Page 1 of 2 Next >> Most motorsport enthusiasts will agree that Group C era of the 1980s and early 1990s was one of the most exciting of the recent decades. Almost all major manufacturers had a go at Group C at one point or another and the cars they built were nothing short of spectacular. Towards the end of the '80s, sports car racing was attracting so much attention that Formula 1, the 'pinnacle' of motorsport, started to suffer. To interest more manufacturers to jump from sports cars to Formula 1, the FIA changed the Group C regulations dramatically. The engines were to be limited to a displacement of 3.5 litres, on par with the contemporary F1 engines. Although it helped to attract some manufacturers to enter F1, it had a devastating effect on sports car racing and most of its competitors retired from racing altogether.
It was in this difficult climate that an ambitious Chris Humberstone decided to embark into sports car racing as an independent manufacturer. He had previously worked for a long line of racing teams and manufacturers. Instead of naming the newly founded company (after) himself, he revived a long dormant name; Allard. Humberstone had already contacted the son of company founder Sydney Allard a few years earlier, but it would take until the early 1990s before he could found Allard Holdings. Apart from the racing program, he also planned a line of Lexus-based limited production road cars. After securing financial backing from several parties, Humberstone assembled a crew of highly talented engineers and designers and development of the racing car commenced.
In their quest to achieve as much downforce as and as little frontal area possible, the designers came up with a highly unconventional shape. At the time most Group C cars had very smooth all-enveloping designs, which could not be said of the new Allard J2X-C. In fact the basic shape was closer to that of a single seater racer with separate front fenders, harking back at its namesake; the great cycle fendered Allard J2X of the 1950s. The areas between the nose of the car and the separate fenders were filled with large wing-shaped sections that generated a massive amount of downforce and also hid the suspension parts from plain view as per the Group C regulations. The separate fenders were still easily distinguishable from the side, further accentuated by the fully exposed floor next to the bubble-top cockpit.
Under the advanced carbon fibre body, an equally advanced carbon fibre monocoque was found. It was unusual in that it stretched all the way to the rear suspension, instead of using the engine as a fully stressed element. Hoping to eventually convince a manufacturer, possibly Lexus/Toyota, to build a bespoke engine, the team made do in the mean time with a Nicholson McLaren modified Cosworth DFR V8. It was mated to a March six-speed gearbox, which was also came straight from Formula 1. Suspension by double wishbones, all-round with coil springs over dampers actuated by push-rods. Stopping power was provided by carbon ceramic discs. Page 1 of 2 Next >>