Two of the most successful drivers in the iconic super touring era are ready to roll back the years at this weekends Easter Revival at Thruxton.
John Cleland and Patrick Watts will renew old battles in the inaugural round of the new Super Touring Car Championship.
The championship is organised by the Historic Sports Car Club. It will revive memories of an era in which the BTCC was the pinnacle of european motorsport, attracting major manufacturers and leading drivers from all over Europe such as Nigel Mansell.
The period between 1991 and 2000 made household names of drivers like Tim Harvey, Will Hoy and Alain Menu.
The new championship which had a few outings in 2014, will feature a grid comprised of: Honda Accords, Alfa Romeo 156s, Nissan Primeras, BMW 320s and M3s, a Williams Renault Laguna, a Zakspeed mkII Escort and a Ford Sierra RS500.
Among the grid will be a Peugeot 406 piloted by Watts and a Vauxhall Vectra driven by Cleland.
Watts, who was widely known for being one of the most spectacular drivers in the field was a BTCC regular from 1983 to 1997 scoring a number of podiums for Peugeot in 1994 and 1995. He explains what made the super touring era so special.
“The biggest motivation for driving these Super Touring cars is that they are so much fun!
The best drivers in the world were developing them. They were built like F1 cars – such was it’s quality and sophistication.”
Cleland also has fond memories of the era. He was a consistent front runner and race winner between 1989 and 1999, clinching the title on two occasions in 1989 and 1995.
Cleland will be reunited with his 1997 Vectra.
“Super touring was a big part of my life.” He explains. “The BTCC was the most successful touring car championship in the world. It was unquestionably the place to be, and the place to be seen.”
“At one stage, I think there were more Super Touring drivers being paid to drive than F1 drivers – it was a golden age.”
And what about the ferocious racing that goes hand in hand with touring cars? Well nothing has changed there as Cleland describes.
“No matter how much you say it’s purely for fun, it’s not – you never want to finish second. Everybody wants to win.”
Tickets for the Easter Revival can be purchased on that gate from just £12.