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The ground-effect wonder behind a generation of F1 stars

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Recently named as Autosport's greatest single-seater, Ralt's RT3 launched a plethora of superstar drivers through the early 1980s, and established the constructor as the go-to place for your single-seater weapon

The story of the car that came to define half a decade of Formula 3 racing began slowly. The Ralt RT3 was the successor to the successful RT1, and was the late Ron Tauranac's attempt to bring the new-to-Formula 1 ground-effects philosophy to the junior categories, but the Australian was initially too busy working on his Formula 2 machines.

Nelson Piquet had won an F3 title in the UK in 1978 run out of the Ralt factory, and had introduced an unknown Chilean named Eliseo Salazar to Tauranac. Aboard the brand-new RT3, Salazar failed to score a single British F3 point in 1979, so the 1980 season began with no takers in the UK for the car. Then Rob Wilson, who had won a race in 1978 with an RT1, was tempted...

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