The best BTCC car ever: PH Blog

Alright, so perhaps that title is a little misleading. I'm not especially interested in the most successful British Touring Car Championship car of all time - though bonus points if you know what it is - but I would really like to discuss PH's favourites. Because, well, it's a great series with a fantastic history and, most importantly, some really cool tin-top racing cars.

No prizes for who Matt was supporting here
No prizes for who Matt was supporting here
Why now? Well the BTCC turns 60 this year, the first race for the 1958 season having taken place on Boxing Day 1957. So consider us in a premature celebratory mood. Or the more cynical might suggest I've been watching too many classic touring car vids on work time and should generate something from it.

My favourites? Naturally, there are quite a few. I was born in 1990, so I can remember getting into BTCC at the end of Super Touring; Rickard Rydell's 1998 championship winning year is a vague memory, the 1999 season the one I first followed avidly on Grandstand. That was a good year, wasn't it? Matt Neal winning a race as an independent for the first time, Laurent Aiello strolling in and taking the championship, the controversy with Rydell and Anthony Reid...

There were of course some fantastic cars from back then, cars that became even more exciting when I later learned just how special they really were. I loved the Volvo S40, not simply because my favourite driver was in it but because, even at eight or nine, I could tell it was making a different noise. A noise I liked, that I thought was interesting. A five-cylinder noise, of course. Same with the Mondeos actually - see here for just how good 8,500rpm 2.0-litre V6s sound.

Let's call the early 2000s different, shall we?
Let's call the early 2000s different, shall we?
I enjoyed the immediate post-Super Touring era as well, even if it's not cool to admit as much. I still think the 406 Coupes look great, the MG ZS appealed because of the noise (again), the flame livery (I was 11) and Team Atomic Kitten (again, I was 11), plus Norman Simon's Production Class 3 Series was welcome to someone who had missed the E36 Super Touring era.

It continued, too: the cars may not have been as exotic as they had been, but having a Honda Integra in the BTCC certainly appealed to the Gran Turismo-playing, JDM nerd I was becoming, and the racing was still super close. Is it bad to concede a fondness for the SEAT Toledos and Vauxhall Vectras as well? As more alternative bodystyles entered, so I latched on more to the traditional shapes.

If there has to be one, Matt says it's this - you?
If there has to be one, Matt says it's this - you?
Anyway, I'm waffling and could continue to. We've not even mentioned Sierras yet... My favourite BTCC car, helped massively by watching old touring cars at Goodwood and online, is the Rover SD1. No, seriously. I love an incongruous touring car, one that looks like it shouldn't be on a track, so the Rover certainly qualifies for that. I especially love an incongruous touring car achieves something, which the SD1 did - Andy Rouse won the championship in 1984, with the TWR team having won races earlier in the decade. More than all of those factors though I love how the Rover looks, how it sounds and how it races: it slithers and slides around, the driver controlling things with their hands, feet and manual gearbox. It's incredible to watch, as are so many cars of that era. There's a separate discussion to have another time about the spectacle of motorsport, but I'll leave that for now.

So the Rover SD1 is my favourite car to have competed in British Touring Car Championship. That almost sounds like a confession. Now over to you...







[Sources: AROnline,, images from LAT]


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  • DeolTheBeast 09 Aug 2017

    Or the Biela A4

  • AndySA 09 Aug 2017

    For no other reason other than for some reason I always have mine is the P11 Nissan Primera of the 1990's. Might be as it was such a boring looking unloved thing in standard form and yet was surprisingly successful, also created a lot of the legend around the SR20 engine.

  • 99dndd 09 Aug 2017

    Mid 90s Laguna. Because my dad had one.

  • Dave Hedgehog 09 Aug 2017

    they came, they conquered, they got 4wd banned smile

  • TobyLerone 09 Aug 2017

    Two choices for me.

    The Old Spice Alfa 155

    Or the 850 Volvo estate

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