ETCC champion Gianfranco Brancatelli stars at Oulton Park

Gianfranco Brancatelli, the 1985 European Touring Car champion, wrestled his '89 Spa 24 Hours winning Ford Sierra RS500 to third in the Super Touring Trophy at Oulton Park on Sunday

ETCC champion Gianfranco Brancatelli stars at Oulton Park

Now 67-years-old, Brancatelli had ended a 16-year lay-off from racing last season and fended off newer Super Touring Cars to claim a podium finish in his first race at Oulton.

On hand in the pitlane to tend the car was Rudi Eggenberger, the Swiss touring car engineer who built the car originally.

"It's a beautiful combination to have back together," said Brancatelli.

"It's not the complete team from the 1980s but the two most important parts: myself and Rudi Eggenberger, which makes something really special.

"Most of the people are not racing anymore, they are retired.

"Actually, I was retired. My last race was in 2000 and I'd not done anything for 16 years.

"I really forgot everything until one day last year a gentleman from New Zealand called Peter Sturgeon rang me and said he'd bought a car I raced, which was a BMW M3 from 1987. I raced that car with Johnny Cecotto in ETCC.

"I didn't know what I could do, 16 years is a long time. But I took the challenge and so I went to New Zealand last year.

"Then Peter decided to buy the Sierra RS500 Cosworth that I won the 24 Hours in at Spa-Francorchamps in 1989.

"We did four races in New Zealand earlier this year, then we won at Silverstone and the Nurburgring and now we are at Oulton Park. This is something magic."

Brancatelli admitted he had never expected to return to the tracks.

"Of course I thought my racing was finished after 16 years," he said.

"I never went to see any race and I'd never been on any circuit. I just forget.

"But this is something that makes the person younger again. This car is like an old friend but some things are different, like the tyres.

"The sensation of driving this car is special. So many people come to see the car and they remember the car from 30 years ago.

"To go back racing you need to be in good shape and have a competitive spirit.

"I honestly didn't miss it but since I'm back I have to do the best for myself.

"Every time you go on the track someone is watching you and you have to do the maximum."

shares
comments
Kristensen drives 2005 Le Mans, Sebring-winning Audi at Laguna Seca

Previous article

Kristensen drives 2005 Le Mans, Sebring-winning Audi at Laguna Seca

Next article

Minassian reunited with 2011 Peugeot 908 for pilot Masters Spa race

Minassian reunited with 2011 Peugeot 908 for pilot Masters Spa race
Load comments
Why Goodwood Revival’s revival will be an unmissable event Plus

Why Goodwood Revival’s revival will be an unmissable event

After a year's enforced absence due to the pandemic, the Goodwood Revival Meeting returns this weekend for the 23rd in a series that transports fans to a bygone era of motorsport. Here's 10 reasons why you should check it out

Historics
Sep 17, 2021
The mixed return of a historic racing stalwart Plus

The mixed return of a historic racing stalwart

Last weekend's Silverstone Classic may not have benefited from the best British summer weather, but there was some great racing – and a baffling result

Historics
Aug 5, 2021
The part rolling relics can play in motorsport's high-tech future Plus

The part rolling relics can play in motorsport's high-tech future

OPINION: Last weekend's Silverstone Classic was another reminder of the joys of dusting off racers from days gone by. But while it might not be obvious, the historic racing world has the potential to play its part in our futures – on and off track

Historics
Aug 3, 2021
Eight reasons to watch the Silverstone Classic Plus

Eight reasons to watch the Silverstone Classic

The Classic was one of the many major events lost to the pandemic in 2020, but it’s now set to be back in style this weekend as it celebrates the 20th edition of retro-themed fun

Historics
Jul 29, 2021
How a flawed ‘throwback’ series gained acceptance Plus

How a flawed ‘throwback’ series gained acceptance

Against all odds, the series for V12-powered Superleague Formula cars adorning the liveries of football clubs earned a place in the hearts of many. Even 10 years on from its last race, on this day in 2011, it is fondly remembered by those who were part of it

Historics
Jul 17, 2021
The one-off backmarker brought back to life after half a century Plus

The one-off backmarker brought back to life after half a century

The unique McKee-Chevrolet Mahrya achieved very limited success in period. But over half a century after it was shuttered, it has completed a 17-year restoration and is once again turning heads on the track

Historics
Jul 16, 2021
The painstaking process behind reviving Solberg's Subaru WRC steed Plus

The painstaking process behind reviving Solberg's Subaru WRC steed

With attention to detail the first concern, Prodrive’s new Legends department has completed its first restoration project on Petter Solberg's 2004 Rally Japan winner – and is busily gearing up for more

Historics
May 13, 2021
The unusual racing journey forged by a youthful historics ace Plus

The unusual racing journey forged by a youthful historics ace

Two championships and two class titles in four seasons mark historics ace Benn Tilley as a special talent. Here’s how the Lincolnshire racer progressed from Junior Saloons to become Autosport’s top club driver of 2020

Historics
Apr 5, 2021