This month we salute a man who will be forever linked with Fords and the BTCC, in particular the mighty RS500s
This month we salute BTCC legend, Andy Rouse.
Few living legends walk as tall in the Ford scene as Andy Rouse. Hero of Touring Car racing, accomplished engineer, tester, and developer, he has many strings to his bow. In his teens, Rouse built his own specials to compete in autocross, before making the move to Formula Ford; by 1971 he was funding his racing exploits by working as an engineer for iconic tuning outfit Broadspeed. Ralph Broad quickly noted Rouse’s combination of engineering nous and driving talent, and mentored him into further championships to develop his racing career.
In 1972, Andy Rouse entered the Ford Escort Mexico Series, winning the championship in his debut season and using the success as a springboard into the British Saloon Car Championship. Continuing to campaign Broadspeed racers, he competed in Escorts and Capris as well as Triumph Dolomites, taking a variety of wins.
In 1981, Andy Rouse Engineering was founded, and Rouse brought many ex-Broadspeed employees with him (Broadspeed having been liquidated a few years previously). After finding various successes with Alfa Romeos and Rovers, Ford gave Rouse the works contract to build and drive the new Sierra RS Cosworth; he’d won the championship in 1985 in a Sierra XR4ti, and when the Sierra RS500 was homologated in ’87 it was Andy Rouse Engineering’s job to turn it into an effective BTCC racer. This project was a triumph, creating one of the most successful and celebrated Touring Cars of all time.
Further kudos came with the works Mondeo in 1993, although for many fans Andy Rouse will always go hand-inhand with RS500 Sierras. He’s out of the motorsport business these days, dividing his time between riding Suzuki trails bikes and driving 600bhp powerboats, but he’s keeping his hand in by virtue of his son Julian being general manager of Christian Horner’s Arden Motorsport, running cars in GP2 and GP3. The magic never leaves you. Whichever way you cut it, Andy Rouse is a solid-gold Ford legend.