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10 iconic race cars from BTCC'S 60 year history

09 Jan 2018

With 2018 marking 60 years of the British Touring Car Championship, a look back through the extensive back catalogue of memorable vehicles throughout the series sees ten cars stand out. From thunderous American muscle cars to diminutive British heroes, here are ten iconic race cars from 60 years of BTCC.

Rover SD1
Despite its less than petite proportions, the thunderous V8 of this British brute resulted in a dramatic sight and sound at any race meeting, particularly when dicing with similarly muscular American rivals. Whether in Bastos, Patrick Motorsport or Triplex livery, the SD1 made its presence known.

Lotus Cortina
One of the several fast Fords that punctuated BTCC’s 60-year history, the Lotus tweaked Cortina was small but mighty. At the hands of greats such as Jim Clark (who won the 1964 Championship at the wheel of a Cortina) and Sir John Whitmore, the little Cortina brought home big results, regularly seen on three wheels at apexes throughout the UK.

Chevrolet Camaro
A fire spitting chunk of American muscle, the Camaro may have lost the smaller European rivals in the corners but would eat them alive on the straights. A real heavyweight contender, Frank Gardner claimed the 1973 Championship in a Z28 Camaro.

Honda Civic
Though the Accords may have been a common competitor throughout BTCC history, the Civic has become a staple of the series. Between 2011 and 2016, all but one Championship was won by a Civic. In either hatchback or tourer form, the Civic is a true BTCC hero.

Volvo 850 
Responsible for making the estate the object of every family man’s desire, the unlikely Volvo 850 Estate became a legend on the track. Developed with Tom Walkinshaw Racing (TWR), there were minor aerodynamic benefits to the boxy estate over the saloon but the model was primarily chosen for publicity. 

Mini 1275 GT 
A racing legend in other disciplines, the plucky little Mini was a hit in the BTCC too. Able to carve through a grid like nothing else, the Mini became known for coming out on top over far bigger, more powerful rivals. As with the Volvo, the BTCC presence of the Mini did wonders for public opinion of the model.

BMW E30 M3
A hallmark of the 1990s era of BTCC, arguably one of the more revered periods of the series, the E30 M3 cemented itself as the car to have on the road thanks to the racing prowess of the race cars. A key player in the thrills-and-spills of the 1990s, the M3 is BTCC royalty and was driven to Championship wins in 1988 and 1991.

Audi A4 quattro
Another German goliath, the A4 quattro brought four wheel drive to the attention of the world and the front of the grid, much to the dismay of other teams. After winning countless races, accusastions were made of the quattro and it was ultimately banned, but not after a championship win in 1996.

Alfa Romeo 155 TS
In typical Alfa Romeo fashion, the 155 TS was as stylish as it was powerful. The 155 TS was a source of controversy due to its adjustable aerodynamics, with Alfa Romeo leaving the Oulton Park race in protest in 1994 – nonetheless, Gabrielle Tarquini won the championship in the beautiful Alfa.

Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500
The RS500 quickly gained a reputation as the car to have in the BTCC, so much so that the 1990 Group A class field was made up entirely of these turbocharged terrors. Few cars have such close association to the BTCC as the RS500, and were the poster car for a generation of racing fans.

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