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Ex-Patrick Motorsport 1981 Rover SD1

  • Ex-Patrick Motorsport 1981 Rover SD1
  • Raced in period by Brian Muir and Rad Dougall
  • Multiple race wins at the Goodwood Members’ Meeting
  • Driven in historic events by Gordon Shedden and Steve Soper

This thunderous ex-Patrick Motorsport Rover SD1 will be familiar to anyone who has followed historic racing in the past few years.

Since 2014, it has taken four individual race victories in the Gerry Marshall Trophy at the Goodwood Members’ Meeting, being driven by the likes of Chris Ward, Andrew Smith and Chris Harris, plus Touring Car ace Gordon Shedden. It has also competed at the 2015 Dix Milles Tours du Castellet in the hands of tin-top legend Steve Soper.

Along the way, this distinctive blue, white and yellow Rover SD1 has become a firm fan favourite at Goodwood in particular, where it has played such a starring role.

Patrick Motorsport ran the works British Leyland race team and had won the British Saloon Car Championship in 1978 and 1979 with Richard Longman in a Mini 1275 GT. In 1980, it moved up to the large-capacity class with a Rover SD1 for Brian Muir, then ran two cars the following year for Muir and Rad Dougall.

This particular Rover SD1 was built during 1981 as a show car, before making its race debut at the end of that season at Silverstone. It was then raced four times during 1982, starting with a fourth place for Dougall at the International Trophy meeting on 20 March. Muir then finished fifth at the British Grand Prix support race at Brands Hatch, and retired at Donington Park in August.

The Rover’s season ended with the Tourist Trophy at Silverstone, where it was driven by Muir and Win Percy but failed to finish.

Having been fully restored and race-prepared by JD Classics, this SD1 won both of the Gerry Marshall Trophy races at the 2014 Goodwood Members’ Meeting in the hands of Chris Ward and Andrew Smith. Its battles with the Longman-liveried Mini 1275 GT of Nick Swift and the Stuart Graham Chevrolet Camaro were among the highlights of the weekend.

The SD1 then took another double at the same meeting in 2017 courtesy of Ward and Gordon Shedden, who overcame great names such as Darren Turner and Emanuele Pirro.

‘I really enjoy it,’ said Shedden at the time. ‘This is purely about driving – rear-wheel drive, throwing it about, and it’s the only racing car I’ve driven with a brown velour interior…’

One of the most successful and well-known historic saloon cars of the past few years, this Rover SD1 is now being offered for sale in its distinctive Patrick Motorsport livery and would make an extremely competitive choice for anyone wanting to evoke the famous Group 1 era.

Model history

Launched in 1976 as the V8-powered 3500, the David Bache-designed Rover SD1 won the Car of the Year award in 1977. Six-cylinder versions were soon added to the range and the new model was offered with the choice of either a five-speed manual gearbox or a three-speed Borg-Warner automatic.

A 1982 facelift came with the option of a four-cylinder 2000 model, while the flagships of the SD1 line-up were the fuel-injected Vitesse and lavishly appointed Vanden Plas EFi. Production continued until 1986, when the SD1 was replaced by Rover’s new 800.

Although the roadgoing variant had received a lukewarm welcome from the motoring press, it proved to be an effective motorsport weapon in both Group 1 form and the later Group A specification. Steve Soper and René Metge took victory in 1983 Tourist Trophy at Silverstone, and Soper won that year’s British Saloon Car Championship before later being disqualified for a technical infringement.

Andy Rouse was therefore handed the title in his Alfa GTV6, but Rouse then won the following year’s title in a Vitesse, while Win Percy and Tom Walkinshaw won six rounds of the 1985 European Touring Car Championship in a car run by Walkinshaw’s TWR outfit.

Despite its size, the SD1 also made a fine rally car. Tony Pond won the Group A class of the 1985 British Rally Championship, and Austin-Rover’s Competition Department even prepared three cars for a re-run of the Peking-Paris event that, in the end, was sadly cancelled.

Eventually overtaken in racing terms by the likes of the Ford Sierra Cosworth, the SD1 nevertheless won many fans during its competition career, and even 40 years later enthusiasts still fondly recall seeing them doing battle in famous liveries such as Patrick Motorsport, Hepolite, Bastos and Industrial Control Services.

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