Although Allan had been assured that he would be working on the engines for a two-car team, when he arrived at TWR’s Kidlington premises that number had risen to four. Undeterred, he applied himself to the task at hand and the team achieved 10 out of 10 British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) wins in 1980, with Win Percy becoming the class champion that year and outright champion in 1981, beating the previously dominant Ford Capris.
In that same year, TWR also took over Rover’s racing programme, and their efforts here also proved very successful with the TWR-developed Rover SD1 and later Vitesse models. Further adding to the team’s workload, in 1982 they also began development work on the V12 Jaguar XJ‑S.
So having started with a small team – Allan was employee number 12 – his workload had jumped from assisting a single RX‑7 in 1979, to four RX‑7s (including two in Belgium) and two Rovers in1981. When the team dropped the RX‑7s in 1982, he was now working on two Rover SD1 racing cars for the UK series, a third Rover for the French series and the two Jaguar XJ‑S cars for the ETCC.
Allan believes that Walkinshaw didn’t fully understand the detail of how all this could be accomplished, but he convinced everyone that it could be done, and done successfully.
TWR’s Rover V8 engine programme was the hardest one that Allan was involved with due to the team’s low level of equipment, and an engine unsuited to hard racing. At that time his workshop was managing the four RX‑7s and two Rovers with only two people and no machine shop, just an old lathe and a drill press.
The year before TWR took over the Rover racing programme, Austin-Rover Motorsport had blown 26 engines. They supplied TWR with four engines to start the programme, and the second time the team ran one it too blew up. It was left to Allan to sort out the many problems, as political issues between TWR and Austin-Rover meant that the latter’s engineer didn’t seem very keen on helping Allan to fix the engine.
Allan fabricated his own high-rise inlet manifold and mounted a 48 IDA Weber, and in subsequent testing at Silverstone found that the V8 now pulled 400rpm more on the straight than it had before. Solving the engine’s bottom-end woes led to him substituting EN24 steel for the standard conrod forgings, having determined that the standard Rover material was not up to the higher stresses. Rover agreed to manufacture new rods and they were then passed to TWR for finishing. Later, Allan would also specify EN24 steel from Jaguar when he began development of their V12.
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