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.”