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Silverstone Classic - Touring Car revival

After F1, Touring cars are probably the most popular motorsport going, particularly in the UK.  Close action and a crash or two, all fought out with family saloons that you can also own and drive on the road. The heyday of the British Touring Car Championship was in the 1990's with thousands turning up to watch events and millions watching on TV. Ten years on, the 'SuperTouring' era no longer exists about but the cars are still about along with devoted historic racers to race them.


A new feature of this years Silverstone Classic was the SuperTouring revival, to be run in memory of David Leslie, the extremely popular former BTCC driver who was tragically killed in a plane crash last year. Unfortunately due to low grid numbers the organisers opened up the entry to allow 80's and even 70's cars into compete which allowed for the rare sight of a BMW CSL 'Batmobile' battling with a Ford Mondeo... So letís have a look at 30 years of BTCC history on-track together



001 - A 1980's BTCC and global touring car icon, the Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworth, there were two Sierras racing at the weekend, but only in the midfield, showing that the later cars were faster despite having less power.



002 - in the pits, looking down. Like the Group C, historic racing events allow you to get much closer to the cars than contemporary racing.



003 - The Tyre-Line BMW E36 was one of the last cars driven (in Britcar) by David Leslie.



004 - More BMW's, notice the Escort Mk1 in the background, a constant feature of 1970's touring car racing.



005 - Although it never raced in the BTCC, the face-lifted second generation Nissan Primera took part in the revival. It was originally built as a 'what if' car for the 2000 season, but Nissan withdrew after winning the championship in 1999.





006 - Matt Nealsí old Rimstock/100+ Primera. This car is famous for the 1st ever overall win by a privateer entry in the modern era of the BTCC at Donington Park in 1999. In the late 1990's the privateer entries were always at the back or at best in the middle of the grid until this car changed that





007 - Back to the 80's and the E30 M3 was the Sierras main rival,despite competing in the lower classes it could still win championships overall due to the class structures in use at the time







008 - It could be a scene from the late 1990's but it's actually 2009








009 - A tight battle at the front, with another car driven by David Leslie in 3rd, the Honda Accord, but notice the 70's and 80's cars not far behind...







010 - The menacing BMW 3.0 CSL, better known as the Batmobile.







011 - In the late 60's and early 70's touring car racing was not all about saloon cars, as you could enter with American Muscle cars such as this Camaro







012 - 80's Vauxhall Cavalier, leads 90's Vectra, overtaking 1970's Cologne Capri, the three decades difference took some getting used to







013 - Gosser Beer Batmobile, a classic car and livery combination







014 - What could have been seen in the 2000 BTCC season, but mass works team withdrawals made the 2000 season dull compared to the previous 20 years






016 - frantic midfield battling, they might be all privately owned cars, but the owners and drivers and not afraid to swap paint








017 - and occasionally overstep the mark too








018 - only the 1990's Accord in the background ruins the 1970's scene








019 - N/A flames, rare but not impossible to see







020 - A South African Perana Capri, fitted with the Ford Windsor V8. Homologation rules required a certain number of road cars to be made to allow the racing versions to be allowed race so in South Africa you could buy a V8 Capri from the showroom






021 - David Leslieís 1999 Primera, he finished runner up in the 99 championship, behind Laurent Aiello






022 - The 80's harrass the 90's, although the Mondeo is from the 2000 season so maybe its the 80's attacking the 00's??








023 - Back in the pits, will they return in 2010?





I hope so and will a few more cars too hopefully........I will there to report.

Ed Fahey, August 2009

Links

http://www.silverstoneclassic.com

http://www.touringcarregister.com

http://www.respectance.com/lesliedavid/

sportscarpros Father Ed


A sideways view from Ed Fahey