2000 Ford Mon­deo V6

NZ Performance Car - - Historic Touring Cars Spotlights -

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.

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