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BTCC - to professional ? - Steve G
I watched some old British touring car videos yesterday ( 1992/3/4/5) and soon came to the conclusion this truly was a Golden era for touring cars.
Some of the racing was superb - real overtaking, spectacular crashes and great characters.
The most obvious difference between then and now is the technology and money spent. It seems the BTCC appeal dwindled once the cars became 'racing cars with roadcar bodyshell' instead of ' roadcars with a few racing bits added'. Also the inevetible effects of all this money being spent on the series caused any normal racing incident to become a full stewards inquiry.
With the high cost of running a team most manufacturers left leaving what we have now ,just an embarassing 4 manufacturers.
Hopefully the new regs for next year will interest more manufacturers and bring back some of the entertainment the BTCC has offered before.
Re: BTCC - to professional ? - dan
Is that with the Merc CLKs, and a couple of Hondas and TT's thrown in for good measure?

If we're talking about the same thing, l agree. The similarity to roadcars is superficial at best, even the appearance...
It took me a little while to realise why these cars still looked alien even though they are 'road' shells. Wheels that don't even start until they're practically clear of the original body contours might have something to do with it!

dan
Re: BTCC - to professional ? - Stuart B
Actually I reckon touring cars went downhill the year (and I forget which) when one team turned it into a form of contact motor sport.
(not sure if allowed to mention them by name but think thrusting / fog lights / Bavaria)

Outrageous in my opinion then and now and to a pure motor sport fan its been poor since then with very odd flashes of brilliance.

OK there have always been "racing incidents" but I still recall the time where one car was deliberatelr rammed off the road on the last bend, all in the cause of team tactics. Personally I would have decked the guy in the paddock afterwards.
Re: BTCC - to professional ? - Steve G
I think you refering to the last race of 1992. Tim Harveys team mate (Steve Soper,BMW) shunting Cleland ( Vauxhall) off the track. This meant Harvey won the championship not Cleland. Probably the most controversial moment in BTCC.
Re: BTCC - to professional ? - Stuart B
Yes that's the incident Steve, but seeing as names are being bandied about the guy I reckon really started the decline was Frank Sytner, Steve Soper's team mate in earlier seasons.

But I do know what you mean they were modified road cars not racing cars with a similar silhouette.

Now for a real racer how about Gerry Marshall, now I'm showing my age!
Re: BTCC - to professional ? - Richard Shutt
I think it went the year Alpha Romeo dominated was the turning point. Prior to this aerodynamic aids were (largely) banned and the racing was close. The car Alpha sold (155? variant) for homogolation used to have front spoiler in the boot as it was too low to fit to a road going car!

The organisers, instead of finding a way to enforce the regulations, allowed aerodynamic aids and the racing became too processional. I used to go to Brands every year to see a race but the last two I went to were boring so I gave up.

And what was that enforced pit stop stuff all about?!

Richard
Re: BTCC - to professional ? - Steve G
Your probably right ...
Alfa romeo ,as you say sold a special version of the 155 called 'Silverstone' which came with adjustable spoilers as standard . This allowing them to be used on the racing version.
From what i can remember there was a big fuss half way thru the season ( After dominating the early races). In the end something happened which led to Alfa pulling out of one entire race meeting ( Oulton i think).
But i'm a big Alfa Romeo fan (my own car is a 155) which came about after watching touring car racing.
I also stopped going to see BTCC (TOCA) in the last few years... just not entertaining anymore.
Hopefully the new regs will change this.
Re: BTCC - to professional ? - Steve G
and who is Gerry Marshall ???
Who is Gerry Marshall? - Stuart B
Who is Gerry Marshall? Who is Gerry Marshall?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jeez, if I wasn't in a good mood and its lunchtime as well.

Gerry is one larger than life character, in *all* senses of the word.

He should have turned 60 just recently, has 600+ victories over four decades of racing.

Entertaining on and off the track, always very competitive despite his larger than life meaning a power/weight ratio disadvantage.

For years he was THE Vauxhall works driver and I guess he was at his best in the 70's.

His most famous cars were the original Droop Snoot Firenza (aka Old Nail) This was replaced by a Ventora with a 480bhp V8 Holden and called Big Bertha, and after this crashed ( I seem to think brake failure as opposed to brain failure) it was replaced by Baby Bertha which had a lot of the mechanicals from Big B but was a Firenza with another more highly tuned Holden V8 IIRC.

I guess if you don't know who Gerry was then you won't know what Firenza's or Ventora's were either.

Gerry drives in two ways, either absolutely immaculate racing lines, or more usually totally sideways but either way absolutely on the limit every yard.

I have to say my favourite memory of Gerry is on the Avon Tour of Britain (1975??) where Ford stole a march on the rest of the competitors, b*ggers!

The event was a combined race/rally in Group 1 cars, which were basically the equivelant of today's GpN, but more modified. In the UK only single carbs had been homologated for the Mk1 RS2000, but twin Webers had been homologated by Ford in Germany, and of course this is what Ford kept secret and used only on the two works cars on the Tour. So Gerry and Roger Clark walked all over the rest of the field.

Basically the idea was that the rally drivers should be quicker on the stages and the racers ditto on the track and it all should even up in the end. Well that was generally the case, except what happened on the race tracks was that Roger generally won because he treated it like a rally stage and was just sideways everywhere.

This meant that Gerry could not get past because firstly, as I said he's a big guy and hence a weight disadvantage, secondly, Roger was driving an Escort 75% wider than a normal Escort, but thirdly I suspect mainly because Gerry was peeing himself laughing so much at the sight of Roger in front going soooooooo sideways.

Gerry gave Baby Bertha an outing at last years Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Steve G hope that was good humoured answer to, with respect, a very daft question.

All the best,
S
Re: Who is Gerry Marshall? - Steve G
Sorry!, the 1970's was a long time ago.Way before my time !
Certainly highlights the difference between F1 and other forms of motorsport, i could name loads of F1 drivers from 60/70's but not many touring/rally car drivers.
Thank for the info though certainly sounds a lot more entertaining than todays
touring car races.
I can remember seeing some footage of Jim Clark driving a Lotus Cortina -absolutely incredible- totally sideways just like you described above.
Re: Who is Gerry Marshall? - Stuart B
Steve, no need to apologise, my daft question comment was just a friendly leg pull.

No I can ask equally daft questions, like who are the Gorillaz?
 

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