TVR has been involved in motor racing since the days when it was only a fledgling sportscar manufacturer. However, unlike most car manufacturers, TVR has not just used Motorsport as part of a marketing programme. Racing is an absolutely core part of TVR’s make-up. Key components are almost always trialled in the cauldron of Motorsport before finding their way into road cars and lessons learnt on the track, especially in the sphere of aerodynamics, are applied to road car design. Such is TVR’s commitment to the sport that from Peter Wheeler down, many of TVR’s senior staff race themselves.
The early high point of TVR Motorsport was in 1962 when TVR entered three Granturas in the Le Mans 24 hours race. In the 1970s, there were a large number of works-assisted cars competing in the Prodsports championships and a 1600M won the CAV-BRSCC Prodsports series in 1979 and a 3000M won every race it was entered in and the BRDC Prodsports series in 1980. V6 and V8 engined Tasmins were campaigned with some success over the ensuing years until a 420SEAC was banned from racing in 1986 because it was too fast and was running away with every race it was entered in.
The next stage was the TVR Tuscan Challenge for which a new car was designed and built. The world's fastest one-marque race series is now into its fourteenth season and is more successful than ever. With 460 bhp in a car only weighing 860kg, the Tuscans are spectacularly fast but, with long braking distances and more power than grip, they have developed into an extremely popular race series. As many as forty-two cars have been on the grid at the same time and the championship has proved extremely successful with sponsors, competitors and spectators alike. Lancashire-based oil company Carlube announced a three year sponsorship deal guaranteeing over £50,000 a year in prize money. Television audiences all over the world have watched Steve Guglielmi win his second consecutive title in 2002 with strong competition from Andy Britnell as well as a new crop of hard chargers including Jay Shepherd, Richard Hay, Lee Caroline, Robert Urquhart and David Mason. Even bigger grids are already expected in the 2003 Carlube TVR Tuscan Challenge, the calendar for which will be published before the end of the year.
However, Tuscan racing has only been part of TVR’s Motorsport effort since the first Cerbera GT car was announced in 1994. Three versions of the Cerbera have been campaigned and all have won races. The first Cerbera GT2 used the 4.5 litre Speed Eight engine whereas the Cerbera GTO that completed the gruelling 24 hour FIA GT race at Spa in 2002 was propelled by the Speed Six engine. The third of TVR’s family of engines, the mighty 7.7 litres Speed 12 has also been used in two GT cars including the extraordinary Cerbera Speed 12 which pioneered TVR’s use of carbonfibre and aluminium honeycomb.
The biggest news of 2002 has been the T400R, previously called the Tuscan R, which has proved to be one of the most impressive of the latest generation of GT cars. Three of them have competed most successfully in the British GT Championship and TVR is currently evaluating the possibility of taking them into international competition.
The latest news is potentially just as exciting as there is already a busy racing programme planned for the new T350. Much of the design has been by directly influenced by the demands of Motorsport and negotiations are underway for three one-make race series for them overseas. Furthermore, all indications are that it will be eligible for the new Cup Class of the British GT Championship.
TVR’s brand new website at www.tvr.co.uk has a free email news subscription service and the latest updates will be available on it before they are anywhere else.Published 8 November 2002