Text: Martin Aguilar / Photos: | posted January 30, 2014 15:00
30 years of one of the most successful motorsport operations in the world.
With 30 years of experience, Prodrive is one of the most successful motorsport operations in the world and has expanded into a business that develops advanced technology and lightweight composites for the automotive, aerospace, and defense sectors.
In 1984, Prodrive had already established its name when the Porsche 911 SC RS driven by local Qatari driver Saeed Al Hajri won the 1984 Middle East Rally Championship. Indeed Prodrive’s first win was a day to remember. “We entered a fairly standard Porsche 911 in our first rally in Qatar and survived numerous problems as the car was far more suited to the racetrack than desert roads, but winning our first event was particularly memorable”, David Richards, Prodrive Chairman, said.
Since 1984, Prodrive has competed in 472 rallies, 261 WRC events, winning 132 and finishing on the podium for 182 occasions. Prodrive also competed in 651 races, winning 130 and 266 podium finish. Year 1995 is probably on of the sweetest victory of the company by winning in the RAC Rally which was driven by Colin McRae that made him Britain’s first World Rally champion.
Prodrive is known for its 19 year association with Subaru, but around half of all its 871 rally car starts were from other car companies like Porsche, MG, BMW, and MINI. Before the dawn of the 90’s, Prodrive had already won three British Rally Championship, two Middle East Rally Championship, two Belgian titles, two French and an Irish championship, four Asia-Pacific titles, and an SCCA Pro Rally Championship in USA.
Aside from Prodrive’s success in rallying, the company also excelled in circuit racing by running BMW’s entry in the 1987 British Touring Car Championship (BTCC). In its first full season, a Prodrive car driven by Frank Sytner won the BTCC. Sytner along with Prodrive then took class titles in 1989 and 1990. After six seasons with BMW, Prodrive expanded its network by partnering with Alfa Romeo, Honda, and Ford.
In 2001, Prodrive started to put its focus on sports cars by re-engineering the Ferrari 550 Maranello into a successful GT car and went on to win GT class at Le Mans in 2003. Prodrive’s success continued by capturing the 2007 and 2008 GT class title with the Aston Martin DBR9. Subsequently, Prodrive was also running the Ford Performance Racing team for the V8 Supercar Series in Australia. However, after 10 seasons Prodrive sold the team at the end of 2012.
For this year, Prodrive is set to add its winning total as it returns to the FIA World Endurance Championship with Aston Martin Racing.
For the past 30 years, Prodrive has been able to attain success in motorsports and has managed to established its name. Indeed, Prodrive has gone a long way since its humble beginnings. “Prodrive today is far cry from when we started in 1984 in a small workshop at Silverstone. Nowadays it’s the diverse nature of the business that’s our strength and whilst I am certain we will still be racing cars in the future, I am equally certain that the technology we’ll be applying will be quite different to that of today” said Richards.