The 1974 Stratos featured here is owned by Steve Perez, rally driver and boss of Chesterfield based Global Brands drinks distribution company. Perez is a big believer in giving his car a proper workout rather than locking it away in a museum. This car has been rebuilt for the Goodwood Festival of Speed by Castleford-based rally specialist BTR Preparation, and the bark of the Ferrari V6 will be heard on the Forest Rally Stage during the weekend in July. The origins of one of the most significant rally machines of all time lie in a concept created by coachbuilder Bertone for the 1970 Turin motor show. When Nuccio Bertone presented the wedge-shaped Stratos Zero concept, it happened to be fitted with a 1600cc Lancia Fulvia powerplant in a mid-engined configuration. Bertone’s design exercise inspired Cesare Fiorio, Lancia’s motorsport boss, to imagine a competition version of the Stratos Zero. Fiorio had already kicked around ‘ultimate rally car’ concepts with Lancia’s factory rally drivers such as Sandro Munari. In his mind, Fiorio conceived a powerful, mid-engined, rear-drive sports car. At the time, many of the unmade country roads used as rally stages on the Continent were being surfaced for the first time, so Fiorio envisioned a car that would handle well on smooth asphalt. To cope with the rough forest and desert rallies, he reckoned his dream car would need suspension that could be adjusted in less than 10 minutes. But Fiorio’s competition car would need more power. The answer lay in another part of the mighty Fiat empire, which had bought Lancia in 1969: Ferrari. Enzo Ferrari offered the use of the 2.4-litre V6 from the Ferrari Dino 246 GT. The Lancia Stratos HF broke new ground because it was the first car to be designed specifically with rally competition in mind. It was built around a steel monocoque with tubular sub-frames and clad in glassfibre body panels, and weighed less than a tonne. It also had extremely compact dimensions, at just 3708mm long, 1727mm wide and with a 2184mm wheelbase. The first win came courtesy of Sandro Munari in the Sanremo Rally of 1974 and Lancia went on to win the World Rally Championship for manufacturers each year between 1975 and 1977. About 500 road-going examples had to be built to meet rallying’s homologation rules, but with the price tag of £5000 close to that of the Ferrari Dino, the no-frills Stratos was slow to sell. Today, rally-prepared examples in mint condition fetch about £250,000.
Held at the NEC in Birmingham since January 1991, Autosport International celebrated its 28th year in 2018. This annual pre-season event covers all areas of motorsport, both professional and grass roots, from karting right up to Formula One. Featuring the very latest in motorsport, automotive and performance engineering technology, alongside cars and exhibitors from every level of motor racing, this must-attend event uniquely caters for the industry and motorsport fans alike; encompassing two trade-only days for members of the motorsport industry to meet, network and do business and two days for enthusiasts to see the fastest cars, biggest stars and most amazing live action. Incorporated with this is the Live Action Arena, the UK’s largest indoor race track and every year it provides one of the highlights of the show. Located in Hall 5 of the NEC and seating 5000 racing fans, the Live Action Arena is a unique experience. Described accurately as “petrolhead heaven” it’s an intense 60 minutes of thrilling entertainment that offers an unrivalled variety of racing action, driving demonstrations, record-breaking stunts and celebrity appearances.
A large crowd gathered at the Sheffield Arena on Saturday 6th January for the 2018 Martin Lampkin Trial to see the top trials riders in the world attempt the tough sections created by Dougie and Harry Lampkin. And tough they certainly proved to be with the big gaps and slippery going on the man-made sections causing even multi World Champion Toni Bou some problems! Joining the more established stars of the world indoor scene for the first time was 2017 Trial2 World Champion Iwan Roberts, now mounted on the TRRS machine. The normally laid back Iwan was understandably nervous before the start but gave his all in the toughest trials arena in the world, helped along by a large vocal Welsh crowd willing him on all the way. If the qualification circuit didn’t look difficult enough all of the sections were reversed for the final, with some of the undercut huge steps onto slippery surfaces looking impossible. As we are aware impossible doesn’t seem to be a word in Toni Bou’s vocabulary, his brilliance on this type of going just has to be seen to be believed. As is often the way Adam Raga pushed Toni to his best but the Repsol Honda man eventually forged a lead that even allowed him the luxury of a relatively easy failure on the Mertux section. This soft five only encouraged Bou to have another “off the record” attempt in doing the whole section on the rear wheel only .. a feat he didn’t manage but the crowd certainly got into the spirit. Not only did every rider give their all but the superb organisation by all involved made the Martin Lampkin Trial one of the best events of the year once again. Roll on 2019 !!
The 2017 edition of the CIK-FIA World Championship and the CIK-FIA World Junior Championship which has just finished on the English circuit of PF International will be remembered as an extremely difficult Competition. In the presence of a total of 181 Drivers from more than 30 countries on five continents, one would have expected the Races to be a very open. tough world championships full of surprises. Many favourites missed their target, while a new hierarchy emerged. Two Britons finally imposed themselves with unquestionable brilliance. Danny Keirle was crowned World Champion, while young Dexter Patterson won the title of World Junior Champion with great emotion. The exemplary organisation of the Trent Valley Kart Club contributed greatly to the success of the World Competition with meticulous attention to every aspect; sporting, technical, media and public. The presence of many spectators on Sunday around the circuit and during the podium ceremonies testified to the popularity of karting in Great Britain. Present at PF International on Sunday, the double F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso attended the Finals.