My Top 10 Racing Cars Of All Time.
Written by Frazer McMenzie.
This week I thought I would share with you ten of my favourite racing cars of all time and, some of the reasons for these selections. I have based my choice on many factors, not just on outright success, because there are great cars and great drivers, but both don’t necessarily appear always in the same car. My only criteria were that all of them had to be cars for the track. However I have not included any Formula 1 or open wheel racing cars as there will be more lists to come. Please feel free to share your top 10 in the comments section below as I will be researching different cars and teams over the coming weeks and would love to hear your views.
So here they are - my ‘Top Ten’ - in reverse order.
The Alfa Romeo 155, Alfa Course Factory works Team. 1994.
The Alfa 155 driven by Gabriele Tarquini in the British Touring Car Championship in 1994 was one of the first car posters I had up on my wall as a 10 year old; Tarquini won the championship at the first attempt in an Alfa Romeo. No Italian manufacture has won the British Touring Car Championship since and I think the car still looks amazing to this day!
The Lancia 037, Martini Racing. 1982-1986.
Well to start with there is that Martini livery and the complete madness of the Group B rally cars that were outlawed by the F.I.A. Walter Röhrl and Markku Alén got first and second in the World Rally Championship in 1983. Sadly in Corsica, on the fourth stage of the rally, Attilio Bettega lost control of his Lancia and crashed into a tree which simply ruptured into the driver's seat and killed him instantly. This was the beginning of the end for Group B rally cars, Exactly one year later his former teammate Henri Toivonen and his co-pilot Sergio Cresto with the Lancia Delta S4 #4 (same number of the Bettega's car) died in a fireball accident at the same event, causing a ban for Group B.
The Porsche 917, Weyer-Gulf Team. 1969 -1973.
The car that stared in the Steve McQueen movie Le Mans, with arguably one of the most famous liveries in all of motorsport. The car was capable of 0-62 mph (100 km/h) in a time of 2.3 seconds, 0–124 mph (200 km/h) in 5.3 seconds, and a top speed of over 240 mph in the 1970's!! Madness even by today's standards. In the 1973 Can-Am series, the turbocharged version Porsche 917/30 developed 1,100 BHP. It gave Porsche its first wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1970 and 1971. The 917 is one of the most iconic sports racing cars of all time.
The Jaguar XJR-9, Tom Walkinshaw Racing. 1988-1990.
The XJR-9 was able to take victories, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, WSCC championships winner over the eleven race season and clinch another world championship for Walkinshaw Racing. Jaguar's success at Le Mans marked the first time since 1980 that Porsche had not won Le Mans, and the first Le Mans victory for Jaguar since 1957.With its closed rear wheel design it has a certain cult following, It was powered by a Jaguar 7.0-litre V12 based 5.3-litre engine used in the Jaguar XJS road car with a low-drag aerodynamic package to achieve crazy top speeds.
The Ferrari 330 P4, Ferrari Racing. 1967.
One of the rarest racing cars you will find on this list. Only four Ferrari P4-engined cars were ever made: one P3/4 and three 330 P4s. The P3/4, one of the P4s, and one 412 P electrified the racing world when they crossed the finish line first, second and third in the 1967 24 Hours of Daytona. The 330 P4 has it all in book, it has the racing heritage, its rare, only one remains in its original state, and is owned by Lawrence Stroll. It’s fast, it looks like a 1960,s Batman and should just be painted black and taken for a spin.
The Hyundai Genesis Pikes Peak, 2012. Rhys Millen Racing.
O.k. so I expect people to now have a laugh as I have a Hyundai in my top 10 racing cars of all time. Well last year on the infamous Pikes Peak International Hill Climb this Hyundai Genesis set the world record time of 9:46.164. The track measures 12.42 miles (19.99 km) over 156 turns. It is the first car ever to break the 10-minute barrier to reach the 4300-metre summit of Pikes Peak. A Garrett GTX3582 turbocharger was fitted to the Hyundai V6 engine and when you add an amazing driver, it was a great set up. I strongly advise you watch the video on YouTube.
The BMW 3.0 CSL, BMW Racing, 1973-1979.
In its seven active years on the European Touring Car Championship it won Six Championships only missing out in 1974. It has the racing calibre but the main reason it makes the list is well, it’s an amazing looking machine with the famous BMW motorsports livery. A true legend of 1970 Touring car racing that laid the path for further excellent BMW motorsport homologations.
The Ford GT40, Ford Racing, 1966 to 1969.
With this car the story is nearly as compelling as the looks of the thing. The story goes, short version, that Ford wanted to buy Ferrari. Ferrari said no! Ferrari had won at Le Mans six times in a row from 1960 to 1965. Ford wanted the sports car market that Ferrari had so Ford decided if they couldn't buy them they would have to beat them and the GT40 was born. In 1966, with Henry Ford II in attendance himself in Le Mans, the MkII GT40 provided Ford with the first overall Le Mans victory for an American manufacturer. Ford won the 24 Hours of Le Mans four consecutive times, from 1966 to 1969 and never bought Ferrari.
The Mazda 787B, Mazdaspeed, 1990-1991
The first 787 chassis made its competition debut in April 1990. Former Le Mans-winner Jacky Ickx was hired by Mazdaspeed in order to prepare the two 787s. It was not that successful, winning only one of the twenty one races it was entered in during its brief life, so why is it on the list? Well I have added a YouTube and just listen to the sound of the thing and how it corners! Unreal! And the one race it did win, the 59th 24 Hours of Le Mans beating three Jaguar XJR-12 also on the list says it all.
The Porsche 956, Factory-run Rothmans-sponsored, 1982-1984
In total, twenty-eight 956s would be built by Porsche from 1982 to 1984. The 956 holds the all-time record for the fastest vehicle ever to lap the famed Nürburgring, completing the 13 mile circuit in 6 minutes and 11 seconds set by Stefan Bellof in 1983. The race lap record is held by the same Bellof, during the 1983 1000 km Nürburgring, the lap being clocked at 6:25, I doubt it will ever be beaten! Tragically Bellof was involved in an accident in a 956 during the 1985 1000 km of Spa where he died after colliding with Jacky Ickx's newer Porsche 962. Safety concerns over the 956 led to the eventual end as teams upgraded to the safer 962.
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