5 July 2023, Banbury, UK. Prodrive is bringing three of its iconic World Rally Championship cars to the Goodwood ‘Festival of Speed’ where three generations of the McRae family, Jimmy, Alister and Max will be driving up the iconic hill in cars from the Prodrive Heritage Collection as part of the event’s WRC 50th Anniversary celebrations.
Joining the 60 strong field of WRC rally cars that will represent the championship’s half century will be the 1981 World Rally Championship-winning Ford Escort RS1800 MkII; the Subaru Impreza Group A from 1996 and the 2011 MINI Countryman WRC.
Three generations of legendary Scottish rallying family will be joining Prodrive at this year’s Festival of Speed. Jimmy McRae will drive the 2011 Mini Countryman WRC, while Alister McRae and his son, Max, will take turns behind the wheel of brother Colin’s 1996 Rally Catalunya-winning Impreza Group A. David Lapworth (R&D Director, Prodrive) and Paul Howarth (Ex-Aston Martin Racing Team Principal) will share the driving duties of the Escort that Ari Vatanen and David Richards won the WRC 42 years ago.
Prodrive Chairman, David Richards, said:
The Festival of Speed is a unique event on the motorsport calendar and one that I look forward to each year. The paddock has a wonderful atmosphere where fans can get close to their heroes and nearby on the hill they can see their cars in action. I am delighted that the McRae family will be joining us once again as we celebrate a small selection of our cars that represent Prodrive’s successes in the World Rally Championship over the decades.
Jimmy McRae adds,
It is a pleasure for the McRae Family to be involved with Prodrive again. It is just a pity that they are not involved in a current WRC programme as I would be knocking on David’s door offering him the third-generation driver!
The trio of cars from the Prodrive Heritage Collection will be situated in the WRC 50th Anniversary display in the Cathedral Paddock to the left of Goodwood House on the location map.
Prodrive’s 2023 Festival of Speed Entries:
1981 Ford Escort RS1800 MkII (Vatanen/Richards) – driven by David Lapworth and Paul Howarth
DKP 191T was driven by Ari Vatanen and co-driven by David Richards in the 1981 World Rally Championship. The pair won the WRC title for Ford that year. This particular chassis competed in three events: The Acropolis, the Thousand Lakes in Finland and San Remo, winning the first two.
1996 Subaru Impreza Group A (Colin McRae) – driven by Alister and Max McRae
This Subaru Impreza Group A car was driven to victory by Colin McRae in the 1996 Rallye Catalunya. His victory ensured Subaru clinched its second consecutive manufacturers’ World Rally Championship title, but unfortunately was not enough to enable the reigning World Champion to clinch his second drivers’ title.
As well as this being the last ever rally for the Impreza Group A, which was superseded by the new ‘World Rally Car’ in 1997, this was also the last event in which Colin McRae was co-driven by Derek Ringer, a partnership which had started in 1991 when they won the British Rally Championship together.
2011 MINI Countryman WRC (Dani Sordo) – driven by Jimmy McRae
In 2009, Prodrive set about developing a generic design for new World Rally Car regulations that were changing in 2011. At that point, Prodrive did not have a particular car in mind, and when the company discovered that MINI was launching a new car called the Countryman that would meet the regulations’ new criteria, the MINI Countryman WRC was born.
The car was immediately competitive with Kris Meeke and Dani Sordo debuting the car on Rally Italy in Sardinia in 2011. Further podiums followed in France (narrowly missing the win), Germany and then at Monte Carlo in 2012, which was to be the car’s last outing as a full works programme.
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NOTES TO EDITORS
About David Lapworth, R&D Director, Prodrive Motorsport
David Lapworth is one of the world's most respected rally engineers. In more than three decades at Prodrive he has engineered world championship-winning cars for Colin McRae, Richard Burns and Petter Solberg. He works closely with the engineering teams bringing invaluable experience and sits on a number of regulatory committees.
About Paul Howarth
Paul Howarth joined Prodrive 34 years ago. Within days he was working as a technician on Marc Duez's BMW M3 at the Circuit de Ardennes rally which would become Prodrive's 50th event win. Over 18 years with the Subaru World Rally Team, Paul worked with drivers Colin McRae, Richard Burns, Tommi Makinen, Carlos Sainz and Petter Solberg. He was also involved in the MINI WRC programme; Subaru's record-breaking attempts; the GCK RX programme and was team principal of Aston Martin Racing.
Prodrive is one of the world’s largest and most successful motorsport and technology businesses. Over 500 staff are employed across its Banbury headquarters and composites manufacturing facility in Milton Keynes. While the company is perhaps best known for motorsport, today it is just one part of an organisation that in the last decade has diversified to become a technology business working in a range of sectors and providing a range of services. Within the Prodrive Group, there are four distinct but interconnected business areas: Motorsport, operating race and rally programmes for vehicle manufacturers and global brands; Advanced Technology, providing innovative technology for the automotive, aerospace, defence, and marine sectors; Composites, developing lightweight composite components for the automotive, aerospace and marine sectors; and Brand& developing bespoke clothing and accessories for leading brands.