An ex-works Lada Samara racing car, driven by Roger Turner, is the first car to be announced in the Pride of the Paddock display at Race Retro, powered by Motor Sport, from 23-25 February at Stoneleigh Park.
The 1986 BRSCC Class C production car will feature in a display of privately owned race and rally cars, with the visitors deciding who gets the title of Pride of the Paddock.
D525KAT was one of three LHD VAZ 2108 ‘UK Prototype models’ for development, lead by Geoff Warkup, homologation engineer, and works driver for LADA UK.
Of the three prototypes, one was for development and homologation of the Group A 1300 &1500 Rally cars, and was used by Warkup as a works car in 1987 and 1988 in ERC & BRC events. A further prototype car was used for parts for the development cars, and was then built by Bridge Motorsport as a 1300 Grp A car, to give the Lada Samara its World Rally Championship debut on the RAC rally in November 1987. This car then became the sister Dealer Team Lada UK rally team car driven in the 1988 British International Rally championship.
During and following the vehicles launch, D525KAT was used by Warkup as his company ‘recce’ car. This car escorted the works rally car, as recce car when it made its FIA international homologated rally debut on the 1987 Halikdiki Rally, in Greece. The entry of the rally car on this event, assisted the homologation and licensing of the Lada Samara in the UK, to allow the model to be launched in 1987.
The car was then offered to Roger Turner of Mountsorrell Service Station, a Lada dealership in Leicestershire, for use in competition. Roger had previously raced and rallied with some success in Lada Rivas, taking part in such events as the Texaco Tour of Britain, as well as Production Saloon Car race meetings and Championships.
The car was converted to RHD, and the engine changed to a ‘Longman’ spec 1575cc race engine with twin Solex carbs, giving 150 bhp @ 8000rpm, compared with 70 bhp from the standard Lada engine.
The exterior was painted and sign written with white and red bands over the original Atlanta blue body, together with the addition of ‘Pichler’ lightweight bumpers, as used in the 1995 Dawson Auto Developments Samara which was the basis for the 1996 Lada Samara RSi homologation special prototype cars.
Roger competed successfully with the car during the early 90s, debuting the car on the final race of the 1990 Falken production race championship, finishing an impressive fourth overall. He was most known for his exploits in the 1993, 1994 and 1995 BRSCC Toyo Production race car championships.
Following Roger's untimely death in May 2003, the ownership of the car passed to current owner Mike Mayfield, a well-known race Marshall and official since 1970 on his 60th birthday, and a long-time friend of Roger.
During his ownership, the car has been immaculately and faithfully maintained to its 1995 specification, as used in Roger’s final full season. Mike has competed in the car in sprint events with the Nottingham Sports Car Club, from 2004 until its last competitive event in 2010.