One hundred classic cars will be embarking on one of the most challenging rallies in the world when the flag goes up on this year’s iconic RAC Rally of the Tests on Friday 9 November in North Yorkshire.
Promising to be a rare spectacle, the rally – which is open to vehicles built before 1 January 1986 – follows a 750-mile route from Harrogate through the East Midlands and South Wales, and finishing in Bristol at the RAC Supercentre.
Competitors and their co-pilots will take on multiple driving tests and navigational challenges including 20 ‘regularities’ on public roads where crews have to arrive at their destinations as close to a pre-set time as possible and 30 ‘driving skills’ tests on private land.
The tests – after which the rally is named – provide an excellent opportunity for motorsport fans to get a good look at some of the amazing vehicles taking part. A full list of the best locations for spectators can be found at the end of this release.
This year there will be a chance to see eight cars from the 1950s, 44 from the 1960s, 28 from the 1970s, seven from the 1980s and one from the 1930s.
Among the most notable cars are four Volvo PV544s – two from the late 1950s and two from the 1960s; a 1966 Morris Mini Cooper S; a 1963 Porsche 356B; a 1954 Austin Healey 100/4 BN1, and, of course, a 1936 Bentley Derby 4¼. The two newest cars taking part this year are a 1985 Porsche 924S and a 1985 Porsche 944.
The RAC Rally of the Tests, which dates back to 1932, started life as a reliability test with competitors driving 1,000 miles. Over the years it transformed into modern stage rallying with the fastest time being the all-important factor. The RAC Rally became synonymous with stage rallying and the RAC name stayed with the event until 1998 when it became the Rally of Great Britain and several years later Wales Rally GB.
In 2001, however, the Rally of the Tests was revived for classic vehicles encompassing authentic regularity and skills tests similar to the original 1930s’ RAC Rally. In 2016 the RAC name was returned to the event, now run by the Historic Endurance Rally Organisation (HERO), as a result of a sponsorship arrangement between the RAC and the Royal Automobile Club.
The event begins with tests at the Harewood Hillclimb Course near Leeds on Friday 9 November, taking in locations near York, Hull, Gainsborough, Lincoln and Newark before ending the day at Sutton Coldfield. The route then threads into Shropshire on Saturday 10 November, on to mid Wales and the Brecon Beacons before descending to Newport. The final day sees competitors beginning in Chepstow before crossing back into England, through Somerset and then ending north of Bristol.
People living near, or visiting, Bristol can get a very close look at the culmination of this year’s event in the car park of the RAC Supercentre, just off junction 16 of the M5 (BS32 4QN), on the afternoon of Sunday 11 November from 2pm.
The first of the 100 classic cars still competing to win the event will arrive at 3pm. Over the course of two hours each will take part in the final driving skills test in the car park with the winner of the rally being waved across the finish line. Spectators are welcome to come along free of charge.
There will also be a chance to see heritage RAC breakdown vehicles including: a 1962 Norton ES2 500cc Single with Watsonian sidecar, an Austin A35 van and a BMW Isetta three-wheeler.
RAC spokesman Simon Williams, who is organising the event at the RAC in Bradley Stoke, said: “There are not many events where you can get to see such a fantastic range of classic cars up close and free of charge so we encourage everyone, whether they are motorsport fans or not, to come along and enjoy the spectacle.
“It offers the chance to see some truly amazing cars of yesteryear being put through their paces over a small but challenging course. From an RAC perspective it will be great for a business that has always been at the heart of British motoring to play host to the finish of one of the most famous rallies which once again carries its name.
“But the RAC Supercentre is just one of many great places to watch the action in this year’s Rally of the Tests unfold. And if you have never seen a historic vehicle doing what it was designed to do and heard the roar of a beautiful old engine then you are in for a real treat at whatever venue you choose to attend.”
Where to see the 2018 RAC Rally of the Tests
|Type of challenge||Location||From||To||Lat/Long|
|Friday 9 November|
Harewood Hillclimb Course*, Harewood ||08:10||10:20||53.90042 -1.48672|
Balloon Tree Café, Gate Helmsley ||09:50||12:20||53.99023 -0.93825|
Papa's Fish & Chips, Willerby ||12:20||15:20||53.76345 -0.45797|
Blyton Park Driving Centre, Blyton ||14:25||16:45||53.44697 -0.68023|
Giant Bike Shop Café, Doddington ||15:15||17:45||53.21900 -0.65245|
Fulbeck Karting*, near Stragglethorpe ||16:20||18:30||53.04609 -0.64586|
The Belfry Hotel, Sutton Coldfield ||20:20||-||52.55302 -1.73722|
|Saturday 10 November|
Curborough Sprint Course, Fradley ||08:00||10:15||52.71298 -1.80228|
Ye Olde Punchbowl Inn, Bridgnorth ||09:40||12:00||52.52736 -2.44278|
Metropole Hotel, Llandrindod Wells ||13:00||16:10||52.24001 -3.37653|
RWAS Showground, Builth Wells ||14:20||16:35||52.15619 -3.40962|
|Control + Test||
Brecon Cattle Market, Brecon ||16:25||19:00||51.94650 -3.41417|
Celtic Manor Resort, Newport ||19:25||-||51.60023 -2.93027|
|Sunday 11 November|
Chepstow Racecourse, Chepstow ||08:00||10:15||51.64766 -2.69006|
Orchardleigh Estate, near Frome ||12:40||15:45||51.24853 -2.33969|
|Test + Control||
RAC Supercentre, near Bristol ||15:10||17:25||51.54900 -2.55925|
Notes to Editors
* Charges may apply
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