Born two days after the Second World War ended Silman was keen on racing as a youngster and was an early recruit of the new March Engineering team in 1970. He was soon running the March factory cars in Formula 3 before moving up to look after the works Formula 2 operation. This led to his recruitment at the end of 1978 as team manager of Ted Toleman's ambitious Formula 2 operation. Toleman ran Ralts in its first year and there was considerable success with Brian Henton finishing second in the European F2 Championship and Rad Dougall finishing fifth. For the 1980 season Toleman decided to build his own chassis and hired Rory Byrne to design them. With drivers Henton and Derek Warwick, the Toleman TG280 dominated with the drivers finishing 1-2 in the series. It was then decided that the team would graduate into Formula 1 in 1981. The initial efforts were rather disappointing but by 1983 Toleman had become a frontrunning team with driver Derek Warwick.