Romeo 1900 Speciale was built by Autotecnica del Lario in the Italian city of Lecco. A 1950s coachbuilt Alfa: oh to have a spare £90,000 to spend at auction.

Lotus Elite S1: £75,000 – £100,00020_Silverstone_Auctions

This 1958 Lotus Elite Series 1 will be familiar to many people, having been the subject of a restoration as a historic racing car for The Love of Cars television programme. The original 1958 Earls Court Motor Show display car was bought new by jazz legend Chris Barber.

Porsche 550A Spyder Evocation: £70,000 – £80,00021_Silverstone_Auctions

This is a recreation of a 1958 Porsche 550A Spyder, built by race car constructor Lewis Barrow. The 2.4-litre car weighs a mere 570kg, so it’s fair to say the performance will be rather brisk. You’ll also look a million dollars.

Ford Sierra RS500: £60,000 – £70,00022_Silverstone_Auctions

Fast Fords of the 80s and 90s are hot property, especially those wearing the iconic RS badge. So while a Ford Sierra with a £70,000 pre-auction estimate might raise a few eyebrows, few people will be surprised. Ford turned to Tickford to create 500 of these 150mph RS500 Cosworths – a Sierra with genuine race pedigree.

Ferrari 456 GTA: £60,000 – £65,00023_Silverstone_Auctions

Yep, we live in a time when a Ford Sierra can command the same pre-auction estimate as a Ferrari. The 456 GTA was introduced in 1996 and was essentially an automatic version of the 456 GT, favoured by North American customers. Amazingly, despite being two decades old, this useable ‘Grand Tourer’ has covered 6,686 miles.

Mercedes-Benz 190 SL: £60,000 – £70,000Fast and fabulous: Silverstone Classic Auction preview

The 190 SL, launched in 1955, was the more affordable version of the iconic Mercedes-Benz 300 SL. The majority of cars were sold in North America, from where this car was imported in 1997. This 1957 SL is so of its time, right down to the whitewall tyres and ‘Bakelite’ steering wheel.

Ford Escort RS1600: £45,000 – £55,000Fast and fabulous: Silverstone Classic Auction preview

The auctioneers claim there are fewer than 50 Ford Escort RS1600s registered in the UK, which makes this 3,490-mile example a real find. Looking resplendent in Le Mans Green paintwork, the Escort has been stored in a dehumidified garage. It almost seems a shame to use it. Almost.

Ford Lotus Cortina: £45,000 – £55,000Fast and fabulous: Silverstone Classic Auction preview

One of the original performance saloons and earliest Q-cars, the Ford Lotus Cortina has been in demand for many years. Combining a lightweight bodyshell with a 1600cc twin-cam engine from the Elan and Europa, the Lotus Cortina was an instant hit. In May 2012, this example was restored to a very high standard, including three coats of primer and three coats of Ford Ermine White.

Citroen SM: £40,000 – £50,000Fast and fabulous: Silverstone Classic Auction preview

Cruelly overshadowed by the Citroen DS, the SM is one of the most interesting and exotic cars of the 1970s. It offered Citroen styling, eccentricity and technology, along with a creamy Maserati V6, to create a match made in heaven.

Ford Escort Cosworth Lux: £40,000 – £45,000Fast and fabulous: Silverstone Classic Auction preview

The successor to the Ford Sierra RS Cosworth was actually based on a shortened version of the Sierra’s platform and powered by the same 2.0-litre turbocharged Cosworth engine. Two specs were available: standard ‘Club-spec’ and the ‘optioned-up’ Lux spec, as seen here. With a mere 34,700 miles on the clock and near-original specification, this one will appeal to the purists.

Ford Capri RS3100: £38,000 – £42,000Fast and fabulous: Silverstone Classic Auction preview

With Mk3 Ford Capris going for silly money, we think the pre-auction estimate for this RS3100 seems rather reasonable. It’s all relative, of course, but let’s remember this is a homologation special, built to allow Ford to race in the European Touring Car Championship. The ultimate version of ‘the car you always promised yourself?’

Ford Sierra RS Cosworth: £37,500 – £42,500Fast and fabulous: Silverstone Classic Auction preview

If you can’t quite stretch to the RS500 we featured earlier, this could be the answer. The Sierra RS Cosworth was as lairy as its ‘whale tail’ spoiler suggested. With in excess of 200 hp on tap and wild rear-wheel drive handling, the ‘Cossie’ was a brute of a machine.

Alfa Romeo 4C: £37,000 – £42,000Fast and fabulous: Silverstone Classic Auction preview

Wait, what’s this – a two-year-old car in the Silverstone Classic Sale? Let’s face it, the Alfa Romeo 4C is destined for classic status and this auction car presents a significant saving on the £52,505 price you’ll pay new. The ex-dealer principal car has covered just 2,200 miles.

Jensen Interceptor: £35,000 – £40,000Fast and fabulous: Silverstone Classic Auction preview

Don’t let the Belgian number plates fool you, because this is a right-hand drive Jensen Interceptor, supplied new in the UK back in 1968. At some point in its life the Interceptor was sprayed red, but somebody had the good sense to return it to its original Crystal Blue paintwork.

