second-hand bargains impressed by motorsport

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Automobiles just like the Nissan GT-R have confirmed their price on the racetrack, and on the second-hand market
Whether or not it packs rally hero DNA or race observe stardust, there is a racing-derived motor for you, from £1500 up

‘Win on Sunday, promote on Monday’ at all times was once the motorsport maxim. By proving their product on the race tracks and rally phases of the world, automobile producers hoped to lure impressed patrons into their showrooms. And, to be sincere, it labored, significantly for folks such as you and me, who know there’s one thing innately satisfying about driving a automobile with real motor racing pedigree. 

Nowadays, that’s probably not the case. Most motorsport campaigns are actually as a lot a branding and advertising train as a real check of mettle and steel. Have a look at many sequence and most competing automobiles are bespoke designs aimed toward assembly very strict efficiency and funds laws. Simply look on the newest breed of WRC rally automobile or TCR tin-top for proof. The times of Group A ‘homologation specials’ have lengthy gone. 

Nicely, sure and no. Sift fastidiously by the classifieds and also you’ll discover loads of automobiles which have been touched by motorsport magic indirectly or different. Generally this leads to a automobile that’s higher to drive, typically it simply provides a little bit fascinating road cred, and typically it opens up the chance for you your self to compete. No matter you’re searching for, listed here are 14 of the highest motorsport-infused buys.

BMW 320si

Years constructed: 2005-2006 Worth now: £3500-7000

The best motorsport-infused BMW is the E30-generation M3, however with their costs now rising into six figures, these boxy slices of 1980s track-focused brilliance have gotten the protect of speculators. Nonetheless, there may be one other three Sequence that has bona fide competitors pedigree and it may be purchased for lower than the worth of a brand new metropolis automobile: the E90-generation 320si. 

It was created to win the World Touring Automobile Championship and simply 2600 examples had been made, with 500 of them coming to the UK. Beneath the bonnet is a particular, hand-built, over-square 2.Zero-litre petrol motor that options larger valves, aluminium cylinder liners and, the crowning glory, a carbonfibre cam cowl. Oh, sure. Energy is a modest 171bhp, however the 320si likes to rev. (The redline is at 7500rpm.) The usual 320i M Sport on which it was based mostly was a crisp handler, so modifications run to simply 18in alloy wheels and larger brakes. 

As a used purchase, the one actual subject is the potential cracking of these particular cylinder liners, however plenty of corporations supply repairs. So with costs beginning at round £3500, the massive query is that this: are you able to afford to not make the leap? 

One we discovered: 2006 320si with 81,000 miles, a full service historical past and a latest BMW essential vendor alternative engine. All for £5295.

Suzuki Swift Sport

Years constructed: 2006-2012 Worth now: £1500-£4000

With two Junior World Rally Championship titles to its title, the first-generation Swift Sport isn’t wanting pedigree. The wide-bodied rally automobile borrowed moderately quite a bit from the street machine, not least its motor. With cast pistons, high-lift cams and strengthened springs, the 123bhp 1.6-litre four-pot has a correctly racy character. 

All out, the automobile’s Zero-62mph time of eight.9sec is not more than, erm, swift. But it’s the automobile’s infectious urge for food for corners that actually endears. It’s additionally as powerful as outdated (racing) boots. 

One we discovered: 2007 Swift Sport, silver, 78okay miles, full historical past, latest service, 12 months MOT, £2495.

Subaru Impreza WRX

Years constructed: 2008-2012 Worth now: £3500-£18,500

Subaru’s world rallying star was on the wane when the GE-series Impreza hit the phases in 2008. But though the five-door was off the tempo and hastened the agency’s exit from the WRC, the road-going WRX spawned an efficient Group N machine, profitable the Manufacturing World Rally Championship in 2011 and quite a few nationwide titles. 

Swapping the outdated saloon styling for a hatchback shell made it much less standard with the model devoted, however which means it’s one thing of a used discount. Within the UK, we obtained the usual 227bhp WRX and a number of STi Kind UK variations, all powered by both the EJ255 or EJ257 2.5-litre flat 4 that was mated to Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel drive. 

