By Mike Atwal
22nd August 2019

Motorsport Heritage on a Budget

There are some big ticket cars out there that carry immense motorsport heritage. For example, the Jaguar D Type sits near the top of the tree already, and the BMW E30 is climbing that tree quickly too.

Not everybody can entertain a big ticket item these days, but if like me you fancy owning a future classic with some motorsport clout behind it, minus the big ticket entry fee, then stay with me on this.

If you’ve got 1500 to 3000 lovely British pounds to play with I would suggest scouting out some of the familiar faces from the British Touring Car Championship from the late 1990’s – specifically a 1999 Nissan Primera P11 GTLE.

The Primera in the hands of the factory team, piloted by the late David Leslie and Laurent Aiello in 1999 stormed to a one-two drivers championship finish, wrapped up the manufacturers title early on in the season and simply dominated the shop. It would be criminal not to mention that Anthony Reid hustled the race Primera to second place in the 1998 championship, it was literally down to wire with Rickard Rydell in the punchy Volvo. I would say he put the car on the radar. The Primera was so good that independent outfit Team Dynamics, with Matt Neal behind the wheel were running rings round some of the other factory teams too. It is a cracking car with a rev happy bulletproof SR20DE motor boasting 150 horses, a superb chassis and is ageing nicely. The GTLE model I mention, sported upgrades over the standard GT to celebrate Nissan’s success in BTCC – namely 16 inch Enkei multi spoke alloys, full leather interior and a Momo gear knob. They are increasingly rare and values are slowly on the up. I had one for many years and regret selling it to be honest.

It is however, just one of the handful that can provide super saloon racing nostalgia for roughly the same outlay. A Ford Mondeo ST200, Vectra GSi and Volvo S40 T4 from the late 1990’s proudly displayed the names of the late Will Hoy, John Cleland and Rickard Rydell on track. All three legends of the motorsport world. The Renault Laguna I believe may have introduced a young Jason Plato to the BTCC field, alongside famous racer Alain Menu and let’s not forget the Honda Accord…namely the Type R.

The E30 M3 and Ford Sierra Cosworth that gave BTCC fans thrills during the 1980’s are now significant sums. Perhaps the BTCC legends of the 1990’s will follow the same path?

Maybe it is worth a punt. They do seem to be bargains. With four doors. Practical too. And increasingly hard to find for sale.

What do you think – someone please agree with me 🙂