The Capri was launched in 1969 as the European counterpart to the wildly popular Mustang in the USA. Ford had been using motor racing as their main marketing tool throughout the sixties and it came as no surprise that Jochen Neerpasch, head of the Motorsport Department in Cologne, was delegated to turn the Capri into a race winning car.
For 1974 Ford Cologne built 1,000 examples of the new Capri RS3100, the minimum required for Gp 2 homologation and as only 100 cylinder heads needed to be produced Ford commissioned Cosworth to design and build 100 full race engines utilising the production block. This became the legendary Cosworth GAA used not only for the Capris but also successful in single seaters, the 3.4 litre V6 engine being very competitive against the 5 litre V8s in Formula 5000. With over 400 bhp and some fairly extreme aerodynamics for the day Ford duly won the 1974 European Touring Car Championship against opposition from the BMW Batmobiles.
In late ’73 chassis GAECNA 19997 was laid down, the first RS3100 built by Ford Cologne, and made its race debut at the Zandvoort round of the ETCC and was driven to victory by Jochen Mass and Rolf Stommelen.
The next outings for ‘19997’ were the DRM at Hockenheim in August where Klaus Ludwig won and the Norisring in September where Niki Lauda finished 6th.
Back in the ETCC at Jarama for the 4 Hours ‘19997’ racked up another victory in the hands of Hans Heyer, Klaus Ludwig and Toine Hezemans.
That’s two victories out of two starts in the 1974 ETCC, the only ones scored by a Capri making it the hero of Ford’s victorious European Touring Car Championship. Added to the one victory from two starts in the DRM probably makes chassis ‘GAECNA19997’ the most successful top-flight car in the fiercely competitive touring car arena of that year.
The fifth and last race for ‘19997’ as a works Cologne car was in South Africa for the Kyalami 9 Hours, confusingly run as a 6 hour race in ’74. Up against out & out Group
5 race cars ‘19997’ finished 5th overall winning Group 2 and beating all the GT cars.
In 1987 ‘19997’ was acquired by Tom Walkinshaw for display at TWR's Headquarters. Following Mr Walkinshaw's acquisition of the Arrows F1 Team and its subsequent financial demise, the car formed part of the auction of TWR/Arrows assets in 2003 and was bought by Bryce Banatyne who re-commissioned the car and raced it in the USA.
Shaun Lynn, historic racer and Ford enthusiast purchased ‘19997’ and brought it back to the UK and had Moto Historics prepare it for selected outings at elite historic events becoming a firm favourite at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
There is a spares package with the car including a new Cosworth GAA motor.
This car forms an important link in the history of Ford Motorsport. The on track battles between the Cologne Capris and BMW CSL's around Europe in the 1970s is motor sport folklore.