Around and about, February 1978

Porsche 924 Championship

The most expensive form of one-make club racing yet seen on British circuits will take place this summer for the £8,000 Porsche 924, similar to that tested by W.B. on page 159. Porsche Cars GB Ltd. is to promote an eight-race series for virtually standard, fully-silenced road cars, with organisation by the British Automobile Racing Club. Events will be held at Thruxton, Donington, Silverstone, Oulton Park, Mallory Park, Brands Hatch and Snetterton.

Dunlop will manufacture a series of CR 82 all-weather racing tyres for the Championship, offering them at a special price. They must be fitted to Porsche’s 6j X 14 in. alloy rims. Competitors will be allowed to lower the torsion bar rear suspension and fit harder pads and linnings.

To limit strictly the amount of engine modifications undertaken, Porsche Cars have imposed an absolute limit of 120 b.h.p. at the rear wheels. Brand-new, the 924 gives between 100 and 110 b.h.p. at the rear wheels, so engine preparation really will have to be limited to polishing the cylinder head and manifolding.

As well as gaining support from Dunlop, Porsche have persuaded Shell to include the series in the Gold Star Awards and bonus scheme. Prize money will total £250 per race and a generous bonus scheme operated through the Porsche dealer network will guarantee an additional £700 a race.

Full regulations for the Championship are available from John Wickham, Competitions Manager of the BARC at Thruxton and further information is available from Mike Cotton at Porsche in Reading.

Leyland sporting money for ’78

Despite their headline-hogging role in the national press, Leyland Cars still seem certain enough of their sporting future to offer more generous financial rewards than their rivals.

Ron Elkins, Leyland ST, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 AU, is the man in charge of their motor sporting bonus payments for privateers. The scheme offers cash, or double that value in parts vouchers for Leyland ST pans, but the price of those parts is calculated at retail rates, including VAT.

More complete details are available from the above address, but those who are chasing a championship in the coming year might do well to explore the merits of the scheme especially thoroughly.

Bristol change their emphasis

For Bristol Cars will continue to produce just three cars a week, but more of them will be of the 412 convertible-saloon style than previously.

At £24,874, the aluminium bodied 412 is approximately half a hundredweight lighter than before and is now powered by a 5.9-litre V8 engine from Chrysler, instead of the same company’s 6.5-litre unit.

A revised 603 S2 is also available, and a slightly less refined 603E of 5.2 litres.

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Patrick Stephens Ltd., of Barr Hill, Cambridge, inform us that they are distributors in this country for the Road and Track Illustrated Auto Directory which we reviewed last month. The price is £4.95.

Alfetta Strada

A luxury version of the Alfetta GTV 2-litre has been recently announced by the British concessionaires. Not much change is offered from £7,000 in the new offering, in fact the cost would be well in excess of that sum if you opted for the only two options offered, air conditioning and metallic paint.

Included in the Strada specification are some major items like velvet upholstery; light alloy wheels; electrically activated sun roof and front windows; a stereo reproduction system for radio and cassette player combination, a rear window wash-wipe layout.

The minor finishing points include front and rear lamps for use in fog; heavy duty side protective mouldings and coachwork lines, plus a chrome finish for the exhaust.

Inclusive of nearly £1,000 in taxes, the latest GTV derivative will sell for £6,898.77.

Interesting comps engineering from Ford in ’78

The annual Ford competition press conference, held in London, offered much the same rally-orientated comment and programme as before, with a few notable exceptions.

The opening exception was that the company are becoming a lot more serious about fwd. Apparently the Escort is to follow the Fiesta in this configuration shortly, and so a low key development programme in rallycross makes a lot of sense. As with previous rallycross projects John Taylor, the former national hunt jockey, is to carry out the work, literally in the field. The car is the Fiesta, but with a 1.6-litre pushrod engine that will eventually release 170 horsepower in multi-carburated form.

Another exception to the norm was the announcement of a 1.4-litre turbocharged engine for use in either the Escort or Capri body,within the 2-litre class of the German national saloon car racing series.

Such a version of the 16-v al ve Cosworth BDA unit is expected to yield 300 bhp. Also in the racing field former GP motorcycle ace Stuart Graham (you may remember C.R. testing a Camaro a few seasons back) is to operate four heavily sponsored Ford Capris in Britain and France this season.

The rally Escort’s success stopped short of actually slaying Fiat’s enormous assault upon the World title last season, but otherwise the well developed family car seems as competitive as ever. There is the substitution of a Castrol contract for the international rally team, the cars all driven by Scandinavians in 1978. At home Roger Clark, Russell Brooke’s and, for five events, Hannu Mikkola will be seen regularly.

See the sport for yourself

For 15 years the Leicester-based travel company, Page and Moy Ltd., have been transporting motoring enthusiasts all over the world. As with Hoover, Page and Moy has become a generic term, in this case meaning a proven way of seeing motor racesfor a reasonable price.

We have received their catalogue for next season and were interested to see that Formula One forms a bigger proportion of their business than one might imagine. Rallying is not included, but there are visits to the Indianapolis 500 (14 days that include some worthwhile diversions for £449), and an inventive package of 17 days that takes in USAC (Milwaukee 150 and Pocono 500), plus the Motor State 400 event for NASCAR stock cars; that trip is priced at £495.

Aside from the familiar Grand Prix rounds (£25 to £489), Page and May also offer three ways of going to watch the Le Mans 24 flours, which should be a great scrap between Porsche and Renault again, at prices ranging from £27 to £69.

The writer has not experienced one of these trips first hand. We do have people on the staff who use them regularly, and many of the “Brits” we meet at race meetings have come via P & M. Obviously you cannot please all the people all of the time, but P & M seem to satisfy most of the clients we encounter. There are others that are cheaper. Some of the veteran Continental race spectators, who started with Page and Moy, have switched over,. but those making their debut in Continental race watching might well feel less adventurous. The address, from which you can also obtain the brochure, is 132 London Road, Leicester LE2 1EN.