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Group A: The Basics and the Big Names.

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Group A: The Basics and the Big Names.

Post by AMR Garage on Wed 15 Dec 2010 - 12:31

Hope this give's everyone an idea how to build their own Group A Sierra. But there's more to it when it comes to other cars, more specifically the BMW M3...



...More to come as I delve into the Archive.


Last edited by ADx Garage on Wed 15 Dec 2010 - 13:17; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Group A: The Basics and the Big Names.

Post by AMR Garage on Wed 15 Dec 2010 - 12:46

More on Group A regs, unfortunately, it's power-to-weight, which in this day and age is very easy to get around, but here's a baby-faced Neil Crompton(!) to explain how the Group A regs affected Australian Touring Cars, and more importantly the Bathurst 1000...



...Note that Neil says "Group C" this is AUSTRALIAN Group C (early 80s Toranas and Falcons), not the Group C we all know and love.
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Re: Group A: The Basics and the Big Names.

Post by Richy59 on Wed 15 Dec 2010 - 12:50

Moved to Motorsport chat as this has nothing to do with Racing Games. I also believe there is another topic just like this that has been posted before.


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Re: Group A: The Basics and the Big Names.

Post by AMR Garage on Wed 15 Dec 2010 - 12:53

Richy59 wrote:Moved to Motorsport chat as this has nothing to do with Racing Games. I also believe there is another topic just like this that has been posted before.

If we were going to run it as a CGN then we should try and get it as close to the real deal, thats why it was in games :-S, sorry.
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Re: Group A: The Basics and the Big Names.

Post by AMR Garage on Wed 15 Dec 2010 - 12:58

Here is the > Wikipedia < explanation of Group A

This is probably the first year that the BTCC broke onto the TV Screen
look at how many different cars there are.


Last edited by ADx Garage on Wed 15 Dec 2010 - 13:18; edited 2 times in total
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Re: Group A: The Basics and the Big Names.

Post by Richy59 on Wed 15 Dec 2010 - 13:05

Don't worry about it ADx, I'm just trying to keep the place tidy.


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Re: Group A: The Basics and the Big Names.

Post by AMR Garage on Wed 15 Dec 2010 - 13:36

The Big Names:
(these will appear in no particular order)



Prodrive.
We know this team for its Sportscars, Rallying and Failed F1 Entries. But in the late 80s they were probably the first team to dominate Group A racing.

Running in a seperate class from the Ford Sierras, the less powerful BMW M3's were built by Dave Richard's minions for the likes of Frank Sytner, TV's Mike Smith, and Transatlantic Tarmac-Muncher James Weaver.

They made their start in 1987, not as a full entry but to merely test the water for the following year where, in amongst a field of Class A Sierras, the Class B M3 would win almost every single round in its class, the only other win in Class B was in a Demon Tweeks run M3 driven by Roland Ratzenberger , and with equal points given to each class win, Frank Sytner won the overall title ahead of another driver who consistantly won in his class, Phil Dowsett (Class D, compact cars such as Toyota Corollas).

At the start of 1989 there was the familiar pattern, Everyone in Class A had a Ford Sierra, everyone in Class B had a BMW M3, and again Prodrive were at the head of the class, and indeed their best finishes were in the top six overall that year, however for team mates Frank Syner and James Weaver, the start of the season was almost an on-track wresteling match, not a lot of footage of this appears online, however for the second and third rounds of the season, Frank and James would demonstrate what the future held for touring car racing, tap-and-pass...

...Sytner would be the first victim to a puncture at Silverstone in round two as he fought as hard as he could to get the win out of Weaver's hands, with James protesting to the team that "we're team mates and we shouldnt be racing like this", and with Frank suggesting to the post-race TV interviewer that "you see this sort of thing in formula fords and all the junior categories it's racing".



For round 3, Thruxton, the same happened again, only this time the table was turned, Sytner eventually got the win in another hard fought battle along a similar slipstreaming venue, but by this time the two driver's had come to an agreement, because by the end of the season, they would have to race as a team...

To Be Continued
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Re: Group A: The Basics and the Big Names.

