In 1989 Radio 1 DJ, the late Mike Smith, joined forces with highly respected ex-Prodrive Team Manager, Malcolm Swetnam, and top saloon driver of the day, Robb Gravett, to form 'Trakstar' a team whose sole ambition was to win the British Touring Car Championship. Robb and Mike had enjoyed prior success in both the Monroe and Uniroyal Production Saloon Car Championships, as well the BTCC, and their resourcefulness took them to Australia and the highly successful Dick Johnson racing team. Two top-spec Ford Sierras were purchased, and then put instantly to good use in the 1989 BTCC by winning the first round at Oulton Park. Their goal was to win the Championship outright and beat the other teams especially the established Rouse Engineering Ford Works team, which they very nearly achieved at their first attempt, ending the season by disputing the overall title in a courtroom drama between the MSA and Rouse Engineering (over a possible non-legal turbo charger) which the MSA lost. Thus Trakstar finished as runners-up despite several outright race wins!
For the 1990 season they focussed their efforts on one car for their lead driver Robb Gravett, with Mike supporting him at Brands Hatch and Stig Blomqvist at Donnington in the long distance two-driver races. This car, which was a new shell specified by Trakstar and prepared by Dave Cook of Yortech Fabrications, was then fitted with all new running gear. All the 'trick bits' from the previous Dick Johnson car, which included the special 'spool' type differential, Eggenberger suspension, and a Getrag 5-speed dog gearbox were utilised which, when coupled to a top-spec Mountune RS500 engine running up to 2.5 bar boost, gave them well over 500bhp on tap. Cleverly Gravett also negotiated a unique tyre contract with Yokohama tyres which the team developed and tested, and they soon became known as the best tyre available and longer wearing than the Pirellis used by Rouse Engineering, which then sealed this car's winning edge. They went on to win 9 rounds outright with 8 pole positions and 8 fastest laps and took the overall BTCC title which gave the Sierra RS500 its swansong Championship victory before the new 2-litre cars took over from 1991 and beyond, adding to the provenance of this particular car.
Silverstone Auction's will be offering this championship winning car at their upcoming Race Retro auction on the 23rd February 2018. The estimated value is between £175,000 - £220,000. For more information on this and other vehicles at the sale, click on the link below. Photos courtesy of Silverstone Auctions.