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  Morgan Plus 8 GTR
 

  Article Image gallery (20) 4811710 Specifications  
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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced in:1995
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:February 18, 2021
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Click here to download printer friendly versionMorgans have always been actively raced and with the revival of GT racing during the early 1990s, there was a renewed opportunity to compete at the international level. Taking up this challenge was Charles Morgan, the grandson of company founder H.F.S. Morgan. He commissioned the construction of a brand new racing car based on the Plus 8 road car that could compete in the new GT2 class.

Perhaps inspired by was a better description in this case, as there were some fundamental differences between the two. Whereas the road cars had a straightforward steel tubular frame, the new competition car was built up around a bonded and riveted aluminium chassis. The engine and front suspension were further supported by a tubular subframe. The suspension itself was by double wishbones and coil springs on all four corners.

Just like the road car, the new GT2 racer was powered by a Rover V8 engine. This was, however, further enlarged to displace just under five litres. It was mated to a five-speed gearbox that was built for Morgan by specialists Prodrive. The Plus 8 racer was clothed in a body that was instantly recognisable as a Morgan but was wider by quite a margin than the road car's to clear the huge racing slicks. The car was painted bright blue, which earned it the nickname 'Big Blue'.

The Plus 8 GTR was ready in time for the October, 1994 British GT round at Silverstone. It was quite an improvement over the earlier Plus 8 racers that competed in the Modsports events; it lapped the Silverstone track a staggering 10 seconds faster. Faced with a strong field of Porsches, Lotuses and Venturis, Morgan finished an encouraging eleventh overall and third in class.

Morgan raced the car at a variety of events over the next few seasons, usually sharing the driving duties with Bill Wykeham. The car was continuously developed but proved notoriously unreliable. Its final contemporary outing came at the 1997 FIA GT race at Laguna Seca. By that time, the Rover engine had been replaced by a small-block Chevrolet V8. Fittingly, a differential failure brought a premature end to the race.

While not particularly successful as a racing car, the Plus 8 GTR also served as a test bed for the all-new Aero production cars that followed. Introduced in 2000, the Aero 8 featured a similar bonded and riveted monocoque as the unique Plus 8 GTR racer.

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  Article Image gallery (20) 4811710 Specifications