The son of five-time British rally champion Jimmy McRae, Colin entered his first rally as soon as legally able to drive and made his world championship debut on the 1987 Swedish. His battered Sierra 4×4 was sixth on the 1990 RAC Rally and McRae then signed with Prodrive and Subaru. British champion in 1991 and 1992, he was a full-time member of Subaru’s world championship line-up from 1993. Winner of Rally New Zealand that year and the next, McRae ended 1994 by becoming the first home winner of the RAC Rally in 18 years.
Retirements in the opening two rallies of 1995 did not bode well, but he finished all the remaining rounds, winning in New Zealand and Great Britain to become the first British world champion.
Runner-up to Tommi Mäkinen for the next two years, McRae was third overall in his final season with Subaru. He accepted a lucrative offer from Ford in 1999 but that campaign was marred by crashes and reliability woes. He extended his contract into 2001 and lost that year’s title to Richard Burns when he crashed in Britain.
A single winless campaign with Citroën followed in 2003. Without a regular ride from 2004, he competed in events as diverse as the Dakar Rally and Le Mans 24 Hours.
He lost his life in a 2007 helicopter accident that also claimed his young son and two family friends.
‘Data Trace’ was born from Motor Sport’s online Database, which includes results from around the world, from the mainstream to the obscure. There are full results for the main championships, while the history of others is detailed with race winners and champions, a feature that is expanding all the time