Rothmans World Rally Team

Gartrac was made aware a year in advance that Ford would be pulling out of world rallying to concentrate on developing the Escort RS1700T. Dave Bignold was summoned to a meeting at Boreham and was told the works Escort Mk2 rally production was coming to an end.

However this heralded a new chapter of production of Escort Mk2's. Rothmans, the sponsers of Ford's world rally effort in 1979, wanted to continue their involvement in the sport and formed the Rothmans world rally team which was to run Escort Mk2's for Hannu Mikkola and Ari Vatenen in 1980. The new team was to be managed by David Sutton whom Gartrac had previously worked with through their dealings with Ford dealers Clark & Simpson.


1981 World Rally Championship

1981 World Rally Championship

The team would be based at David Sutton Cars in West London and Gartrac was commissioned to carry on production of Escort Mk2 rally bodyshell's and parts for the privately run world rally team throughout the 1980 and 1981 world rally seasons.


1981 World Rally Championship

1981 World Rally Championship

1981 World Rally Championship

This was to prove an extremely demanding period for Gartrac. There was a high turnover of bodyshells being produced at this time and Gartrac had to keep two fully prepared shell's in hand as back up to existing production requirements.

In 1981 Ari Vatanen was crowned World Rally Champion. This success capped a triumphant period and was a remarkable achievement for a privately run team.