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National novelties: Thundersaloon Carlton and Ligier JS2-R

Every week, there is a huge variety of cars racing in UK national events. Here are three particularly interesting machines that were in action at Thruxton

auto duke carlton 1

Carlton's comeback: Duke's new steed

The Dave Cook-built Vauxhall Carlton TS6000 in which John Cleland and Vince Woodman won Thundersaloon races in 1987 and the 1988 title, is back on track with proud new owner Neil Duke.

PLUS: The saloons that thundered to short-lived success

Last raced six years ago by the late Pete Stevens – whose brother ‘Nudge’ was at Thruxton last weekend to witness the car return to action with the Classic Sports Car Club – the 5.7-litre Chevrolet V8-powered monster was recommissioned by Steve Mole but, needing wheels among a new parts inventory, arrived following only a short Brands Hatch shakedown.

Ford Anglia-BDG graduate Duke will acclimatise properly before the next month’s Special Saloons & Modsports races at Brands.

New car: Ligier JS2-R debuts

Griffiths moved from G20 to Ligier JS2-R, which made its first UK appearance

Griffiths moved from G20 to Ligier JS2-R, which made its first UK appearance

Photo by: Steve Jones

Graduating from a Ginetta G20 to a bespoke Ligier JS2-R powered by a 3.7-litre Ford Duratec V6 mated to a six-speed gearbox, gave Steve Griffiths plenty of excitement.

Honouring the DFV-engined JS2, in which Jean-Louis Lafosse/Guy Chasseuil finished second at Le Mans in 1975, Ligier has built more than 50 since 2018, for one-make series in Europe.

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Kentishman Griffiths’ came from D&C Racing in Maranello, which ran it for Swiss Andreas Ritzi and Americans Keshav Vellodi and Michael Keller last season.

Griffiths contested the Slicks Series race at Thruxton last weekend, supported by RNR Performance Cars, and finished 11th.

Baptism of water: Woods-Dean's Corvette

The title-winning Corvette was not best suited to wet Thruxton weather

The title-winning Corvette was not best suited to wet Thruxton weather

Photo by: Steve Jones

“With a Honda Civic and the Audi in the workshop, this was the least appropriate car we could have brought in the conditions,” said Andy Woods-Dean, who with Greg Rose gave Martin Johnston’s Chevrolet Corvette Z06 its second UK outing – and CSCC debut – at Thruxton in the New Millennium set.

Raced to two Norwegian GT2 championships by Frode Alhaug, the aluminium-framed car was initially built as a Sports Car Club of America racer.

“The engine is not mapped for the wet and the 600bhp comes in with a bang, so it was all over the place,” added Rose, wide-eyed after qualifying. The intrepid duo finished ninth.

Pic of the week:

Connor Mills escaped serious injury in this dramatic roll at Brands Hatch when the Legends series joined the British Touring Car bill

Connor Mills escaped serious injury in this dramatic roll at Brands Hatch when the Legends series joined the British Touring Car bill

Photo by: Andy Mason

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