It was fabulous to hear that the 2017 Silverstone Classic was adopting the 60th Anniversary of the Fiat 500 as a headline feature. It was even better that we were invited to take our cars to the Media Preview Day at Silverstone on 23rd March.
I duly applied and was accepted and then realised that as we had to be in the International Paddock at The Wing Building soon after 8am, it required a morning call of an ungodly hour for my good lady. There was however a small bonus, it was a revelation to her to find out that there were in fact, two 6 o’clocks in each day!
We duly set off at the crack of sparrows and as my better half doesn’t tend to achieve the power of speech for an hour or so after such an early rise, her navigation instructions were limited to one grunt for right turn, two for left.
Nevertheless, we seamlessly rendezvoused with Chairman Rod, First Lady Sally and First Lieutenant Zoe in a small selection of the Scanes’ ever expanding fleet.
We made it to the display area in the International Paddock on time and over the next half an hour a colour-coded collection of 12 immaculate 500’s assembled, coming from far and wide. Race tracks generally, and Silverstone in particular, can be the coldest places on earth when the wind blows and the old wartime airfield lived up to its reputation with sunny but Arctic conditions throughout the day necessitating frequent visits to the media centre to defrost.
There was, as you would expect, a selection of automotive exotica on display but, as ever, it was our group of cars that attracted the most attention whether it was from the multitude of professional photographers, marshalls, or celebrities (only some of which were recognisable) – everyone seemed to gravitate in our direction and want a photo.
The Press Conference itself was full of razzamatazz trumpeting the event and highlighting our anniversary amongst others. A very acceptable lunch followed as compensation for our being there (as long as you didn’t mind sitting amongst the journos and photographers with all their expensive equipment).
Next up was what we had all been waiting for – the Track Photography Session dedicated to photographing the car clubs being celebrated this year going around the famous track. We started our engines as instructed and proceeded through the garages into the famous pit lane. The sight of a dozen 500’s lined up in this iconic setting was irresistible to the bevy of high-viz clad professional photographers who swarmed around one side of us. On the other side, the drivers who’d been driving exhibition laps came out of their pits to admire the convoy and to talk to some of us.
Soon the Camera Car arrived – in this case a BMW X5 with the tailgate flung open and a photographer hanging out the back. We set off in formation around the famous tarmac with the photographer waving frantically for us to get closer to the Camera Car. Regrettably, nobody seemed to have briefed the driver who didn’t drop below 50mph all the way round creating quite a challenge for us to keep up!
Our brief moment of glory over, we returned to the pits for goodbyes until the next time and the journey home.
If you have been to the Silverstone Classic before, you will know how much fun it is. If you haven’t, then do give it a try if you can and join the Club stand for Friday 28th – Sunday 30th July. It is one of the best classic events on the International calendar and a very appropriate way for our big anniversary to be celebrated.