A delectable selection of rally cars from the 1970s to the present day are out in force at this year’s Race Retro, held at Stoneleigh Park, Coventry from 25-27 February, demonstrating rear wheel, front wheel and four wheel-drive action on the Live Rally Stage, sponsored by Hero.
The live action, which takes place on Saturday and Sunday, sees rally ace Miki Biasion behind the wheel of the Lancia Delta Integrale he drove in the 1990s, showcasing the Italian car maker that 2011’s Race Retro is also celebrating. Joining the celebrations is the Lancia Fulvia HF, an authentic recreation of a 1970s works rally car driven by Tony Graham on his return from Monte Historique.
Also on the starting line is a Vauxhall Chevette HS works rally car, hopefully with original driver Jimmy McRae at the wheel in support of his charity, built by Bill Blydenstein's famous Dealer Team Vauxhall (DTV) outfit at Shepreth in 1978 and run by works manager Gerry Johnstone. The car, in Jimmy's hands, competed in numerous Rallies in 1978, and achieved 7th in Mintex, 2nd on the Circuit of Ireland, as well as starts on the Welsh and Scottish events.
'Jumping' Jeff Williamson will debut his recently acquired ex works FIA Group A Mercedes 190 Cosworth, built for Danny Snobek to drive in the 1987 Monte Carlo Rally. This is one of only seven cars built. The rally programme was subsequently abandoned when these two wheel drive cars were deemed uncompetitive against the crop of new four wheel drive cars. They were subsequently used for the European touring car racing series run on behalf of M-B by Danny Snobeck Racing.
The Firenza V8, a recreation of the 1972 South African GM Dealer Team car used by Jan Hettema, will also make another appearance after its debut in 2010. Only 100 of these 360 bhp cars were built as 'homologation specials' to compete against South Africa Fords, V8 engined Perana (Capri). Hettema himself gave builder Mick Strafford a great deal of technical advice and help with original details during the building of this car to ensure it is a faithful representation of the original works car.
Also in action will be three of the small yet mighty Metro 6R4s, which remain as popular with rally fans as they were 25 years ago. They are joined by two Ford RS200s, a pair of Opel Manta 400s, an Audi Quattro Sport and a Peugeot 205 T16 – models representing the pinnacle of mid-‘80s rallying.
There will also be an example of its arch-rival Ford Escort Mk2, a highly-rare Nissan 240RS and a Triumph TR7 V8. A brace of Talbot Sambas revives ‘80s-style club rallying and proves they can still be on the pace. The pinnacle of ‘70s rallying might is represented by Lancia, Race Retro’s celebrated marque, with a Stratos being joined by a Fiat 131 Abarth and, from the 1980s, a Fiat Strada Abarth.
And big car rallying is represented by a 1986 Rover Vitesse, this rear-wheel drive V8 providing ample evidence that family cars can be on the face just as much as cars with a more sporting pedigree.
There will also be Historic Kart demonstrations including an appearance by racing legend Johnny Herbert at the controls on Sunday!
Adult ticket prices start from just £20 for Friday and Saturday, £15 for Sunday when booking in advance. Children’s tickets are £5 on Friday or Saturday and free on Sunday. Parking is also free throughout. The show is open from 9.30am each day and closes at 5.30pm on Friday and Saturday and 4.30pm on Sunday. To book tickets and for the latest updates, visit www.raceretro.com
Lancia Delta 4WD/Integrale
By Graham Robson.
The HF 4WD – a compact, five-door Lancia – dominated world-class rallying for six years, winning innumerable events, World Championships for Drivers, and World Championships for Manufacturers, and making legends out of drivers such as Markku Alan, Didier Auriol, Miki Biasion, Juha Kankkunen and Carlos Sainz. More info.