Geoff Gordon’s quest to find a car that combined a passion for Alfa Romeo with Group 2 eligibility
My cars are prepared by Raceworks Motorsport, near Royston, and the team was running some of its other customers in Peter Auto’s Heritage Touring Cup. I took a look at that, quite fancied tackling it and, as I’m into Alfa Romeos, began looking for a suitable Group 2 car.
A 1979 ’Sud Sprint Veloce came up for sale in Portugal, via racecarsdirect.com, so [Raceworks director] Mike Purse and I booked a day trip to Porto to have a look. It was clearly due for a restoration and the initial sales fee was €15,000, which was probably about €20,000 once we’d purchased a few more bits. That was in February 2016.
The car was originally owned by German entrant Dieter Gleich. He had it delivered to Autodelta in February 1979 and it was prepared to compete in the European Touring Car Championship and other events. I believe it made its debut in the Nürburgring 300km that June, driven by Manfred Mohr and Georg Weber.
We’re rebuilding it to pre-82 Group 2 regulations and are restricted to using the parts Autodelta was allowed to run in period. The car raced in Gp2 spec for four seasons and was then converted so it could be used in Alfa’s one-make Trofeo Cup. It seems to have done that for a year before quietly being parked a garage. We don’t know if anything happened to it subsequently, but when it was sold to a Portuguese enthusiast in 2007 it was apparently still on Trofeo tyres and carrying Trofeo decals – as well as scrutineering stickers from the Nürburgring 300km and 1000km in ’79. Once recommissioned it competed successfully in Portuguese historic events until 2015.
After I’d bought the car it took time to get the ball rolling, because the Raceworks guys are so busy during the season that preparations didn’t start in earnest until quite late in 2016. Performance parts are relatively easy to come by – it’s the detail stuff that takes time to find, the various seals and so on.
It ran on Kugelfischer mechanical injection in period – and we have managed to find exactly the right system, which was difficult because they are quite scarce nowadays, cost a lot of money and take an enormous amount of time to set up correctly. In the first instance, then, our plan is to start off by running on carburettors…