European Touring Car Championship

North Star - 1985 index

1985 was a year, which mirrored the '83 season in a way, with its silly discussions about what's legal - and what's not. This time however, it was not Walkinshaw who was suspected of illegal tricks, it was Volvo who happened to homologate the 240 turbo in an evolution version - which a rear spoiler, big turbo, intercooler and water injection. After production of the 500 cars and subsquent homologation (with close inspection of 23 cars), the other 477 cars were robbed of their competition equipment and sold as standard 240 turbo roadcars. Not illegal by any means, but it left a bad taste in the mouth of their competitors. The FISA reacted in July, after trying to buy an Evolution car in a few European countries (which failed): Volvo had to release the names of the 500 owners of the evolution cars. Volvo didn't react, so the "evolution" homologation would end on September 1, 1985. Later (after the factory holiday!) Volvo could manage to reveal a few evolution cars in Sweden, so the ban was lifted.

On a sporting note, the withdrawal of Jaguar was no surprise, with group C in the wings. They had nothing left to prove. Rover did, however, and with partner Walkinshaw they liked to continue the TWR successes. On the other side, BMW almost threw the towel, thinking the 635 CSi would be uncompetitive. After rejecting to build a 635 CSi evolution (an exciting 80's batmobile with 365 HP), Schnitzer made a late-moment effort with a two-car team. The field usually consisted of a great number of (semi) privateer cars, but the only win was Spa with Schnitzer.

Eggenberger defected to Volvo, acompanied by the Swedish Magnum team. After a strong start by TWR, the Volvo's came on strong and Brancatelli/Lindström took the driver's championship at the penultimate round. Perhaps decisive was Walkinshaw's first-lap error in Zolder.

The makes' championship was yet again an Alfa Romeo walkover. But 4 victories for BMW's 323i, and some strong performances for Snobeck's Mercedes meant that the Alfa time was almost over. Alfa would go turbo with the 75. Division 1 rarely figured in the headlines, but had entertaining fights between Toyota, VW and Audi.

Another shape of things to come was the debut of the Ford Sierra XR4 TI. A few works-supported outings made clear the car had a lot of potential. And who better than Eggenberger could make it work in 1986?

The races:

Anderstorp Zolder Estoril

The cars

The pictures

Final classification

1982-1988 index