You can always bet on the British Touring Cars to deliver a close championship fight (and with an F1 season as dreary as 2023, we need the BTCC now more than ever). This year’s title again went down to the wire, with eight different winners across the season, seven manufacturers vying for victory and many, many prangs. And although the formula gets a decent shake-up once in a blue moon, it typically makes the already stellar racing even better.
More contentious, however, are the cars. There’s barely any factory support in the BTCC these days, and most of the cars you see plastered with manufacturer logos are usually branding deals. So while the cars look pretty wild these days, with side exhausts and ultra-wide body kits, the former is connected to a spec engine (though it’s open to various suppliers) while the latter is made from glass fibre. Still cooler than the cars of the late ’00s, but a far cry from the Super Touring Car glory days of the ’90s.
Yes, it was a prohibitively expensive ruleset which ultimately led to its demise, but the high level of manufacturer and Formula 1 team support delivered some of the coolest tin-top racers in history. Where else could you see (and hear) five-cylinder Volvos go up against Williams F1-developed Renault Lagunas? Best of all, they weren’t a million miles off the cars you could go out and buy (well, aside from the Laguna). Big Rickard Rydell fan? Get an 850 R. Crazy for Kristensen? The Honda Accord Type R has you covered. Mad about Mansell? This Ford Mondeo ST200 should have done the trick.
Now, admittedly, we’re not talking about a homologation special here. The Prodrive-built touring cars had 2.0-litre V6s, while the ST200 used the same 2.5-litre V6 found in the warmed-up ST24. The ST200 was considerably hotter, mind, with upgrades to the cams, throttle bodies, induction system and a freer flowing exhaust raising the bar from 170hp on the ST24 to 205hp. Adding to the BTCC appeal were stiffer dampers, a beefier body kit, Recaro sports seats and Imperial Blue paintwork. Throw in some stickers and a small wing and you’ve got a (sort of) Super Touring Car for the road.
Ford brought nearly 1,700 to the UK, and sales no doubt boomed during the Blue Oval’s dominant season in the BTCC in 2000. However, finding a good, clean example today is downright tricky. A quick Google search suggests fewer than 200 are registered on the road, and only a handful of those are likely in decent nick. This is very much one of them, though – it has reportedly cost the previous owner £10,000 to get it in that state. The seller suggests it’s undergone a “complete restoration”, backed up by how glossy it looks both inside and out. Given it’s covered 113,000 miles, it’s in mighty fine fettle.
The price? £9,999, presumably to recover most of the restoration cost. These are becoming collectable cars, and you could comfortably pay an extra 50 per cent on a lower-mileage example. Cheaper versions exist, too, but they won’t have undergone the sort of work this one has. So you get the best of both worlds: a car that should feel as fresh as it did back in 2000, with enough miles on the clock that won’t fill you with guilt driving it on the regular. Fords were never meant to be coddled, anyway…
SPECIFICATION | FORD MONDEO ST200
Engine: 2,495cc V6
Transmission: five-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): 205@6,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 173@5,500rpm
Year registered: 2000
Recorded mileage: 113,000
Price new: £23,000
Yours for: £9,999