TOUR OF DUTY

Performance Vauxhall - - STAFF CARS - THANKS PSP Im­ages www.psp-im­ages.co.uk

Af­ter fin­ish­ing sev­enth for Ecurie Ecosse in the 1992 Bri­tish Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship (BTCC) with star Scot, David Les­lie, at the wheel, and fol­low­ing re­spectable per­for­mances dur­ing the BTCC TOCA Shootouts held in 1992 and 1993, my ex-works Su­per Tour­ing Cava­lier GSi re­mained in Tam­ch­ester Team Maxted colours for the start of the 1994 sea­son. A nine­teenth place fin­ish for the car at the close of the open­ing round at Thrux­ton on 4th April seemed like a slow but steady start for the teal­coloured Cava­lier, but fail­ure to take part in ei­ther rounds at Brands Hatch (Indy) a fort­night later, not to men­tion re­tire­ments at Snet­ter­ton and Oul­ton Park, sug­gested the now ven­er­a­ble GSi was in need of at­ten­tion, even though con­sis­tently-placed fin­ishes at Don­ing­ton and Brands Hatch Grand Prix cir­cuits in June showed there was still life left in the bat­tleweary warhorse.

Maxted had greater suc­cess with James Kaye’s Toy­ota Ca­rina, which the team ran along­side the Cava­lier. Kaye suc­cess­fully com­peted in all rounds of the sea­son, cul­mi­nat­ing in his vic­tory in the To­tal Cup (the pri­va­teers BTCC ti­tle). This achieve­ment high­lighted the Cava­lier’s short­com­ings, but let’s not for­get the car was tak­ing part in its fourth con­sec­u­tive BTCC. Tough work.

Spec­ta­tors hop­ing to catch sight of the GSi at Sil­ver­stone on the 10th July were left dis­ap­pointed – the car had

raced its last race in the BTCC. There was, how­ever, much to cel­e­brate. The Cava­lier had re­cently re­turned from its par­tic­i­pa­tion in the 1994 ADAC 24h Ren­nen Nür­bur­gring. Over­seas racing was noth­ing new for the Cava­lier I would go on to buy twen­tythree years later; as high­lighted in last is­sue’s trip down mem­ory lane, my GSi had al­ready com­peted at Spa in the 1993 24 Heures de Fran­cor­champs when Khan shared driv­ing du­ties with Les­lie’s Ecurie Ecosse team­mate, Alex Port­man. For the ‘Ring out­ing, the car was en­tered as an Opel Vectra A GT, as­signed the num­ber 2 and set on its way with Dutch tour­ing car driver, Peter Kox, and Khan’s fel­low Brits, Mark Peters and Adrian Wil­mott tak­ing it in turns to pull a shift. The quar­tet’s ef­forts re­sulted in a 101th place fin­ish, which might sound less than any­thing to shout about, but con­sider the fact the hos­tile en­vi­rons of en­durance racing are a chal­lenge for cars built for the task, let alone a tired Vauxhall de­signed for short pe­ri­ods of track ac­tion. The fact the car fin­ished at all is noth­ing short of im­pres­sive!

Khan wasn’t done there. A re­turn to Spa on 29th July 1995 saw the car pre­pared for the year’s hotly con­tested twenty-four hour en­durance race. Now wear­ing the num­ber 10 on each door, the hard­work­ing Vauxhall was due to be driven by Khan and Ja­panese World Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship pi­lot, Masahiro Ki­moto, along with ex­pe­ri­enced Ger­man en­durance driver, Dirk ‘The Ring­meis­ter’ Schoys­man, a Nis­san GT-R nut who is re­ported to have com­pleted more than 15,000 laps of the Green Hell.

Sadly, the car didn’t start the race, sig­nalling the end of an event­ful twoyear pe­riod in Khan’s cus­tody. Bri­tish driver, Derek Hale (most com­monly as­so­ci­ated with the Team Ros­berg Nis­san Primera en­tered into the 1996 Cam­pe­onato de Es­paña de Turis­mos and the ex-Pro­drive 1997 BTCC Honda Ac­cord he raced in the 2013 HSCC Su­per Tour­ing Car Tro­phy) bought the car (then wear­ing the num­ber 25) and com­peted with it in the 1998 For­mula Sa­loons Cham­pi­onship. He suc­cess­fully man­aged to make the teal-coloured paint job even more grotesque by ap­ply­ing what is eas­ily one of the worst tour­ing car liv­er­ies of all time. Well done, that man!

The May 1998 edi­tion of the ex­cel­lent Cars & Con­ver­sions mag­a­zine show­cased the big­gest and most var­ied grid of For­mula Sa­loons as­sem­bled up un­til that point in time. Ex-BTCC ma­chines, Thun­der­sa­loons and DTM metal were just some of the cars ready to swap paint. Ro­taryengined Maz­das, Cos­worth-badged Fords, AMG-fet­tled Mercs and even a six-litre Pon­tiac-pro­pelled Cal­i­bra lined up for the photo shoot at Snet­ter­ton, but which car do you think was lead­ing the charge? Yep, you guessed it! Search eBay for a copy of the mag, which of­fers fas­ci­nat­ing in­sight into clas­sic ‘90s motorsport.

Facelift Mk3 Cava­lier front end was fit­ted for the 1994 Bri­tish Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship

Colour-coded car and track fur­ni­ture!

Derek Hale used the GSi to com­pete in the 1998 For­mula Sa­loons Cham­pi­onship Your gran’s bath­room is a sim­i­lar shade, yeah?

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