Irish historic racer Jonathan White has entered his Rover Vitesse in the Historic Touring Car Challenge at the Donington Historic Festival. He will be co-driven by 3 Time UK Porsche Champion John Bussell, Proven Historic Racer Simon Watson and the plan is to contest the Donington Historic Festival, Silverstone Classic, Spa 6 Hour Meeting and Portimao Algarve Classic Festival. They will be up against the cream of Historic Group 1, 2 and Group A cars from 65-86. Many of which are driven by big name drivers from past and present. Through his company wrap.ie, Jonathan has rebranded the Vitesse in the iconic Gitanes colours and is really looking forward to the event.
Historic Touring Cars are always a huge favourite with the crowds, with the fierce on-track action reminding us that highly competitive Touring Car racing is by no means a recent thing. And when you bring in period drivers and ex-works cars, as in this race, the nostalgia levels soar.
Motor Racing Legends’ Historic Touring Car Challenge features Groups 1 & 2 and Group A Touring Cars, of the types which raced in the British and European Touring Car Championships from 1966 to 1985.
The grid features a number of genuine ex-works cars and drivers who were well-known fixtures on the Touring Car circuit back in period. Steve Soper, a very big name from the 1980s and ’90s Touring Car and GT era, returns to compete at the Festival once more, having taken the chequered flag here in 2014 in the Cologne Capri. This time he’s in the Rover TWR Vitesse. From 1981-97 the Tom Walkinshaw-prepared SDI Rovers were a force to be reckoned with in the British and European Touring Car Championships, with Andy Rouse scoring a famous BTCC win in 1984, so the combination of Soper and Vitesse should be interesting to say the least.
Soper’s fellow former BTCC competitor Patrick Watts returns with his ‘time warp’ MG Metro Turbo, the very car that he drove in period, complete with original livery and race number.
Series sponsor JD Classics are bringing the Group 44 XJ-S out to play again. It had a frustrating Festival last year, where it was making its hotly-anticipated return to racing, having not turned a wheel since 1979. Sadly it had to retire during the race, albeit having delivered an impressive performance before mechanical issues intervened, so expect big things from it this year.
This year’s HTCC features more Capris than anything else – a bonus for fans of these classic Fords. Expect to have those BTCC memories awakened!