Post by AMR Garage on Wed 15 Dec 2010 - 15:02

The Big Names (Part 2)



Vauxhall Dealer Sport.
With the likes of Ford dominating one class, and BMW dominating another, the only way to beat them was to do what they did, enter a class where there were minimal entries and userp the competition by preparing like an F1 team, and winning like an F1 team.

For the final year of Multi-Classes in the BTCC, 1989, VDS Made an entry with a Vauxhall Astra, to be driven by John Cleland, who until that time was a production-saloon driver, who in the previous year had driven a Vauxhall Carlton in the unknown Thundersaloon championship, for which he had won 2 out of the 3 seasons he competed in.

Each class in the British Touring Car regulations was seperated by engine size, where Class A was anything above 3000cc, and class B for between 2001 and 3000cc, Vauxhall's Mark 2 Astra-GTE 16-valve engine had 1800cc, It would fit neatly into Class C.



For 1989 Class C had a fairly low entry list, 2 Volkswagen Golfs and a Peugeot 309 (driven by future race winner Mike Jordan), who were made to look like club racers when 3 of Vauxhall's well-prepared machines took to tarmac on each visit, one for Cleland, one Jeremy Rossiter (father of F1 test driver and Indycar part-timer James), and one for another Scot, in the capable hands of Rally-ist Louise Aitken-Walker.

This meant that without any major errors, they had the title wrapped up before the season even begun...

...this is where we return back to Prodrive, on the back of their early-season inter-team rivalry, the two drivers would have to get their act together, otherwise they would have no chance of stealing the title off the Vauxhall under-behemoth.



James Weaver is essentially not to blame for having to fight for the title, not only did the inter-team rivalry scupper the team's title defence, but also the failiure to win at the 1-hour event at Donington Park, Weaver was out of the car when Steve Soper was involved in a collision with Dave Pinkney's Sierra (yes THAT Dave Pinkney) which left the gearbox stuck in certain gears, Sytner took the win at that round (sharing with Will Hoy).

This left Cleland with the upper hand, but at the British GP Support round he lost one of his front wheels and was out of the race. Meaning Weaver had to win each round and get fastest lap to attain the maximum points out of each round (this is getting to sound all too familiar isnt it), however Cleland had to do the same thing, he was able to get fastest lap after his puncture at Thruxton and was able to gain a much needed point.

Cleland would remain unchallenged in Class C, and nor would either of the Prodrive BMW M3s of Sytner and Weaver, with the latter taking the class wins at each round, So while the fast cars at the front had their tussles, the title battle was behind them, quite possibly confusing to the average Grandstand viewer who would get to see these great TV battles, which is what prompted the decision to change from a multi-class Group A format, to the 2-Litre "SuperTouring" format (which went from strength to...)

Cleland won the 1989 title by a single point, following Thruxton, a Flawless season by the VDS Team, who went into 1990 with a 2-Litre Cavalier to go up against the similarly presented BMW M3s (with Frank Sytner again putting up the fight to John), Never to compete in Group A again.


Last edited by AMR Garage on Sun 31 Jul 2016 - 17:46; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Group A: The Basics and the Big Names.

Post by AMR Garage on Wed 15 Dec 2010 - 21:15

The Iconic Liveries of Group A

Karl Jones of Wales in the Duckhams backed Asquith Sierra

Canadian Lager Labatt's backing, occasionally with the words "DONT DRINK AND DRIVE" on the side of the 1989 Machine as seen at the top of the thread.


The Calsonic livery, before the headdy days of JGTC. Was paraded on the Group A version of the machine when it was a complete sledgehammer in the Japanese Touring Car Championship, it would also compete against several DTM spec machines in the early 90s at Macao

Watch out for more Iconic liveries...
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Re: Group A: The Basics and the Big Names.

Post by AMR Garage on Wed 15 Dec 2010 - 21:39

M3 Runners: Want some Livery ideas?









Maybe you want to give a 1992 Toyota Supra a runout...





Dare you enter a Lotus Carlton, you could always pass it off as one of Brocky's Commodoores.



Oop look out, more M3 goodness.



I'm still looking.... watch this space...
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Re: Group A: The Basics and the Big Names.

Post by AMR Garage on Wed 15 Dec 2010 - 21:41



ALPINA!!!
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Re: Group A: The Basics and the Big Names.

