Noted Christchurch classic saloon car racer Roger Townshend is quickly coming to terms with the reality of having his entry being accepted to compete at the famous Le Mans 24-hour classic meeting in July.
The key to the acceptance was the history of his ex works 1972 Ford Cologne Capri RS2600, a car that he bought out of Australia after buying the Fahey Capri in the mid 1980s, (a car that he is still working on). With the works Capri he has competed at many classic meetings on South Island tracks.
With another noted Christchurch racer Gary Wilkinson as his co driver, the pair now face a busy two months getting the car ready before its April shipping date.
The car has significant history and will return to Le Mans where it was first driven by German driver Dieter Glemser and Spanish co-driver Alex Soler-Roig (#52 Ford Capri 2.9 lit V6) to 11th overall and second in Class at the 1972 24 Hours of Le Mans. Later that year it went on to win the Spa 24 Hours in the hands of Jochen Mass and Hans Stuck
“Life is about passion, adventure and people. I expect this trip will be crammed full of those three things”, said Roger “ there will be 800 competitors, 8000 cars on display and 200,000 spectators”.
“ Gary and I have had many a spirited race over the years and he has been extremely generous in letting me drive his incredible Zakspeed Escort on many occasions, a privilege I will forever be grateful. Gary is extremely passionate about that era of saloon car racing and I wanted someone who was going to appreciate the experience and someone who could put the overalls on and get stuck in with me and fix it if we had too”.
The classic event is a bi annual one where each of six age group categories is programmed for three fifty- minute races over a 24 -hour period. Minute and a half pit stops are compulsory. The Townshend Capri will compete with cars from the 1972 to 1979 era and on the full 13.65km track. The start time is the traditional 4pm.