Silverstone Classic brought together BTCC legends of past and present to celebrate 60 years of the sport. Here are our favourites
The British Touring Car Championship has been wowing crowds for six decades now. Unlike other unattainable forms of motorsport, these four-wheeled heroes are based on the cars people take to the supermarket or put dogs in.
'Win on Sunday, sell on Monday' is the ethos that has powered this category for 60 years. Here are some of the greatest cars to compete in BTCC.
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Austin 105 Westminster
This is genesis! This Austin is the very first British Touring winner and in 1958 it not only took 'gentleman' Jack Sears to victory, but also home again! Back there there were two classes, a high and low tier. The Austin ended up drawing with the more powerful Jaguar of Tommy Sopwith in the upper class, and so a shootout was decided as the fairest way to crown a winner. Astonishingly the Westminster beat the big bad Jag to take the title.
The Jaguar Mk1 is arguably the classic BTCC car thanks to its total domination in period. This Coombs car was run by a dealership and featured this iconic 'BUY 1' registration. Roy Salvadori, Dan Gurney, Colin Chapman, Mike Salmon, and Graham Hill all piloted a Coombs Mk1.
George 'Doc' Shepherd won the 1960 title in this little Austin A40. The 948cc engine was heavily tuned for competition to convincingly win with six class victories.
Lotus Cortina Mk2
The Mk1 Cortina was a huge success in motorsport and so Team Lotus built a trio of Mk2s for Graham Hill and Jacky Ickx to race in the 1967 British Touring Car Championship. This is the last surviving car, although not in its original white and green livery.
The Escort was the epitome of a BTCC car. Almost every public car park contained one, but here it was fighting for victories on TV. Frank Gardener won the championship in 1968 in this twin-cam Escort wearing the vivid red and gold Alan Mann livery. It features swollen wheelarches to accommodate wider tyres.
When the muscle cars arrived in BTCC they trampled all over more modest British opposition. The Group 1 Camaro Z28 is one such car that took win after win in the mid-70s.
BMW 3 Series
After the muscle cars moved out of the sport, the German saloons moved in. The BMW 3-series is one of the most recognisable with its round headlights and boxy shape. It was a regular winner in Group A during the late 80s.
Volvo 850 Estate
It wasn’t a particularly successful racing car, but the Volvo 850 was a real fan favourite. To see an estate car hurling itself around the UK’s famed circuits was pure entertainment. Sadly the 850 Estate was quickly replaced by a saloon after it its body shape failed to yield an advantage — but it lives on in the hearts of BTCC fans.
Honda has been a serious player in BTCC for a long time now, with plenty of silverware in the brand’s trophy cabinet. The Civic model has over 100 victories to its name making it the most successful car in BTCC history.
Subaru weren’t the first to revive the estate bodied car in BTCC, but the Levorg’s boxer engine does give it an innate weight distribution advantage. Today this estate-only model is the current BTCC champion.