FORD CAPRI

Motor Sport News - - Great Cars -

Dur­ing the sec­ond half of the 1970s, the car to have in the Bri­tish Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship – or Bri­tish Saloon Car Cham­pi­onship as it was known – was a three-litre Ford Capri. Once the V8-en­gined Chevro­let Ca­maros had been ban­ished from Group 1, the Capri moved to the fore­front and Spice was its great­est ex­po­nent.

Spice took 26 of his 28 out­right BTCC wins in the fast­back Ford, in both Capri Mk2 and Capri Mk3 forms, and took an in­cred­i­ble six con­sec­u­tive class ti­tles. Only the idio­syn­cratic scor­ing sys­tem, that re­warded class wins as much as out­right suc­cesses, pre­vented him from be­com­ing BTCC cham­pion.

Gor­don Spice Rac­ing be­came one of the top Capri en­trants and Spice was also suc­cess­ful abroad, with a high­light be­ing Spa 24 Hours vic­tory with Teddy Pilette. “The Capri was bloody good to me, but it was a busi­ness and we had to make it work,” says Spice. “The profit came at the end of the year when we sold the cars.

“Each year the Capris got a bit bet­ter be­cause Ford was quite good at ho­molo­gat­ing the bits we needed.

“It was a very, very easy car to drive – that was the se­cret of it. It was al­most id­iot-proof. You could drive it any style you wanted. You could drive it com­pletely side­ways. But the quick way was not to hang the tail out.”

Af­ter spo­radic Capri out­ings in 19781979, Andy Rouse joined Gor­don Spice Rac­ing for the 1980 sea­son and the two had a ti­tanic strug­gle at the front of the field. With a late-sea­son charge, Spice beat Rouse to the class crown, with six wins to Andy’s three.

“Andy was prob­a­bly the quick­est Capri driver and there were no team or­ders,” adds Spice. “Andy wouldn’t drive un­der those cir­cum­stances, quite rightly.”

Spa 24 Hours win came in 1978

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