The British Saloon Car Championship sponsored by Tricentrol will be enlivened this year by a pair of Audi 80 GLE saloons running in the 1,300-1,600 c.c. category. They will have the backing of the British importers of Volkswagen and Audi, as well as support from the parent German firm. The cars will be in black and red, the colours of Akai the Japanese hi-fi and video equipment specialist firm, for they are providing the main sponsorship money for the team. Preparation of the cars will be undertaken by GTi Engineering, based in the growing industrial avenue at Silverstone circuit, a tuning firm owned by Richard Lloyd and Brian Ricketts. Last year Lloyd won his class in the saloon car championship with a VW Golf GTi prepared by his firm (see C.R.’s story on page 362) and he will be the number one driver in the Audi-Akai team. Ricketts is the chief mechanical schemer in the firm, for in saloon car racing you do not design, you scheme up ways of circumnavigating the strict rules for saloon car racing, without infringing them or getting caught out by wily scrutineers.
Number two driver in the team will be Stirling Moss, OBE; yes, the legend, Stirling Moss, making a full-time return to the British racing circuits. For many years now Moss has been watching the racing scene with a growing desire to join in again. Now 50 years old, and incredibly fit, Stirling Moss makes no pretences about his love of motor racing in all its forms and in the past couple of years has been dabbling in old-car racing with a 250F Maserati and an occasional demonstration drive. He knows he could never return to Formula One, or even big-time GT racing, and views the “middle” class in the British Saloon Car Championship as about the limit of performance that he is certain he can deal with. A race-prepared Audi 80 GLE probably has the same circuit potential as a 250F Maserati or a Vanwall, with its better brakes and higher cornering potential with modern slick tyres, so he should be all right once he’s plumbed the depths of modern disc brakes and modern tyres.
This is a serious full season effort and a busy programme of testing and practice is planned to keep the team razor-sharp for the whole series. To co-ordinate everything Vic Elford has joined as Team Manager and the first appearance of Richard Lloyd and his new/old team-mate will be at Mallory Park on March 23rd.