2000 Ford Mondeo V6
Towards the tail end of the 1990s, it was becoming evident that the Super Touring formula was nearing the end of its tenure. Factors that had killed off the Group A period were rearing their head in a similar fashion — namely, soaring development and running costs all racked up in the quest to seize the BTCC crown, killing off all but the dedicated teams.
The Mondeo had contested the BTCC since part way through the 1993 season, with Kiwi Paul Radisich making an immediate impact on the championship. Distinctive due to the ear-piercing scream emitted by its Mazda-derived 2.0-litre Cosworth V6, Radisich took the Mondeo to third-place finishes in both ’93 and ’94, which, until the 2000, remained the best results for Ford’s BTCC efforts.
Prodrive took the reins of Ford’s campaign for outright victory in 1999, and set about a radical reimagining of the Mondeo platform, a process that even today leaves Super Touring geeks discussing the sheer expense involved in creating the most technically advanced Super Touring car of the era. A reputed £12M was spent on the overall campaign for the 2000 championship, with each of the three factory Mondeos costing £1M apiece.
Gazing over the form of Scott O’Donnell’s ex– Rickard Rydell, Prodrive-built Mondeo V6 after checking out some of the earlier cars, it’s evident where the money has gone. Peering inside the Mondeo, you’ll see it boasts an elaborate roll cage that ties into the rear suspension–mount points, but it’s the dash and driving position that stand out. The dash, while loosely resembling that of a production car, is awash with carbon fibre, with carbon also employed in the construction of the switch/ fuse box mounted centrally and, interestingly, the floor-mount pedal box. The driver’s seat is shifted towards the centre line of the vehicle, with the seat back located aft of the B-pillar.
Under the bonnet, Prodrive re-engineered the 224-pluskilowatt V6 to the point that it no longer resembles a production engine — not that it’s visible at a glance beneath the huge carbon-fibre intake duct. A carbon-Kevlar cam covers the V6, barely discernible as it sits so low and far back that the driveshafts from the Xtrac 306 sequential gearbox actually run through the centre of the ‘V’.
Macpherson struts with shocks by Koni handle all four corners, tied to the chassis by bespoke suspension arms kitted with F1-spec spherical bearings. Peeking under the car (difficult because it’s so low) reveals a flat floor. The sheet metal is all steel, as per the regulations, with the front guards enlarged and rolled to accommodate the massive OZ wheels and slicks.
It’d be easy to continue — the detail of the Mondeo is such that it could fill an entire story. Running it is equally detailed — the car’s complex start-up procedure requires the preheating of fluids prior to running, but, nonetheless, Scott and his lads are dedicated to letting us see it run on Kiwi circuits among the Historic grids.