2020 AUTUMN CLASSIC GROWS TO TWO-DAY EVENT FOR CASTLE COMBE’S 70TH ANNIVERSARY

The 2020 date and artwork were unveiled at the recent Autosport International event by artists Brian James

To mark the 70th anniversary year of Castle Combe Circuit, the 2020 Autumn Classic historic race meeting will grow to be a two-day event over the weekend of 3-4 October.

To celebrate this landmark year in the remarkable history of the Wiltshire track, the ninth edition of the Autumn Classic will feature a specially extended racing programme with a full day of qualifying and racing on each day. The Autumn Classic will be the culmination of a year of celebrations to mark 70 years of racing at Castle Combe.

In addition to up to 20 races across two days, the weekend will build on the outstanding success of the 2019 event and will feature demonstrations of significant racing from the circuit history and hundreds of classic cars displayed by car clubs. The 2018 edition was selected as one of the best three competitive events in historic motor sport during the recent Royal Automobile Club Historic Motor Sport Awards.

First run in 2012, the Autumn Classic is now firmly established as a must-do date on the classic racing calendar and consistently delivers glorious racing from grids full of cars of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

The move to a two-day format for 2020 will allow an even greater range of racing categories to be part of the event and a return of the 500cc Formula 3 cars is planned. These diminutive single-seaters were among the first to be built for racing in the late 1940s after the Second World War and much of the impetus for the class came from the Bristol region. The cars raced in most of the early meetings at Castle Combe and it is fitting that these wonderful racing cars will be part of the 2020 Autumn Classic.

The three overflowing grids from the Historic Racing Drivers’ Club were a very popular feature of the 2019 Autumn Classic and will be back next year along with a new Autumn Classic race for the HSCC 1-litre Historic Formula 3 Championship. These are the cars that set drivers like Jackie Stewart and Emerson Fittipaldi on the road to Grand Prix stardom and the spectacle of the 1-litre ‘screamers’ as they were known will be another highlight of the weekend. Other races will be announced in due course.

Back in 1940, part of the Castle Combe Estate was requisitioned for the construction of RAF Castle Combe. After the War, the potential for creating a race track from the perimeter road was clear and the first race meeting was held on 8 July 1950. That trial event was not open to the public, unlike the first major event on 7 October when an estimated 12,000 spectators watched a young Stirling Moss win the opening race in his 500cc Formula 3 Cooper.

Fittingly, part of the celebrations at the 2020 Autumn Classic will honour Sir Stirling Moss, who remains one of Britain’s best-known racing drivers, and his rise through 500cc Formula 3 racing.

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- For more details about the Castle Combe Autumn Classic, please head over to www.autumnclassic.co.uk