One of the next big things in historic racing?
The cars are, relatively speaking, good value. Even ready-to-run factory machines can cost much less to buy than cars for some historic categories (though you might not get much change from six figures). From demonstration runs at the Goodwood Members’ Meeting to crowd-pleasing races at Silverstone Classic and an HSCC-run series, the appeal of Super Touring remains strong. But what of the realities, given that spiralling costs and significant complexity killed them off back in the day?
Jonny Westbrook’s love of Super Touring cars was forged in childhood, his dad’s job at Ray Mallock inspiring his own career in motorsport. He started with a 1995 Cavalier and, having bought and sold several cars, is now restoring an ex-Rydell Volvo S40. “It’s about running the cars the way they want to be run,” he says. “I work in BTCC now and prepare my cars with the same mindset.”
Meanwhile two-time BTCC champion John Cleland has been tempted back into Super Touring cars, encouraged by his son Jamie. Together they bought Cleland’s old 1997 Vectra and have rebuilt it, learning much about the car and the support networks still in place. For instance, when Cleland Jr contacted Ohlins for help he was put through to the guy who’d set the dampers up for his dad’s car in period and still had the settings noted down.
Cleland reckons that running these cars isn’t as scary as people might think. There can be challenges – a broken suspension arm meant borrowing one before getting spares fabricated – but Cleland and Westbrook agree you don’t need a factory team budget to run them, just the discipline. And with that Super Touring cars can fly again.