RS500 Quartet Lead 40 Car Entry For Silverstone Classic Touring Car Races

by James Broomhead
Vauxhalls, BMWs and Jaguars will join Ford on the grid (Photo Credit: Silverstone Classic)

A mouth-watering grid of more than 40 touring cars representing three decades of racing in Britain and Europe is set for Silverstone Classic powered by the AA later this month.

New for this year's event (July 20-22) the cars will contest the double-header Fujifilm Classic Touring Car Trophy the races, coincide with the silver anniversary for the Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500. Four of the famous 'whale-tailed' Group A beast are among the 41 confirmed entries for the races at the world's largest historic racing festival.

As well as the RS500 – raced to success in the UK by drivers including Steve Soper, Andy Rouse and Robb Gravett – the grid list includes 17 other models including the BMW M3 – a contemporary of the RS500 and several cars from the two-litre supertouring era of the 1990s British Touring Car Championship.

The mid-90s high point of the supertouring regulations saw as many as ten manufacturer backed team fighting for wins and championships. Several marques will be present on the Silverstone Classic grid, including the mighty, four-wheel-drive Audi A4 that dominated the 1996 season in the hands of Frank Biela. Also present will be Nissan Primera, Vauxhall Cavalier, Ford Mondeo and Honda Accord.

The earlier eras of touring cars – British and World championships – will be represented by cars including the Ford Capri and Jaguar XJS Coupe as run by the late Tom Walkinshaw's TWR team in the WTCC.

The BTCC connection is brought up to date by Frank Wrathall. With Silverstone Classic falling in the summer break of the 2012 season 25-year-old Wrathall – who regularly drives a NGTC-spec Toyota Avensis – will race a 1995 Vauxhall Cavalier.

“I grew up watching the super tourers in the Nineties on TV – they had a real cult following – so to finally get the chance to race one is a bit of a 'pinch yourself' moment,” admitted Wrathall. “Hopefully I can be competitive but there are many other very well maintained cars on the entry list, particularly the Nissan Primeras and Ford Mondeo and even one of the mighty Audi A4s. Nor would I rule out a well-driven M3 or RS500. It is going to be quite a race to be in!”

“What an utterly stunning grid of cars has been assembled for this race,” said event organiser Nick Wigley. “We don't believe such a diverse grid of touring cars has ever been put together before and it's going to be a must-see spectacle for not just all classic motor sport enthusiasts but also the many tens of thousands of fans of all ages who have followed touring car racing down the years. It really is another big feather in the cap for this year's Silverstone Classic which is shaping up to be by far the biggest and best yet.”

Silverstone Classic powered by the AA also includes races for over 1,000 cars, including Formula One cars for the 1970s and 80s, Group C sportscars and the Lotus Cortinas, Minis and Alfa Romeo GTAs of an earlier era of touring car racing.

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