This month we salute a man who will be for­ever linked with Fords and the BTCC, in par­tic­u­lar the mighty RS500s

Fast Ford - - Contents -

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.

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