This touring car legend got a career leg-up after being picked to drive a ModSports Z. And it all began with Motor Sport.
“I’ve always liked Healeys and used to rally a 100/6. The 240Z had the same sort of character: it was great fun to drive sideways, steering on the bump stops. I got involved with racing them after reading an article written by [Motor Sport’s] Clive Richardson. He’d road-tested Spike Anderson’s Samuri Z and raved about it. I was sitting in my garage one dull April day – this would have been in 1973 – and instinctively picked up the phone and called Spike. I went along to drive his demonstrator, loved it and he offered to make my own Z ‘honk’ – his way of saying ‘go really fast’. Anyway, a little while later I took the car to Gurston Down and Hugo Tippett was there driving Spike’s car. Well, I beat Hugo and Spike said I was either incredibly talented or an accident waiting to happen. He was going to enter a car in the following year’s BARC ModSports series and did I want to drive it? That really was the start of my professional career. “Back then I didn’t have a proper understanding about setting up cars and we used one set of tyres for the whole season. We beat Nick Faure’s AFN Porsche to win the 3-litre class and I think with a bigger budget and more development ‘Big Sam’ would have been unstoppable. I also had a Z that we used for autocross and rallycross events, which was just the most fun. I love Zs and I’m looking for one right now: Spike is going to give it the full Samuri treatment. I seem to have come full circle…”