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1971 FORD ESCORT GR2 historic Ex-British Vita Racing Team

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Ford Escort British Vita Racing Team
FORD ESCORT BVRT
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Ford Escort GR2 BVRT
Ford Escort GR2 BVRT
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Ford Escort GR2 BVRT
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The British Vita Racing Team ... The MINI debut

The British Vita Racing Team is a British team that was created in 1963 under the leadership of Reverend Rupert Jones who, in addition to his spiritual vocation, had a passion for the preparation of competition vehicles. Mini that he entered in different engine categories in England and in the Targa Florio.

 

Thanks to the success, the team is driving prestigious drivers such as Paddy Hopkirk who won the Monte-Carlo Rally in 1964 at the wheel of a MINI. In 1966, a certain John Cooper climbs in a Mini Turbo from the British Vita and is made a hell of a fright. Do not forget that the Mini explosives of the British Vita team were nicknamed the VITAMIN!

 

In 1968, it is the consecration since the British Vita becomes the factory stable of BMC which manufactured the MINIs. The cars are then entered in championships across Europe and achieve a triplet.

 
Then the FORD period

In 1969 Stuart Turner, the British Vita Competition Manager was hired by the Ford factory located in Boreham, England.

The British Vita thus falls into the fold of Ford, which wanted to promote its vehicles by deploying a major program in competition. Thus at this time, Ford supported several teams such as Broadspeed, Alan Man and the British Vita. The British Vita devoted itself to the preparation of a Ford Escort entered in the 1.3 l class. BVRT's Ford Escort immediately won at Silverstone. Ford had just hired the talented Finnish rally driver Hannu Mikola. A Ford Escort Rally powered by a 1600 cc Twin-Cam was entrusted by the factory to the BVRT with the instructions: "make it go on the racetrack": prepare it for the circuit! This Rally Escort was prepared by the BVRT and Hannu Mikola won the Saloon Car and GT category championship in the first season. Among his victories are Cadwell Park, Snetterton and Rufforth in setting a lap record….

 

In the process, Ford entrusted the BVRT with the task of developing a Zodiac V6 in order to enter it in the rally of the 3 cities which took place in Germany, Austria and Hungary ... In 1970, the partnership between Ford and the BVRT was strengthened: at the beginning of the year, Ford France entrusted the BVRT with the responsibility of preparing and following a Ford Escort Twin-Cam which will be entrusted to the French driver Jean-François Piot (whom we will find later) and his teammate Jean Todt . They will win two class victories, finishing 5th in the scratch twice. A Ford Capri 3 liters is also ordered by Ford France at BVRT.

The same year, the BVRT built at the request of the Ford factory, eight additional Ford Escorts. The British Vita built the Escorts from the hull to the specifications that made the team so successful. These Fords are factory supplied to several Teams in Holland, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland. These Competition Escorts were intended to promote the model across Northern Europe in order to increase the sales volume of the production model.

In 1971, the BVRT won many victories. Han Akersloot wins the Dutch Saloon Championship after eleven hotly contested races. His Ford Escort was developed and maintained by the team led by Jeff Goodliff within British Vita Racing. Han Akersloot wins the 1971 Dutch Saloon Championship at the wheel of the BVRT Escort. During 1971, the other BVRT Escorts ran in Belgium with Yvette Fontaine, in Holland and Germany with Alan Clegg and Joe Varley and in France with Jean-Claude Lefebvre. JC Lefebvre's car is presented here.

In 1971, Jean-Claude Lefebvre, who joined Jen-François Piot's Piot Racing team) managed to acquire a Ford Escort from the British Vita Racing Team.

The Escort delivered by the BVRT was powered by a Ford BDE 1.8 liters. It was the 1.6-liter cast iron BDA bored into 1.8 liters. The car therefore has the latest developments in the chassis. Ford was renowned for its ability to interpret the rules, which made it possible to perform on Escorts whose suspensions were built like those of the prototypes: the rear axle retains the suspension blades only in order to comply with the rules.

Jean-Claude Lefebvre therefore entered the Escort in two international races contested in Magny-Cours where he finished 3rd and in Monthléry where he retired due to engine failure.

Customs immobilize the Escort!

The Escort returns to England to be repaired. Without having paid the customs fees, the car will remain blocked for almost a year and will not return to France until 1972 with a brand new 1.8-liter BDE engine!

Jean-Claude Lefebvre was convinced by Jean-françois Piot to enter the car in a hill climb. The bonuses received with each victory should allow the team to rebuild their health from a financial point of view after the customs woes and the deprivation of Escort for many months.

From 1972 to 1975, L'Escort was involved in some thirty hill climbs.

In 1973, the car was now entrusted to the Riche Racing Team located in Belfort.

In 1974, it received a new evolution with in particular wide fenders and BBS rims. At the wheel, JC Lefebvre becomes French Mountain Champion in Group 2 Faced with competition equipped with 2-liter BDGs, the Escort is under motorized. She therefore received a BDG in 1974, but the season was already well under way and JC Lefebvre would not be able to repeat the feat of 1973.

At the end of 1974, JC Lefebvre sold the Escort to M Delerme who sold it in 1990 to M Massei. The car was acquired by M Cornillon 16 years later (2006) then by Ascott Collection in 2013.

In 1976 JC Lefebvre was hired by Peugeot where he took part in SAFARI Rallies at the wheel of a 504!

The collaboration with Jean Todt begins. JC Lefebvre will spend his entire career in the Peugeot competition department. Jean Todt and JC Lefebvre will never really "leave" because now retired from Peugeot, he works with Jean Todt at the FFSA.

 

The car was fully restored from 2010 to 2013.

A BDG 1.8 engine was first built. This restoration was documented by invoices as well as a photo file. In 2014, the construction of a Cosworth BDG 2 l engine was undertaken to replace the 1.8 l BDE in order to restore the car to its 1974 configuration and to benefit from better performance with a view to entering it in historic competition. After 43 years of absence on the circuit, the Escort of the bubbling British Vita will be back on track!

 

SOLD

 

Technical characteristics

Mark

Model

Year     

Chassis No.

Frame

Body

Motor

Power

Gearbox

Weight

: FORD

: ESCORT Group 2 of Team British Vita Racing

: 1971

: BB JG 0287 BVRT

: Monohull

: Steel and fiber 

: Cosworth BDG  2 liters (0 hours)

: 285 ch. @ 9,000 rpm (Dyno test)

: ZF 5

: 850 kg

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