Back to the future for touring car legends

Two legends of Australian motorsport were on-track at the Silverstone Classic in the UK recently.

Two legends of Australian motorsport were on-track at the Silverstone Classic in the UK recently, with four-time Australian Touring Car Champion Jim Richards behind the wheel of the famous Group C JPS BMW 635CSi.

“The car has gone through a complete metamorphosis, you could say,” Richards said. “It started out as a Group C that I drove in 1983 and 1984, and then it was turned into a Group A car. Many, many years later it was turned back into a Group C car, and we’re racing it around Australia and New Zealand.

“Now we’ve had this chance to race it at Silverstone, which is fantastic. It’s terrific to be able to take it overseas. Group C was only an Australian class, it wasn’t international like Group A, so to demonstrate it to the fans at Silverstone was a brilliant opportunity.”

Heading into the weekend, Richards wasn’t expecting to be a front-runner, given both his lack of experience at the famous British Grand Prix venue, and that he was destined to run with later, faster Super Touring cars.

“We had more people visit our pit than anyone,” Richards said. “The organisers of the event gave us the ‘Best Presented’ and ‘Car of the Meeting’, which was just fantastic. That’s what it’s about.”

In a field studded with Ford Sierra RS 500s and late-model Super Tourers from Honda and Volvo, Richards was able to qualify a respectable 17th out of 46 entries, comfortably ahead of fellow legend Englishman Steve Soper in a Group A Rover Vitesse.

The two indulged in some wheel-to-wheel action over the two races, with Richards finishing 20th and 24th respectively.