Post by AMR Garage on Wed 15 Dec 2010 - 21:45


The 1991 AMG Merc, as we've probably all seen from GT4.

Oberndorfer
Opel Manta, use a Lotus Carlton, It's a good livery despite the alcohol.

Volker Strycek, manager of the Opel DTM team in the 2000s, and just like the recent years, the car looked great but the performances were rubbish.
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British Touring Cars 1989 - Round 5 - Thruxton

Post by AMR Garage on Wed 15 Dec 2010 - 22:37

Ladies and Gentlemen, Prepare yourselfes, you may need towels.

Ignore the uploader's excitement in mistyping the year 1989 into what this video is, it's round 5 of the 1989 British Touring Car Championship.

For round 3 it was won overall by a man called Dave Brodie, a driver akin to Andy Rouse, someone who would turn up with a car they prepared THEMSELVES, back in this day most of the teams were also privateers, and would do their utmost to defeat the better supported combatants, maybe even so far as cheating, Dave was accused of winning round 3 on "Illegal fuel", and for the returning round at thruxton, and with the BBC Grandstant TV cameras present, he was not impressed, if truth was a renewable energy source, Dave Brodie would be the generator.

He was on pole position for this race, and so was Murray Walker by the sound of things.

Apologies: Did not know this embedded video contained advertising, if incountered please disregard

1988 BTCC race Thruxton
Uploaded by menanzi. - Dramatic race and crash videos.
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Re: Group A: The Basics and the Big Names.

Post by LMR DarthMario on Wed 15 Dec 2010 - 23:24

That Vauxhall hatchback reminds me highly of a Pontiac sold here State-side. cannot remember the name though

edit: Pontiac LeMans. hmm...
2nd edit: i remember the car well from my freshman year in high school. during my time in the Automotive shop (went to a tech school), i had to change and alternator and rotate the tires.




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Re: Group A: The Basics and the Big Names.

Post by ckBrenneke on Wed 15 Dec 2010 - 23:43

Great work on this thread mate, cracking good read!
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Re: Group A: The Basics and the Big Names.

Post by AMR Garage on Wed 15 Dec 2010 - 23:45


Onbord Mit........German Driver.

It's hard to tell if Late 80s German Touring Cars was completely Group A, but they certainly look close enough.
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Re: Group A: The Basics and the Big Names.

Post by AMR Garage on Wed 15 Dec 2010 - 23:50


Group A Early years, we could probably recreate this one too.
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Re: Group A: The Basics and the Big Names.

Post by AMR Garage on Thu 16 Dec 2010 - 0:17

It wont let me embed this one, probably for the best.

The Last Sighting of Group A, 1993 Japan, an obvious Skyline washout, with several familiar looking vehicles.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9TRupv4vi9U
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1989 Macao Guia Race

Post by AMR Garage on Thu 16 Dec 2010 - 0:23

Back when PROPER Touring Cars took to the mean streets of Macao.
Back when the startline was halfway down the fastest part of the circuit.
An International Mix.


BTW Is that Graham Tyler?
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Re: Group A: The Basics and the Big Names.

Post by AMR Garage on Thu 16 Dec 2010 - 0:49

1988 The Breakthrough Year for the Group A BTCC.

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Re: Group A: The Basics and the Big Names.

Post by AMR Garage on Thu 16 Dec 2010 - 9:53

Frank De Jong's European Touring Car website is a vast archive, from the very beginnings of this Endurance based series, all the way to the demise of Group A...

http://homepage.mac.com/frank_de_jong/Pages/epilogue.html

...and this, how the world of racing dealt with its departure.
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Re: Group A: The Basics and the Big Names.

Post by AMR Garage on Thu 16 Dec 2010 - 10:49

The Big Names: The Drivers
Andy Rouse



Prodrive were probably the biggest group of people to dominate the late-80s British touring car championships, Andy Rouse is probably better than that, Single-Handedly Dominating it, as a driver AND race engineer, for the most part in Ford Sierras. Also Built Sierras for the likes of Rob Gravett and Tim Harvey during that time.

Tom Walkinshaw


Another of the Great Engineer-Drivers, Not known for his BTCC outings, but for his efforts in the European Touring Car Championships of the 80s including the Spa 24 Hours with the Iconic Jaguar XJ-Ss, and Rover Vitesses. He was giiven a keen reception in Australia when given control of a works Holden team in 1988.

