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  Rover SD1 3500 Group 1      

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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced from:1980 - 1981
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:March 15, 2018
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Click here to download printer friendly versionBy the end of the 1970s, British Leyland were looking at new motorsport opportunities. An obvious choice would be the Rover SD1 in the British Touring Car Championship but its 3,542cc engine was considerably larger than the three-litre restriction set to keep American machinery out. At a manufacturer meeting late in 1979, it was decided to raise the Group 1 limit to 3.5-litres. Using the tolerances permitted, this immediately prompted BL to re-homologate the Rover V8 as a 3,495cc engine.

Even though the rules now permitted the SD1 to be raced, funds were very limited and a works racing program was not a given. Tasked with the development of the car for BL was David Price Racing and with a shoestring budget they started work early in 1980. News of the program leaked but it was not officially announced until March. By that time, privateer team Patrick Motorsport had already announced their intention to run a pair of Group 1 Rovers, built for them by SRG Motorsport.

Having to comply with the relatively strict Group 1 regulations, little room was left for serious modifications. The cars were stripped from most of the non essentials to bring down the weight to the set minimum. The Rover's all-alloy 3.5-litre V8, breathing through a pair of SU carburettors, was tweaked to produce around 250 bhp. While built at different shops, the Group 1 rules were so tight that both the 'works' and Patrick Motorsport cars were very similar.

With backing from Triplex, Esso and Motor Magazine, DPR fielded a two-car team in the BSCC for Rex Greenslade and Jeff Allam. The Ford Capris absolutely dominated the championship and the Rovers generally placed best of the rest in fourth, fifth or sixth. Jeff Allam did manage to score a surprise victory in the shortened and soaking wet Brands Hatch round, where he moved up from fifth on the grid to clinch a maiden win. In similar conditions, F1 World Champion Alan Jones scored another win late in the year at Donington.

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  Article Image gallery (51) Chassis (4) Specifications