Lancia Delta HF Integrale Evo II: £33,000 – £38,000Fast and fabulous: Silverstone Classic Auction preview

Famous for dominating the World Rally Championship in the late 80s and early 90s, the Lancia Delta Integrale is also one of the best hot hatches of the era. This super-desirable Evo II is finished in Metallic Cherry Red and is described by the auctioneers as a “Little Red Rocket”.

Lotus Esprit JPS: £30,000 – £40,000Fast and fabulous: Silverstone Classic Auction preview

One of Giorgetto Giugiaro’s finest creations, the Lotus Esprit arrived in 1975. This is one of two show cars used by Lotus at the 1978 London Motor Show, finished in the distinctive black and gold of John Player Special. Smoking might be bad for your health, but it has given us some of the most iconic liveries of all-time.

Ford Escort RS2000: £28,000 – £32,000Fast and fabulous: Silverstone Classic Auction preview

Of all the hot Mk1 Escorts, the RS2000 is one of the most usable and pleasing to drive. This 1974 car was restored by Tickover of Kent and looks resplendent in its Banana Yellow paintwork. It just needs a pair of Cibies to complete the look. Fortunately, we understand these are included in the sale.

Porsche 968 Club Sport CS: £28,000 – £32,000Fast and fabulous: Silverstone Classic Auction preview

A car to be filed under: one of the best Porsche cars that isn’t a 911. The 968 Club Sport was a stripped-back, track-focused coupe that was both lighter and sharper than the standard 968. Unlike many auction cars, this one has been well used, with 145,000 miles on the clock. How refreshing.

Audi Quattro: £25,000 – £30,000Fast and fabulous: Silverstone Classic Auction preview

A red Audi Quattro would be desirable enough, but the fact that this was owned by ‘our Nige’ simply propels it to a different league. The 1984 car was registered to Nigel Mansell while he was driving for Team Lotus, but later sold the car when he moved to Williams. A bona fide legend that would look great on your driveway. That’s the Audi, rather than Nigel.


Honda NSX: £25,000 – £30,000Fast and fabulous: Silverstone Classic Auction preview

Interest in the all-new Honda NSX is sure to have a knock-effect on the original model and we can’t help but think the pre-auction estimate for this 1993 car is a tad pessimistic. A fresh import from Japan, the silver NSX has covered 79,000km and rides on its original five-spoke alloy wheels.

BMW M3 CS: £24,000 – £28,000Fast and fabulous: Silverstone Classic Auction preview

One of only 275 genuine UK, right-hand drive models, this BMW M3 CS has covered just 21,000 miles. Throw into the mix a list of desirable factory options and you have to ask the question: a barely used E46 M3 or a new BMW M2? We’re tempted to go old-school and pocket the change.

Peugeot 205 1.9 GTI: £18,000 – £22,000Fast and fabulous: Silverstone Classic Auction preview

Is circa £20,000 a lot of cash for a Peugeot 205 GTI? Almost certainly, but once you’ve taken the time to scan the photographs and discover more about its history, you’ll start to appreciate why it stands every chance of blitzing its pre-auction estimate. Just 7,986 miles on the clock and one owner from new. Wow.

If you fancy bidding on this or any of the other cars going under the hammer at the Silverstone Classic Sale, the auction takes place on 30/31 July 2016.

Aston Martin Britcar 2015

Aston Martin wins Britcar 24 Hours at Silverstone

Aston Martin Britcar 2015The Beechdean Aston Martin Vantage GT4 won the Britcar Dunlop 24 Hour race at Silverstone this weekend after completing 529 laps of the British Grand Prix circuit.

Further success for Aston Martin saw a total of three Vantage GT4s finish in the top 5; the Speedworks Motorsport entry finished fourth and the works #36 car come home fifth.

The latter factory entry was actually driven by Aston Martin’s CEO Dr. Andy Palmer and chief creative officer Marek Reichman, paired with racer Alice Powell and motoring journalist Andrew Frankel.

Dr. Palmer said: “It was a fabulous weekend. My main aim was to understand how a race team works as it’s so intrinsic to our brand. It was of unbelievable proportions with every season imaginable.”

The factory car was a genuine factory entry too, engineered by workers from the Aston Martin Special Projects division that normally works on cars such as the Vantage GT12 and Vulcan.

David King, director of Special Projects commented: “This is a remarkable achievement for the team that specialises not in racing but in designing and building Aston Martin road and track cars.

“They brought with them years of experience in producing world-class sportscars and leave with invaluable data and knowledge for future development.”

Powell added: “The car’s been absolutely outstanding and with three Astons in the top five, it doesn’t get much better. The guys have done an outstanding job and for the level of experience they have, they’ve done brilliantly.”

The team will be out again in less than a month, too: the next big race for Aston Martin is the Nurburgring 24 Hours, on 16-17 May.