Historic Race Car Test Day,

Silverstone, March 2001.


An invitation to attend a test day at Silverstone was not to be missed. As I happened not to be working that day, then there was no choice! We arrived and parked in the paddock at about 9.15am, closely follwed by a Cooper T53 on a trailer. Where else could you turn up on a cold, wet thursday morning and see this sort of thing? Only in England.........

The cars were allowed out on the track from 10 o'clock. The track was still wet from the previous days' rain, there was even some snow still left over from the previous week.

This test day was a trifle unusual as there cars from just every era you could think of, which made a pleasant change!

I was most taken with the 1971 BRM P160, looking fantastic in Yardley colours.
And I simply lost count of the number of Maserati 250Fs present, at least three.

Most cars were being a run to shake away the cobwebs after their winter re-builds.

I saw Willie Green take out the Alfetta a few times, he certainly seemed to be having fun. The Project 212 Aston Martin was there along with the front engined DBR4 F1 car. One car I hadn't seen in the flesh before was the Alta T33 sports car. A fantstic looking thing, in all the correct period livery too. I'm sure this car will be out at the Brooks-Bonham Historic Meeting later in the year.

I spotted at least three F5000 cars, which included a Lotus 70, a Lola T300 and a McLaren M10B; the ex-Peter Gethin Sid Taylor Racing car.
Pre-war machinery was here too, Bugatti and this ERA among them.
But it wasn't all about single seaters. GTs and sportscars were there too. Ferrari 250 GTOs, an early McLaren M1 and this Costin Jagaur made up the numbers.
But, being a self-confessed Lotus fan (we'll talk about the Lotus 72 later on...) the surprise of the day was the Gold Leaf Team Lotus 58 F2 car sitting quietly in the garage when we arrived. This was the only chassis ever built by Lotus, it was the car that Jim Clark was to test at Hockenheim on the monday after his formula two race there in 1968. Unfortunately, he had his accident and died before he could get his hands on it. Subsequently it was tested just the once by Graham Hill at Lotus' test track at Hethel and then it was put into storage and never raced. Saved by Team Lotus Chief Mechanic Bob Dance at some point during the late 70's, the chassis has been re-built by Classic Team Lotus under Clive Chapman, the car was given its' race debut last year at Brand's Hatch. Here are some pictures.
I'm sorry, I just had to get my picture taken with it!

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