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
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
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
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
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