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At as little as £3500, the WRX offers a number of bang on your buck, but it surely’s the aggressive 296bhp STi UK that delivers extra thrust, pleasure and that conventional Subaru grippy and speedy B-road tempo – when you can ignore the lifeless steering. 

What’s extra, the WRX is a sturdy machine, however look ahead to worn clutches and clonking transmissions. Crankshaft seals can leak, too. A full service historical past is crucial and be cautious of tuned examples. 

One we discovered: A privately marketed 2010 WRX STi Kind UK with 53,000 miles, absolutely stamped service guide and up to date cambelt change for £11,500.

Mercedes-AMG GT

Years constructed: 2015-present Worth now: £58,990-£190,000

Motorsport’s GT3 class has been a wealthy proving floor for sports activities automobiles, with some of the ‘inexpensive’ being the Mercedes-AMG GT. The 577bhp GT R is closest in character to the race automobile, however even the GT and GT S fashions have an honest quantity of competitors DNA. A letterbox view forward and nervy steering are demerits, however when a automobile seems and sounds this good, you shortly forgive. 

One we discovered: 2015 GT S with 28okay miles, full Mercedes service historical past and an unlimited checklist of choices, together with the carbon pack and sports activities exhaust, priced at £65,000.

Citroen DS3 Racing

Years constructed: 2011-2013 Worth now: £6000-£10,500

The Citroën DS3 R3 T was as soon as the automobile to have when you needed to win the British Rally Championship. Its road-going counterpart, the DS3 Racing, didn’t dominate the competitors in fairly the identical manner, but it surely’s quick and enjoyable and has the kudos of being developed by the identical band of engineers who produced Sébastien Loeb’s DS3 WRC. It has a 207bhp turbo 1.6, decrease and stiffer springs, a wider observe and Brembo brakes. The UK obtained simply 200. 

Fortunately, it’s a strong little factor and may value no extra to run than a regular DS3 Sport. 

One we discovered: 2013 DS3 Racing with 40okay miles, full historical past, 12-month accredited used guarantee, £8990.

Bowler Defender 110

Years constructed: 2016-present Worth now: £75,000-£84,000

Bowler is well-known within the cross nation rallying world, the place its wild, Land Rover-derived monsters are in equal components awe-inspiring and hilarious for each these driving and spectating. Much less recognised are its closely modified Bulldog Defender recreations. With the identical wide-track look, quick street suspension, large brakes and tuned 180bhp 2.2-litre diesels, these are surprisingly fast and vastly entertaining. Not low cost, however so price it. 

One we discovered: 2016 Bowler Defender 110 XS with simply 400 miles since its conversion and completed in black with Recaro seats for £74,995.

Nissan GT-R

Years constructed: 2008-present Worth now: £26,000-£145,000

In contrast to its well-known forebears, the present GT-R wasn’t initially seen as a contest machine, however over time, its on-track achievements have arguably shadowed all of the others. Whether or not it’s racing in Japanese Tremendous GT or any GT3 championship you’ll be able to consider, the GT-R has been a winner. 

Have a look at the street automobile and also you’ll seemingly surprise why. It’s an unimaginable piece of equipment, what with its twin-turbo three.7-litre V6, trick all-wheel drive and dual-clutch ’field, but it surely’s large and heavy, too. But the GT-R performs audacious, physics-defying acts that have you ever laughing out loud. 

After all, this technical witchcraft doesn’t come low cost, and though engines are powerful, early gearboxes could cause hassle. Pushed arduous, it’ll eat brakes and tyres, too. 

One we discovered: 2009 GT-R with 44okay miles and full historical past, with a lot of the work undertaken by famend specialist Litchfield. Yours for £38,000.

