European Touring Car Championship

Changes - 1976 index

After the 1970-1975 period, Touring Car racing needed a big revise; the 1970-1973 period was more or less healthy, but the last two years were a disaster.
(Semi) privateers would need a cheaper european championship; works teams got their own World Championship. But after the 1974 Oil Crisis, Ford was the first to quit; no Group 5 racing with a Capri or GT70 in 1976. BMW, after its IMSA adventures, made a half-hearted attempt, with atmo and turbo CSL's - a car really at the end of its development and not even in production at the time. The 320 was developed in the mean time, but only for the small class. Porsche was the only serious contender; Lancia only entered the frame when Porsche, at least factory-wise, had withdrawn. But this was group 5.
Group 2/76 was just as disappointing. No works cars - apart from Jaguar, who shouldn't have chosen this privateer championship to start with - though they were believed to move to Group 5 after dominating the ETCC. But they only contested the last 1976 race - with a predictable result. Another setback was that Britain stuck to Group 1b and Germany postponed the inevitable by allowing old group 2 cars to their national championship. Therefore, two large nations had no national group 2 championship.
But what teams did take part, in the four divisions of 1976?
Belgian team Luigi racing, fresh from back-to-back Spa 24h victories. Still racing the obsolete BMW CSL's, the main contender for overall victories and the over 3000 cc class. The occasional Camaro or aged Mustang couldn't challenge Luigi at all; but a rival BMW took away the Spa 24h - painful.
The next class, 2000-3000 cc, was a joke. Perhaps FIA thought that Commodores or Capri's would take part; but they didn't. In the next class, 1300-2000 cc,
Zakspeed entered a new-style RS1800, only to withdraw after a few races because of oil surge problems - these related to th new regulations. The British McMahon car did a bit better, but the Autovama Alfetta GT had the class to his own, a few old BMW 2002's inable to do anything about it. Next up should have been the 1300-1600 cc class, but this was delayed to 1977; therefore, only a few times the fast German Scirocco's could give the Alfetta a run for its money. The 1300 cc class would be another Alfa Romeo show.
So, not exactly a championship to get you exited...

The races:

The cars

The pictures

Final classification

1976-1981 index