SPICE SE86

Motor Sport News - - Great Cars -

As well as his tour­ing car suc­cesses, Spice also re­turned to sportscar rac­ing in the late 1970s and was third over­all in the 1980 Le Mans 24 Hours in a Rondeau. A deal be­tween Ford and Gor­don Spice Rac­ing to con­test the world sportscar cham­pi­onship was can­celled vir­tu­ally be­fore it got go­ing, but the even­tual re­sult was that Spice En­gi­neer­ing Lim­ited was formed to run in the C2 cat­e­gory.

Spice, Ray Bellm and Spice En­gi­neer­ing dom­i­nated C2 in 1985 with the Spice-tiga GC85, but it is the fol­low­ing year’s car that Spice chooses for this list.

For 1986 a deal was signed with General Mo­tors and Spice pro­duced its first chas­sis, the Pon­tiac Fiero-bod­ied SE86. The Gra­ham Humphrys-de­signed ma­chine proved com­pet­i­tive on both sides of the At­lantic, with Spice and Bellm again be­com­ing C2 cham­pi­ons.

“The SE86 was a very easy car to drive and I’ve al­ways liked cars that were easy,” says Spice. “It had no faults at all and you could drive it for hours on end, which I of­ten did.

“What I liked about the sportscars was the seat time. You got much more driv­ing – 1000km races, six hours, 24 hours. You didn’t get that in tour­ing cars, apart from the Spa and Nur­bur­gring 24 Hours, but I en­joyed the long races as you could re­ally get stuck in and get into a rhythm. It was more chal­leng­ing; cars had to be nursed through it.

“The C2s weren’t that much slower than the C1s. They were faster on ac­cel­er­a­tion and top speed, but we never felt we were hold­ing peo­ple up.”

The SE86’S suc­ces­sor took Spice – this time driv­ing with Fer­min Velez – to his C2 hat-trick. He added an­other cat­e­gory crown in 1988 and the cars would con­tinue to be suc­cess­ful af­ter Gor­don’s re­tire­ment from rac­ing fol­low­ing the 1989 Le Mans.

Spice/bellm took two wins on way to C2 crown in ’86

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