Run concurrently with two-litre ‘Super Tourers’ of the 1990s and early 2000s, the Silverstone Classic’s Historic Touring Car Challenge grids were boosted by the participation of Touring Car legends Steve Soper and Colin Turkington who re-enacted the great European Championship battle of the 1970s in Saturday’s opening leg of the Jet Petroleum-backed showcase.
Soper, 62, a BMW man in the latter stages of his frontline career, which also saw him excel in GT cars and sports prototypes, returned to Ford (the marque for which he finished runner-up in the 1988 British championship in a Sierra RS500), and hustled JD Classics’ sonorous Broadspeed-built ‘Cologne’ Capri to a class-winning 10th overall.
Turkington, 32, the 2009 BTCC champion and this season’s BTCC points leader, maintained his allegiance to BMW, racing John Young’s Roxwell Racing CSL, a replica of the Alexander Calder ‘Art Car’ which raced at Le Mans in ’73. So enthusiastic was the Ulsterman about the historic drive that he and his wife spent their honeymoon at Silverstone! Colin finished third in class, behind Chris Scragg’s Broadspeed Jaguar XJ12C.
Young took over the big Capri on Sunday, winning his section of the race from Sam Hancock in the BMW. The big disappointment of the ‘Tourers’ was the withdrawal of JD Classics’ Group 44 Jaguar XJS of which Gary Pearson and Chris Ward had high hopes. The mighty ex-Bob Tullius US-built machine broke its gearbox in practice, thus its European debut had to be postponed.