Renault Clio RS220 Trophy

Years constructed: 2015-present Worth now: £11,500-£14,000

Arguably not the best Renault Sport Clio, however with a flappy paddle gearbox, turbocharged engine and additional aero, it’s an in depth road-going approximation of the single-make Cup race automobile. The EDC transmission is a little bit dim-witted, however there’s some magic within the Trophy chassis. Publish-2016 facelift automobiles get fascinating extras, resembling LED headlights. 

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One we discovered: 2015 Clio RS220 Trophy with solely 11,000 miles, full historical past and a manufacturer-approved guarantee for £11,750.

Toyota Celica GT4 ST205

Years constructed: 1994-1999 Worth now: £3000-£12,000

The least profitable of Toyota’s Group A rally Celicas (and the one with the unlawful turbo), the ST205 is essentially the most wise used purchase. With 239bhp from its 2.Zero-litre turbo, it’s nonetheless fast, plus it has all of the mod cons. UK automobiles are uncommon, however there are various imports to select from. Avoid tuned examples and examine for rust and a loud transmission. 

One we discovered: 1996 Celica GT-Four with 58,000 miles, freshly imported from Japan and unmodified other than aftermarket wheels, priced at £7795.

Alfa Romeo 155

Years constructed: 1992-1998 Worth now: £1500-£7000

Stay out your Gabriele Tarquini tin-top fantasies with one of many coolest Tremendous Tourers of all of them. Broad-body variations of the 155, launched in 1995, weren’t as profitable on observe, however they’re an actual riot on the street, with partaking dealing with and a rasping twin-cam motor. This boxy Alfa is getting uncommon now, however these which are left are taken care of and surprisingly inexpensive. 

One we discovered: 1996 155 1.eight TS. Miles are excessive at 127okay, however this £4250 automobile is successfully a two-owner automobile with a binder full to bursting with historical past. 

Vauxhall VXR8

Years constructed: 2007-2017 Worth now: £12,500-£38,995

You desire a piece of some of the thrilling tin-top sequence on the planet? Then look no additional than the Vauxhall VXR8. Prise off the griffin badges and what you will have here’s a real motorsport hero within the type of the Holden VE Commodore, winner of a trio of Australian V8 Supercar crowns. 

It’s a easy beast, the Vauxhall, with a big-banger 6.Zero-litre (6.2-litre on later automobiles) V8 up entrance, rear-wheel drive and a selection of six-speed guide or auto. It might’t match European super-saloons for sophistication, however the relative crudity means put on and tear are the largest points. Higher nonetheless, the old-school method makes for a vastly entertaining, if thirsty, automobile, with its V8 bellow, pleasing dealing with and skill to unlock your internal Mark Skaife. 

One we discovered: 2009 VXR8 6.2 guide for £18,995 with 38okay miles, full historical past and in menacing metallic black. Journey laptop confirmed 15.4mpg common. Gulp!

Toyota GT86

Years constructed: 2012-present Worth now: £7995-£40,000

Rallying, one-make racing, drifting – the GT86 has completed all of it. With its simple naturally aspirated engine, guide gearbox and rear-wheel drive format, plus its relative lightness and affordability, the GT86 is a pure competitors machine, significantly at nationwide and clubman degree. Watching a CS R3 model slither by a stage is a spectating spotlight for a lot of. 

So much has been written concerning the GT86 in these pages, but it surely’s price reiterating simply what a hoot this coupé will be, serving up simply accessible pleasure with its soap-in-the-bath grip ranges and throbbing flat 4. Second-gear syncros will be weak, however the primary factor to search for is crash injury. Easy. 

One we discovered: 2013 GT86 guide with 76okay miles, full service historical past, sat-nav and a manufacturer-approved guarantee, priced at £10,495.

Mitsubishi Evo X

Years constructed: 2008-2016 Worth now: £10,995-£40,000

Mitsubishi had left the WRC far behind by the point the Evo X arrived in 2008, but it surely proved an efficient Group N automobile in quite a few nationwide championships. It’s not as viscerally thrilling as its predecessors, however the X is less complicated to stay with day after day, significantly with its six-speed SS-T dual-clutch gearbox. (A five-speed guide can also be out there.) Even customary 296bhp variations are shatteringly quick throughout the bottom and all have trademark Evo acrobatic agility. 

