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Stars and their cars: Barry SheeneBack

A racing car driven by motorcycle double world champion Barry Sheene will go under the hammer next month.

The ex-works Toyota Supra Group A racing car, driven by Sheene in the 1985 Trimoco RAC British Saloon Car Championship, is expected to fetch between 60,000 and £80,000.

Since its acquisition by the current vendor in 2012, the Group A Supra has undergone a thorough restoration including major overhauls of the suspension, braking system, clutch, and fuel system. It’s fitted with a close-ratio 5-speed gearbox in its original casing, and a 204bhp engine.

The car has also been validated by 1985 Team Toyota GB/Hughes of Beaconsfield team manager Gordon Mayers, and last year it was invited to Goodwood Festival of Speed as part of a Barry Sheene tribute.

The Supra goes under the hammer on July 27 at the Silverstone Auctions Race Car Sale which forms part of the world’s biggest classic motor racing festival.

Nick Whale, managing director of Silverstone Auctions, said: “This amazing Toyota Supra represents a very rare opportunity to own an iconic Group A Touring car with exceptional provenance and a significant motorsport background.

“It’s an important part of motorsport history, and I expect there will be a great deal of interest on auction day.”

Sheene retired from motorcycle racing in 1984 after winning the 500cc World Championship in 1976 and 1977. Dubbed ‘The Meccano Man’ when doctors pieced together his broken body with nuts and bolts after a series of crashes, Sheene swapped two wheels for four to join Team Toyota GB to drive the Hughes of Beaconsfield works Supra in the 1985 British Saloon Car Championship, now known as the British Touring Car Championship.

Races at the time were televised and while Barry Sheene’s celebrity status helped, it was his skill behind the wheel that won him the highly paid works drive. In initial tests at Goodwood he was only 0.4s off the lap time set by outgoing works Toyota driver, legendary racer Win Percy.

That early optimism was validated with fifth place at the opening round at Silverstone, and a third at Thruxton. However, Sheene was involved in a six car smash later at Thruxton and left with a broken ankle and a badly damaged car. The Toyota was re-shelled and returned with Sheene at the wheel at the next round at Silverstone just two weeks later where he achieved an impressive third overall. Sheene went on to complete the rest of the season finishing consistently in the top six in the Toyota Supra which is being offered at next month’s auction.

Sheene retired from racing shortly after his touring car adventure and moved to Australia to work as a TV commentator and property developer, where he passed away in 2003 after at battle with cancer.

Included with this lot is a wide range of used and new spares including differentials, strut inserts, suspension springs, suspension arms, subframe, manual steering rack, driveshafts, propshaft, brake discs, clutch plates, an assembled bottom end, head castings, race cams, Group A airbox, and various engine parts.

Posted by Beth Rose on 16/06/2017