Video: Watch touring car pro Rob Huff flog a classic British Touring Car

On my way to work last week, I happened to spot a rare-in-the-Midwest clean, stock Infinti G20 in write-me-a-ticket red. I’ve always liked the car’s clean lines and after my mind and my Internet browser wandered a bit, I came across this video of modern touring car legend and current Lada factory driver (No, really!) Rob Huff flogging around Donington Park a vintage British Touring Car Championship Nissan Primeraas the G20 was known almost everywhere else—that once was originally raced by BTCC legend Matt Neal.
Huff came to the BTCC too late for the Super Touring era, which is regarded by touring car enthusiasts as the series’ glory days, but he seems genuinely humbled by putting the Primera through its paces.

Yeah, the video’s a bit long, but if you don’t have the time to watch the whole thing, skip forward to the 16:00 mark to watch Huff clock a lightning-quick 1:12 lap. How fast is that? The Aston Martin GT4 Challenge record on the same circuit is a 1:12.
Huffy fights understeer a little at times, but the car is obviously compliant and plenty powerful. It might have something to do with Huff’s driving abilityhe is a World Touring Car Champion, after allbut the Primera keeps up in the twisty bits with formula cars that weigh half as much and gives several Porsche drivers all they can handle.
If you watch Huff’s debrief (around 20:00 in the video) with Anthony Reid, who helped propel Nissan to the ’98 BTCC Constructors championship, you can hear his glowing review. In part, he calls it:

“Proper. So much grip on the front end when you’re on the power! You can generate more grip when you’re on the throttle.”

Who says front-wheel-drive isn’t fun? Or nimble? Of course, it never hurts to be churning 320 horsepower out of the car’s highly tuned Nissan SR20 engine.
The 1998 BTCC season was one for the books. Swede Rickard Rydell won the driver’s title in a Volvo V40 over legendary touring car drivers Alain Menu, young Jason Plato, Yvan Muller, Peter Kox, and Matt Neal. The carsRenault Laguna, Honda Accord, Peugeot 406, and Ford Mondeo to name a feware similarly legendary.
From that season, there was perhaps no more exciting a touring car race as the wet Donington Park round.In the weekend’s second race, Nigell Mansellmaking a guest appearance in a Mondeoduked it out with the Primeras and the others. For many, there is no piece of racing footage so manic as the frenetic finish, embedded above for your enjoyment.
[Source: HarveyMushman240Z YouTube channel, Australian Autosport Community YouTube channel]

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  1. crank_case Avatar

    It was a great era for BTCC for sure, I remember watching it as a teen and then wasting many hours on TOCA on the playstation afterwards.
    Still, I think the greatest era of British Touring cars was the 60s, because it was so diverse, you could have the likes of big block Ford Galaxies, MK2 Jaguars, Ford Cortinas and Minis all lining up on the same grid, AND being competitive. Seeing a Mini or Cortina play a cat and mouse game catching up on corners and straights respectively is a sight to behold if you've ever seen footage from the Goodwood Revival.

    1. Eric Rood Avatar
      Eric Rood

      [youtube cawBXWWgqCI youtube]

      1. crank_case Avatar

        Nice find!

  2. wunno sev Avatar
    wunno sev

    i remember watching (on Youtube, of course) a BTCC race at maybe Donington? where an 850 and a 328i are battling for second or something for, like, the last five laps. the Bimmer has the edge on straights since it's got a ton more power, but the Volvo tackles corners at higher speeds because it's much more stable – the BMW's tail end keep stepping out when the driver gets on the power, and the Volvo can get on the throttle sooner, catching up with faster exit speeds.
    super instructive. all else being equal, FWD is not preferable to RWD, but all else is rarely equal. a well-engineered and -prepped car (not to suggest the BMW was not those things) is hugely important, and god is in the details – rather than the spec sheet.

    1. crank_case Avatar

      FWD can be used to advantage in touring cars for sure, for example, it's much easier ride the kerbs, because when the FWD car bounces back down and gets a bit squirelly, the driver can just get on the power and it'll naturally straighten itself out, where the RWD car will go sideways.

    2. Dean Bigglesworth Avatar
      Dean Bigglesworth

      The fact that the FWD cars of that era had their engine showed so far back they basically had 50/50 weight distribution certainly didn't hurt. Also the BTCC budgets were absolutely insane in the nineties. Made for some pretty damn good racing, though.
      I mean a bloody Volvo wagon with a NA I5 making very nearly 300hp, and weighing only 950kg. Insane. Those wagons were the reason teenage me loved Volvo.
      [youtube _3zgzK6zBms youtube]