Gordon Spice, BTCC legend and double podium-sitter at the Le Mans 24 Hours, has passed away at the age of 81.
He was regarded highly for his achievements in the British Touring Car Championship and in the World Sportscar Championship, both as a driver and an engineer.
Spice’s British Saloon Touring Car Championship efforts began in the late 1960s racing Austin Mini Coopers.
After an outing for Downton Engineering, he moved onto Jim Whitehouse’s Equipe Arden team in 1968 – a team who won the outright championship a year later.
In 1969, he was racing at John Cooper’s team and his Minis. Despite his impressive pace to be able to take on victories, he was unable to match the 1300 Broadspeed Ford Escorts in the field.
Eventually, he progressed onto the Ford works outfit CC Developments, racing what would become the synonymous, iconic car that most defined his name – the Ford Capri.
From 1976 to 1980, he competed in the top class honours taking on 25 overall victories and becoming a consistent threat to anyone else who pursued the title.
Him and teammate Andy Rouse dominated the 1980 season, but were closely surpassed to the title by Win Percy and his Mazda RX7.
Percy went onto winning two more consecutive titles in the championship, one in the Mazda and the other in a Toyota Corolla GT.
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Spice earned six class-championship titles between 1975 and 1980. Most notably in ’78, he won the 24 Hours of Spa in a Ford Capri touring car with Teddy Pilette.
His career then turned to the World Sportscar Championship (the equivalent to today’s World Endurance Championship), adding to a few cameo appearances in IMSA.
He finished third on two Le Mans 24 Hours outings in 1980 and 1981 in a Rondeau M379 prototype.
Spice had already competed at the 24 Hours of Le Mans once before in 1964 with Chris Lawrence, but their race lasted only three hours due to overheating.
His return to sportscar racing commitments brought him successes in the C2 class with his own Cosworth and Tiga-powered machinery.
He was crowned the ‘FIA World Endurance Cup for Group C2 drivers’ three times in 1985, 1987 – claiming the C2 class-Le Mans victory – and 1988.
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Spice and Raymond Bellm asserted Spice Engineering as a successful pursuit, a description it went onto fulfill with numerous iconic victories and titles spanning across the 1980s and the 1990s, when Spice retired from racing just before the latter decade.
Looking back on his career, Spice was the one who pushed the Capri name to the top step of several podiums, to racing and signing off a thoroughly successful outfit in sportscar racing.
The Last Lap staff send our sincere condolences to his closest friends, family and colleagues.
Gordon Spice: 1940-2021