As for getting, a complete historical past is important and tuning mods must be handled with suspicion as a result of the 4B11T 2.Zero-litre engine isn’t as completely happy being tweaked. The AYC (automated yaw management) rear diff may give hassle. 

One we discovered: 2008 Evo X FQ300 SS-T with 80okay miles and full Mitsubishi service historical past. Yours for £11,495.

Aston Martin V12 Vantage

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Years constructed: 2009-2013 Worth now: £69,995-£200,000-plus

Now, it could be very straightforward to place any Porsche 911 GT3 right here, a automobile so tightly wrapped in motorsport custom and tech that you would virtually slap some numbers on the doorways and line up on the grid of any given sports activities automobile race. But such is the repute of this automobile that costs for all examples have headed heavenward. And it’s, properly, a bit apparent. 

The Aston V12 Vantage GT3 took its time to hit the observe, however between its debut in 2013 and its retirement final 12 months, it notched up 4 British GT titles. The street automobile lacks the racer’s wild wings, however beneath that vented bonnet beats the identical 510bhp 5.9-litre V12. It appears naughty, that massive motor squeezed into a comparatively compact shell, however in actuality it’s even higher than the recipe sounds. Sure, it’s fast and packs a howling, snarling soundtrack, but it surely’s the vastly approachable and adjustable dealing with that actually grabs you. And there’s a guide gearbox, too. It additionally seems oh-so cool: elegant, however with barely contained muscle straining to burst by the sheet steel. 

Issues? Nicely, it’s not low cost to run, however mechanically it’s stable, offered that it has been cared for. Suspension alignment will be a difficulty and examine the clutch. However that’s actually about it. 

One we discovered: 2011 V12 Vantage Carbon Version, guide, 20okay miles, complete historical past, each conceivable possibility, £74,995.


To ensure that a automobile to compete, it must be homologated, which is a reasonably simple course of as of late. For instance, the present WRC laws demand that any entry want solely be based mostly on a bodystyle of which at the least 2500 examples exist. There’s no want for the engine, transmission and aero to be inbuilt related numbers as a result of producers can successfully use bespoke parts, albeit inside strictly outlined technical guidelines. Because of this the automobiles you see on the street not often have something in frequent with their racing counterparts. 

GT3 racers will be nearer to their taxed and examined cousins, however once more there may be large scope for modification on the observe automobiles, with simply 10 competitors automobiles wanted for homologation. 

For street automobiles, the golden age of homologation was Group A, which ran from 1982 to the late 1990s. With a requirement that street and race variations be intently associated and inbuilt numbers of at the least 5000 (later 2500), the principles handled fans to fashions such because the BMW E30-era M3, Ford Sierra Cosworth, Mercedes 190E 2.three, Lancia Delta HF Integrale, Renault Clio Williams and all method of Mitsubishi Lancers and Subaru Imprezas.

What about shopping for an precise competitors automobile?

After all, to be assured a real slice of motorsport credibility, you would simply purchase a contest automobile. For uncooked driving thrills, these machines are arduous to beat, particularly when you’re searching for a observe day weapon. 

Clearly, many received’t be street registered, so that you’ll want a trailer to get it to and from occasions, however there are these with plates and a tax disc. And when you keep away from works-built automobiles with provenance and look as an alternative to clubman specials, they will also be inexpensive. 

A Caterham Academy automobile is a living proof, with costs beginning at round £10,000. We discovered a road-legal automobile for £12,500 full with all its racing add-ons and a trailer thrown in. 

Or perhaps a rally automobile is the best way to go. For £3500, you would have a front-running Nissan Micra F1000 that comes with a full cage, Avo suspension, plumbed-in extinguisher, lamp pod (how cool is that?), two units of wheels and side-exit exhaust, which is claimed to “sound sensible”. 

With both of those, you would have a hilarious weekend warrior that might go racing or rallying at little or no value.

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