CommentsInitial plans were for Nordauto to design and build the cars, however politics soon intervened. During 2000, FIAT and General Motors had entered into a strategic alliance that saw GM acquire 20% of FIAT. With GM already running a BTCC team (via Vauxhall / Triple Eight), there was pressure on Alfa Romeo and Nordauto to drop the project. However, JSM were at least able to negotiate to buy the designs and body kit moulds.
Alfa refused to sell bare bodyshells so JSM were forced to buy three 1600cc LHD road cars, which they collected fresh from the production line. These were stripped and sent to Safety Devices to install the roll-cage, before being built up by the team using Nordauto’s designs. Two race cars were completed, with the third prepared as a spare shell.
Only one car was completed in time for the opening round of the year at Brands Hatch, driven by David Pinkney, with the second car appearing at the following Thruxton meeting. Darren Malkin had been originally scheduled to drive the second car but dropped out due to financial difficulties. This left team manager Tim Harvey to take over driving duties, although prior commitments in the British GT series meant that he would miss the car’s debut with Tom Ferrier standing in.
Engines were initially built by Swindon Engines and based on 1600cc block, bored out to the required 2-litres. This proved to a weakness with the cylinder liners moving and the block twisting, resulting in a string of engine failures. By mid-season the team swapped to IES-built engines based on a Novamotor F3 block, which proved to be much more reliable.
After missing the Mondello Park and Donington Park rounds to work on engine development, the team returned with a single car at Knockhill. Pinkney had left the team, with Ferrier again standing in for Harvey who away on GT duties. At Snetterton the team would again run a single car for Ferrier, this time driving the #1 chassis previously used by Pinkney. Harvey returned at Croft and the team would run two cars for the remainder of the year, although Tom Ferrier's prior ETCC commitments meant that Mark Blair would replace him at Oulton Park and Silverstone.
A season of poor results and lack of sponsors eventually took its toll on the team financially and by November they had gone into administration, with TOCA repossessing many of the team’s assets. The two race cars were sold to GR Motorsport, who announced plans to run in the 2002 BTCC with Gordon Shedden in one car, however funding fell through and the team would not get to race.
The #2 chassis was eventually sold to Brunswick Motorsport. Fitted with the 1.9 diesel engine from the German 147 JTD Cup series, the car was run in various endurance races until sold to Allitalia Motorsport in 2008. Wanting to do something a bit different from the norm, Allitalia retained the diesel engine and converted the car to tarmac rally spec. The car ran with some success at various tarmac stage rallies through 2008/09.
With the team moving on to other projects, the car remained unused until 2015 when they decided to revert the car back into a circuit racer. The body panels and aero were updated to BTC-T spec but a lack of original parts meant it had to be fitted with a 16v turbo engine and running gear from the Alfa 155 Q4. Selected outings in the Alfa Owners Club series followed, until the team decided to put the project on hold. The search for original engine and gearbox continues, with the plan being to give the car a full rebuild and brought back as close as possible to original 2001 spec.