Sil­ver­stone Clas­sic

Group A tour­ing cars – in­clud­ing the Spa 24 Hours-win­ning Sierra Cos­worth and the only 4wd Nis­san Primera – re­turn to a sto­ried bat­tle ground

Classic Cars (UK) - - Contents -

Group A tour­ing cars dom­i­nated the pad­dock and tar­mac at the Sil­ver­stone Clas­sic, with iconic fig­ures ar­riv­ing from all over the world.

Ford Sierra RS500 Cos­worth

The 1989 Spa 24 Hours-win­ning Ford Sierra RS500 was re­united with driver Gian­franco Bran­catelli and race team boss Rüdi Eggen­berger on its first race in Europe for 28 years. Owner Peter Stur­geon brought the Bas­tos-liv­er­ied RS from Christchurch, New Zealand, while Eggen­berger drove from Switzer­land in his mo­torhome.

Said Eggen­berger, ‘Af­ter Spa the brake discs, bear­ings, en­gine, and pis­tons were like new. It could have done the 24 Hours again. Af­ter I sold it in 2005 it maybe did a hill­climb, but it’s still ex­actly as raced at Spa. The only prob­lem now is find­ing the right ca­ble to con­nect the com­puter to the en­gine man­age­ment sys­tem.’

His big­gest prob­lem in the Eight­ies was the limited scope for mod­i­fi­ca­tion, ‘The reg­u­la­tions is the Bi­ble, but we could only make small changes – mov­ing the sus­pen­sion pickup points 20mm, for ex­am­ple.’

Nis­san Primera PX4

This unique four-wheel drive ver­sion of the Nis­san Primera tour­ing car is back in ac­tion af­ter decades be­ing used as a track­side or­na­ment at a kart­ing cir­cuit in Kirk­caldy.

‘Its 4x4 sys­tem was its Achilles’ heel,’ said owner Al­lis­ter Mcmil­lan. ‘It han­dled well, but suf­fered driv­e­train losses and had prop­shaft is­sues too.

‘Nis­san built it in 1995 to chal­lenge Audi in the Euro­pean Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship and it had a good driver in ex-f1 star Ivan Capelli, but its devel­op­ment had been rushed. I had to get its gear­box en­gi­neer to re­design it as the drive-dis­tribut­ing com­pound drop gear kept shear­ing.

‘Nis­san ac­tu­ally built 500 4WD Primeras just so it could ho­molo­gate this one car. The grip’s su­perb; I’ll run slicks un­less it’s tor­ren­tial.’

Mclaren M8B

This Mclaren M8B made its Sil­ver­stone de­but, its first race in Europe since Jo Bon­nier drove it to sec­ond in the 1968 Swedish Grand Prix at Karl­skoga. It was also a de­but for Max Banks of Al­fa­holics, who’s only raced Al­fas. ‘I thought I would be ter­ri­fied – it’s in­cred­i­bly fast – but it’s so nat­u­ral, like a big go-kart.’ Shar­ing with brother An­drew he fin­ished third in the Historic Sports Cars race.

Af­ter the Swedish GP Bon­nier took chas­sis to Amer­ica and con­tested five rounds of the 1968 Can-am Chal­lenge Cup with a best place of eighth at Las Ve­gas. For 1969 it was one of three Mclarens raced by John Cordts to se­cure 10th in the Cup.

‘It had been re­stored by an orig­i­nai­ity nut. As soon as I sat in it I knew one day I’d own it,’ said Banks.

Theodore PR1

Phil Hall de­buted his newly-ac­quired Theodore at Sil­ver­stone, the site of its only vic­tory. ‘Keke Ros­berg won the non-cham­pi­onship Daily Ex­press Tro­phy in 1978 – it ham­mered with rain and ev­ery­one else fell off,’ said Hall. ‘Ros­berg was a de­mon in the wet. Oth­er­wise, it never fin­ished.

‘Before this car, Theodore boss Teddy Yip re­badged other cars. He wanted his own chas­sis, so hired Ron Tau­ranac who put F1 parts on a Ralt F3 tub. Mine is chas­sis two; chas­sis one was writ­ten off at Kyalami.

‘It was run on an ab­so­lute shoe­string... Yip used sec­ond­hand tyres. Loads of things failed – en­gine, oil pipes, electrics. But he was a true in­de­pen­dent. This is the only true Theodore on the Masters F1 grid – the other one is a re­badged En­sign.’

Spa-win­ning Cossie made a tri­umphant re­turn to Euro­pean ac­tion af­ter al­most three decades

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