Thursday, 18 April 2013

THE BIGGEST TOURING CAR REVIVAL YET



The 2013 Silverstone Classic (26-28 July) will celebrate Britain’s evergreen passion for bumper-to-bumper touring car racing with a record number of saloon cars grids from the sport’s golden eras. For the first time in the evocative event’s history, this summer’s staging of the world’s biggest classic motor racing festival will include three packed touring car grids alongside as part of an amazing line-up of 24 races for unrivalled numbers of historic F1, GT and sports cars.

With a capacity 58 car field, the Under 2-Litre Touring Car (U2TC) showdown for saloons from the early Sixties is an established crowd-pleaser at the Classic, and the Super Touring Trophy introduced in 2012 proved to be an instant success for fans of more modern tin-top racing in the Eighties and Nineties. Both return in 2013 but now are joined by a new Trans-Atlantic Touring Car Trophy grid featuring many of the mighty V8 muscle cars that dominated saloon car racing in the second half of the Sixties.

Indeed it’s almost exactly 50 years ago that Silverstone witnessed the arrival of the first ‘Yank Tank’. It was on 11 May 1963 that saloon car legend Jack Sears debuted the 6.9-litre NASCAR sourced Ford Galaxie at Silverstone, promptly trounced the reigning Jaguars and totally transformed the sport for the following epoch.

It was unquestionably a defining moment and two Trans-Atlantic Touring Car Trophy races staged over the action-packed weekend will mark the golden anniversary of Sears’ first win. Harking back to that halcyon era both will witness large numbers of the crowd-pleasing American machines taking on their more nimble European rivals from the same unforgettable period.

The two-driver U2TC race also honours another important milestone in saloon car racing history – 50 years of the esteemed Lotus Cortina. Last year’s capacity 58-car grid included more than 25 of these racing deities and another huge turn out is guaranteed in July in a packed field that will also flaunt packs of battling Alfa Romeos, BMWs and Minis.

Turning the clocks forward, the Super Touring Trophy puts the spotlight on two equally memorable eras. The Group A era is well represented by flame-spitting Cosworth Sierras and their long-standing BMW M3 adversaries, while a growing number of super tourers epitomise what’s widely hailed as the zenith of the MSA British Touring Car Championship during the Nineties. Adding to the history, several of the famous drivers from that period are rolling back the years, too. Two-time BTCC champion John Cleland and ebullient Patrick Watts have both found one of their old racers and are planning to rejoin the fray.

Source: Silverstone Classic

Available from Veloce!
British Touring Car Racing – The crowd’s favourite – late 1960s to 1990
By Peter Collins

Evocative pictures of British Touring Car racing – the crowd's favourite – from the flares of the late 1960s to the turbos of 1990.
More info.