Roberto Ravaglia


To BTCC viewers he is known as the occasional BMW Stand-In driver, one full season in 1996 though, but more emphatically known at Schnitzer racing for winning the Only "World" Touring Car championship in 1987, which was sandwiched by winning the 1986 and 1988 European versions.
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Re: Group A: The Basics and the Big Names.

Post by nickyf1 on Thu 16 Dec 2010 - 15:44

Not to mention drivers like Dick Johnson, Peter Brock, Alan Grice etc.. In the ATCC Smile
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Re: Group A: The Basics and the Big Names.

Post by AMR Garage on Fri 17 Dec 2010 - 1:06

nickyf1 wrote:Not to mention drivers like Dick Johnson, Peter Brock, Alan Grice etc.. In the ATCC Smile

If you give me a chance to get round to it Razz.
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Re: Group A: The Basics and the Big Names.

Post by AMR Garage on Fri 17 Dec 2010 - 17:31

The Big Names

Peter Brock and Group-A



His Legacy

Peter Brock will always be the first name out of every Australian racing buff's lips whenever you say the words "Australian Touring Car Championship", or even the first syllable of Bathurst, the man will always remain an ultimate legend. However his many victories around Mount Panorama were in the Australian "Group C" Regulations, an almost "redneck" mix of Holden Toranas, Cheverolet Camaros, Ford Falcons, and other V8 based machinery, by 1984 Peter Brock had this way of thinking down to a T, and much like the importance of a Le Mans to a World Sportscar Championship, winning Bathurst was more important, 3 ATCC's to his name by the time of the arrival of the Group A regulations, and 8 times defeating the mountain.
________________________________________



Globalisation

Group A was promoted in Australia as an aid to bring more manufacturers to the land down under, originally frowned upon by the locals, much in the same way a new manufacturer turning up in the current V8 Supercar regulations would, alongside the almost holy Holdens and Fords would be, Alfas, BMWs, Jaguars, Mazdas, Mitsubishis, Rovers, Toyotas, Volvos, and even one mere Triumph Dolomite. Australia's favourites now had a whole world to race against on the mountain. Jaguar's classic XJ-S won the 1985 edition of the Bathurst 1000, infront of Channel 7's blueprint for racing on TV.
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Stick to your guns.

The rule changes did not err Brock away from running a Holden, by the time he made more than a name for himself, Holden depended on Brock's Holden Dealership Team to build the factory racing versions of each touring car entry, much in the same way ABT and Joest are trusted to run the Audi racing repertoire, but his chances of victory were slimmed down thanks to the arrival of the world's greatest teams.
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You can't please everyone

Jim Richards (a New Zelander) had the first ATCC group A season in the palm of his hand at the wheel of a BMW, not a good sight for the typical aussie racefan of the time, who were probably wanting to return to the v8 way, Robbie Francevic may have won the 1986 Championship in a Volvo, however they were pleased when in 1986 Allan Grice and Graeme Bailey won the Bathurst event in a Holden, but there were to be dark times ahead...
________________________________________



The World comes to Bathurst

1987, the Turbocharged Ford Sierra Cosworth had arrived, and also an FIA backed World Championship for these cars were going to take to the Mount Panorama Tarmac for the first time, by this point Jim Richards had switched from a 635 to an M3, Nissan had also begun to make their mark on the series by bringing the Skyline to George Fury and Glenn Seton's team, winning races, but their domination lay in the future, Dick Johnson was furnished with Cosworth's "Goliath".

