O’DONNELLS FROM DOWN SOUTH ADD HISTORIC CARS TO THEIR SHED
Two historic super-touring cars from England will soon call New Zealand home after being bought by a family in the South Island.
The cars are a Volvo S40 and a Ford Mondeo, well-known examples from the popular super touring era of international motorsport. These two factory-backed cars competed in the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC).
The S40 was campaigned by factory Volvo drivers Kelvin Burt and Rickard Rydell in 1997 and 1998, before being flown to Australia to be driven by Kiwi touring-car legend Jim Richards in the Australian Super Touring Championship. The Mondeo was the final one built by English car racing skunkworks Prodrive, and was also driven by Rydell.
After the super-touring era was dropped in the UK at the end of the year 2000 season, both cars faded into obscurity before getting back into action in the late 2000s after a renaissance of interest in the tin-top era.
The two cars have been bought by Lindsay and Scott O’Donnell, adding to the trio of super-touring racers they own.
The O’Donnells are in the UK, having transported two of their cars (an ex-Tony Longhurst Benson and Hedges BMW 318iS and an ex-Paul Radisich Ford Mondeo that won the World Touring Car Cup in the early 90s) to compete at two historic events with other super-touring machines.
Super touring, initially named Class Two, began in 1993 as a potential replacement for the Group A formula.
A number of countries, including England, Australia, Italy, America and Japan, adopted the formula.
But after an explosive bubble of success in the mid 90s, the formula faded away late in the decade as a result of spiralling costs.
The incoming Rapid Fit Mondeo is a shining example of how ludicrous costs had become by the end of the era, with a supposed cost of £1 million ($1.8m) a car when new, and a believed further cost of £3m to run the car for a full season.