Driving A Kaliber Ford Sierra RS500
One of the highlights of the season is the amazing Goodwood Festival of Speed. Last year I was in Martin Birrane’s Ford C100 Group C1 car and that was a great experience. This year I was honoured to be part of the celebration of 60 Years of The British Touring Car Championship in Julian Thomas’ iconic Kaliber Ford Sierra RS500.
The car was campaigned in period by Andy Rouse and Guy Edwards. The engine had just been rebuilt showing an eye-watering 576 BHP on the dyno. RS guru Paul Linfoot and the North Yorkshire RS Spares team had been through the car from top to bottom and we were ready for the off.
This was going to be fun although there was a little trepidation due to not having driven the car and its fearsome reputation!! The first run on Friday morning went well with a relatively low boost to make sure all was running as it should. That afternoon we upped the boost and feeling comfortable in the car, gave it some welly.
Again, all was well and we re-prepped for the Saturday runs with crowds expected to be around 100,000 spectators. The RS 500 reputation is well deserved. I wanted to see what would happen when the turbo boost kicked in and I was not disappointed. In first gear and in a straight line I put the pedal to the metal.
At first very little happened and the car sort of crept forward. Then there was a great whoosh and the boost needle flicked to the max. The wheels light up and the car snaked from side to side while the rev limiter cut in. Then the tyres bit and with a roar the car shot forward. Into second gear and again when the boost came in the car rocketed forward and the rev counter needle spun to max again lighting up the rear wheels.
Into third and the same again with a hint of wheel spin near max revs. Wow!! That was exciting!! Run one went well. Run two was really exciting with boost high and feeling good I gave it plenty off the line and disappeared in a superb cloud of tyre smoke.
Shooting up the hill it was wheel spinning in 2nd and 3rd gear but with cold slicks, I was careful not to push too hard and lose one or another end not least because we are racing it this weekend at the Silverstone Classic.
Interest in the car was huge and lots of people commented that they were really pleased to see this car back out and running again having followed it in the period. Sunday morning’s run went off in a similar fashion but then we discovered a small technical issue so pulled the car to make sure it was ready for the race at Silverstone.
A huge thank you to Julian and Jade Thomas for the honour and privilege of driving this iconic Touring Car and I can’t wait to race it on the Silverstone GP circuit. The next stop is the Silverstone Classic racing Julian’s amazing collection of cars: Low drag lightweight E Type Jaguar, Ford Falcon, Ford Sierra RS500 and the Chevron B8. Another fantastic weekend in prospect. I can’t wait.
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