Peter had to compete in his Commodoore for the 1987 edition of the Bathurst 1000, up against the Eggenberger Sierras and Scnitzer BMWs aswell as the domestic bunch. A race which the Texaco backed Sierra was first across the line, driven by Steve Soper and Pierre Dieudonne, they were also able to get their second car to finish behind them (the Klauses, Ludwig and Niedzweidz), Brock was able to finish 3rd, sharing with Kevin McLeod and Dave "Skippy" Parsons. But there was more complications around the corner.
________________________________________



Polarization

It says in wikipedia:

"Brock began publicly supporting and, eventually, began to fit to all Holden Dealer Team specials a device called the 'Energy Polariser' containing crystals and magnets that, it was claimed, improved the performance and handling of vehicles through 'aligning the molecules'. "

The (quite possibly large) Majority of Australian motorsport were under the assumption that this device wasn't going to work, Holden were threatening to pull out any links with Brock's HDT, there is no evidence of Brock running this device on his racing cars, but building the "HDT Director" concept car as early as 1986 against the wishes of the Holden Motor Company, his public promotion of what the GM linked manufacturer branded a "pseudoscience" had finally stretched their patience, and by the end of 1987 his Holden links were completely severed. Holden's works campaign was handed to Tom Walkinshaw.
________________________________________



The Sham (of winning under appeal)

The great thing about Peter's 9th Bathurst win, it was not won in the October of the previous year, but sometime into 1988 in a boardroom in Paris.

Eggenberger's 1-2 was completely overturned by the race organisers at the Mount Panorama venues, their front-wheel-arch guards were "illegally modified" wich "allowed the team to race on taller tyres", Rudi Eggenberger appealed this, but the FIA said "non", Brock now had 9 Bathursts to his name. But was about to baffle the Australian racing fan by running a BMW M3 for the 1988 Australian season, but was to not yet "sell his soul"...
________________________________________



Brock in a Sierra(!)

The switch from Red (Holden) to Blue (Ford) The ultimate sin for anyone in Australian Touring Cars, to this day, the likes of Craig Lowndes, Russel Ingall and Jason Bargwanna have made the switch and have been shunned by Holdenites for doing so, for 1989 and 1990 Brock would be running a Sierra prepared by none other than Andy Rouse, only 2 wins during this time, and despite getting Pole Position for the 1989 edition, his Bathurst efforts were foiled, and alongside the Polarizer affair, most Australians tend to gloss over these issues of the past.
________________________________________



All is forgiven.

For 1991 Brock and Holden had dealt with their differences of racing opinion, and much like any long relationship, they had their "break" and were back together again. But by this time the Australian Touring Car competition was dwindling, Ford were still supplying a "foreign" Sierra to Dick Johnson and Peter Jackson Racing, BMW were giving Frank Gardiner's team their best pieces of machinery outside of the DTM, and Nissan's works effort, fronted by Jim Richards and Mark Skaife, were blitzing the opposition with what were able to build to get around the Group A regulations. A 4 Cylinder twin-turbocharged, four wheel drive, four wheel steer GT-R which was pretty much outlawed by every other national championship outside of Japan. Holden and Indeed Brock were nowhere near the front.
________________________________________



1992 - The End

3 Nissan GT-Rs, 4 Ford Sierras, 2 Holden Commodoores, and 3 BMWs, 12 Major entrants, 4 of which were likely to be at the front at all times, Tom Walkinshaw's HRT team would only do 3 races that year in order to point their funds towards a more competitive car for 1993, the occasional privateer would turn up, but only to their nearby circuits.

The organisers of the Australian Touring Car Championship had to do something, handicapping the majority of the front runners in varying ways, the Holden cars got off lightly, but it was still not enough, Brock may have won the first race of the first round, but the Nissan's eventually put their hard earned stranglehold on the title yet again, and the same at Bathurst.
________________________________________



Pre-93 - The Future

After the final round of the Australian Touring Car championship, Brock was granted use of one of the new 5-Litre V8 Monsters that Tom Walkinshaw's factory were able to create, they went to Bathurst in a positive mood, only to have a clutch failure as the lights turned green.

There was one more race to compete in, a non-championship round supporting the Australian Grand Prix at Adelaide, a bout between the future of Australia's premiere national racing championship, and what was the shattered remains of the world of Group A racing.

Peter Brock, in the eyes of the Australian Racing follower, remained a legend.

Videos

Brock, Bathurst, 1985, In amongst a Group-A Global Deluge


Brock, The Director, and Putting up a fight to Holden's Ideals


Brock and an M3, an odd sight around the "GP" Layout of Sandown Park, Melbourne.


Brock's 1989 Bathurst Qualifying Lap, In a Sierra.

Note: one of the commentators can not help avoid saying "Brock in the zero-five mobil commodoore"

Does exactly what it yadda yadda yadda
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