British touring car dream: BTCC Nissan Primera for sale, with a Kiwi connection
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The Super Touring era of global tin-tops will go down as a prime example of the sport flying a little too close to the sun.
In a similar vein to the TCR formula of today, Super Touring was a truly global formula. Australia, Italy, Germany, America, South Africa and more had their own championships for the low-slung, 2.0-litre based racers. But none was quite as big as the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC).
At its peak there were over 10 manufacturers represented on the grid, with some of the best drivers in the world occupying each driver seat.
Sadly, as history tells us, it would all be short lived. With Formula 1 teams like Williams and TWR joining the fray with a clinical 'win at all costs' attitude, the cost of running cars quickly spiraled. They were rapid, but they were also high maintenance race cars. And by the new millennium Super Touring was on the outer worldwide.
But, those halcyon days would end up being looked upon as a high watermark for touring car racing globally. The amount of interest in these cars has never been higher, and this has led to many of the still surviving super touring cars coming up for sale — the latest being this Mallock-built 1998 Nissan Primera formerly driven by Anthony Reid listed by the UK-based Motorsport Auctions auction-house.
The No. 23 factory-backed Primera is equipped with a highly modified (to put it lightly) SR20DE four-cylinder naturally aspirated engine paired to an Xtrac six-speed sequential gearbox, sending around 240kW to its front wheels.
The P11 Primeras built by Ray Mallock were very competitive in the UK. Reid, one of the fiercest drivers on the grid, took second in the championship with this car in 1998. This Primera's sister car wound up winning the title the following year with Laurant Aiello.
Price? The handsome Nissan is listed for sale for £69,990 — or approximately $131,000.
"Following it's days racing in the UK, the car was sold to Spain where it was used in the Spanish hillclimb championship. Bought by the Dodd family in late 2012 it was extensively recommissioned and raced with success by James Dodd the following season," explains the Motorsport Auctions listing.
"Now it bares the scars (period correct) from a few season's racing but is mechanically excellent. Belts and Extinguisher are in Date and the car is ready to race."
And yes, there's a bit of a Kiwi connection here too.
Most of us who followed the BTCC at the time will know that Paul Radisich and Craig Baird flew our flag in the series for a few seasons. But there was a third New Zealander there too; expat Steve Richards.
The second-generation driver left a plumb V8 Supercars drive with Garry Rogers Motorsport to take up a job as Nissan's BTCC reserve and test driver. Had Super Touring continued on (Nissan left the building at the end of 1999), Richards' motorsport resume would probably look very different today.
Alas, by 1999 he was back in Australia with Gibson Motorsport — but not until after having spent an extensive period testing and developing this very car.
While the idea of such a car based in such a far-away land being bought by a Kiwi seems far-fetched, it really isn't. There are already quite a few Super Touring cars living in New Zealand, including another P11 Primera (formerly driven by Matt Neal).
Could be time to pair them together again...
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