Fire up your engines: Pistons and Props is coming

From racing cars to aerobatics, it's the big event that no petrol head or vintage fan can afford to miss. Time to get in gear for this year's Footman James Sywell Classic Pistons and Props

Monday, 18th September 2017, 4:22 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th September 2017, 11:47 am
Awards in store for those who come in vintage attire to Pistons and Props

HE is one of the greatest motorsport drivers ever, a Brazilian legend whose name spawned countless jokey references to fast driving and whose eye-wateringly fast car was said to have been fitted with “the atom bomb” of all engines.

Emerson Fittapaldi has gone down in history and his legendary 1994 Penske PC23 car, with distinctive red and white livery and roaring engine, paved the way for the next generation of super speed hi-tech racing cars.

A dramatic combination of grace and power, more than 20 years since the PC23 powered across the Indy 500 circuit, the racing ace’s car has been lovingly restored and will now become one of the highlights at a weekend devoted to fast cars, aerial tricks and the thrill of speed.

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With aerial displays from the Yakovlevs and The Blades

Fittapaldi’s spectacular car is among a prized selection of fast and vintage vehicles, classic and modern motorbikes, and a packed programme of entertainment for everyone whether they are ‘petrol head’ or not. All of which promises to keep crowds entertained at this year’s Footman James Sywell Classic Pistons and Props weekend.

Running at Sywell Aerodrome, Northamptonshire, across the weekend of Saturday 23 - Sunday 24 September, the event is two days of fast track entertainment on the ground as well as up in the air, where stunning air displays include high-speed, high-precision aerobatics.

For fans of motorsport, the event is a unique chance to get up close to vehicles which have gone down in sporting history as classics of their era – such as the Penske PC23, fitted with the Ilmor 4 cam engine that dominated the season

Now restored by Dawn Treader Performance, it was one of Fittipaldi's two cars used during the latter half of the 1994, and epitomised the Indycar of the era. It will take pride of place at the event alongside Ivan Capelli’s Leyton House CG901, which he drove with Mauricio Gugelmin during the 1990 F1 season.

With aerial displays from the Yakovlevs and The Blades

For motorcycle racing enthusiasts there’s Kevin Schwantz’s Suzuki RGV500, Troy Bayliss’ Ducati GP3, and subject to the completion of its restoration, Casey Stoner’s Ducati GP8.

Air displays will be performed by the Yakovlevs and The Blades, both world leaders in aerial acrobatics. Plus, the Breitling Wingwalkers, the world’s only formation wing-walking team, will be taking to the skies.

But the event is about more than fast vehicles, thrills and speed.

With a vintage fun fair and vintage craft fair, there’s plenty for everyone. There are even awards for those who come dressed up in period outfits to reflect the occasion.

Bring your dancing shoes for the live music, with appearances from Dusty Springfield tribute Dusty and Friends, vintage singer Jayne Darling, and rockabilly group the Rock-ola Rockets.

Back outside, tearing up the tarmac of the Racing Runway will be Formula 1, Formula 2, and Motorcycles, while the Sprint Strip is the scene for the popular Street Car Shootout, where the amount of smoke and squealing tyres is just as important as who can make it down the strip fastest.

Meanwhile, the show field will be adorned with displays by the UK’s best classic motoring clubs and parking for classic cars.

The weekend event is increasingly popular – and it pays to save money and grab your tickets in advance. Advance tickets cost £18 for adults, and £7 for children aged 5-15, with free entry for under-fives. Tickets are available on the day at the gate, at £22 for adults and £10 for children. Weekend tickets and family tickets are also available in advance and on the day.

Car parking is free, and there are camping facilities for those who want to make a weekend of it. Check for details before you go, as pitches cannot be bought on the day.

The show is open from 10am until 5.30pm on Saturday, 10am until 5pm on Sunday. For more information about Sywell Classic Pistons and Props, please visit