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Sierra RS500 - RS500s Reunited

The Sierra RS500 Remains One Of The Greatest Touring Cars Ever Built And We Attended A Recent Reunion Of Some Of The Best.

By Alastair Mayne, Photography by Matt Barnes

The Swiss Eggenberger Motorsport were the official Ford works team and built the famous Texaco-sponsored cars for the World Touring Car Championship. They were built at the team's headquarters in Lyss, in a multi-story building boasting an elevator large enough to carry a complete RS500 and a drawing office large enough for a full size drawing of the RS500 to be made!

The preparation of these cars was legendary, with the team's association with Ford enabling them to gather additional parts as and when they were needed. As these cars were built with 500km races in mind they supposedly had "low boost" endurance engines. However, they were also fast and reliable. The official "works" status granted them special treatment from Pirelli, whose development ensured more of the horsepower, braking and cornering forces were transmitted to the road.

In addition to building the Texaco cars, Eggenberger also provided cars for other teams around the world. The Eggenberger cars were also relatively unique for being left-hand drive, while British and Australian cars were all right-hand drive.

Andy Rouse Engineering
ARE were probably the world's biggest builder of racing RS500s and RS500 components. Team boss Andy Rouse is an experienced and successful racer, whose company built cars for himself and customers around the World. Both the Labatts and Brock cars at Donington were built by ARE.

Without the budget of the works team, ARE cars were built to a slightly lower spec, but it didn't hamper their performance, and the teams always got the best results from these cars. In fact, in 1990 the Eggenberger team sent a car to contest a few rounds of the BTCC and only beat Andy Rouse when tire failure lost him time in the pits.

Dick Johnson Racing
DJR was a successful touring car team in Australia. Headed by racer Dick Johnson, they realized the RS500 had more potential than their beloved Falcon V8 and decided to build their own. Some of the parts were similar to European teams (Eggenberger-style magnesium rear suspension, for example, rather than strengthened stock ones from ARE). Other parts were designed, built and distributed by DJR. One such part was the rear differential. It was soon apparent the standard diff wasn't strong enough, so Ford homologated the RS200 rally car's larger diff. The Australians, however, were skeptical about its strength, so they produced their own stronger unit.

DJR only raced once in the UK, in the 1988 500km Tourist Trophy. He shocked everybody by disappearing into the distance, only to retire when his (standard) water pump failed. To the annoyance of Ford, the race was won by Andy Rouse. They would have preferred the Eggenberger team to take the glory. Two DJR cars raced in the UK when the Trakstar team bought Johnson's '87 cars.

The Others
A number of other companies built cars for the BTCC. Graham Goode Racing initially bought a kit from Andy Rouse Engineernig and this formed the basis of our Listerine-sponsored '87 car, with the distinctive pink dragon on the hood. For '88-90 GGR campaigned cars built solely by us for Graham, Mike Newman and Sean Walker. Although giving the impression of large sponsorship, the cars were run on a shoestring. We still managed respectable results, however, thanks to our high standard of preparation.

Not only was Graham the first driver to win a race in an RS500 (August 1, 1987, Donington Park), he was probably the last person to win an International Group A race in one, too. He was invited to race in Malaysian rounds of the South East Asian Touring Car championship during '92-94, where he won every race but one (he finished second in that other race).

Brodie Brittan Racing was another successful UK team. Dave Brodie had his own tuning and vehicle preparation company and raced an RS500 in the BTCC when funds allowed. Despite being under-financed, Brodie produced some spectacular performances.

By Alastair Mayne
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