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1975 Ralt RT1-5

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History

 
 

This Ralt was built in June, 1975, for John MacDonald, a very successful ex-patriot Englishman racer living in Hong Kong. Ralt records, and chassis markings, confirm the car as chassis number 5. It was the very first Ralt Formula Atlantic car built.

The RT-1 was delivered to MacDonald in August, 1975, complete with a Hart BDA engine. The car received paint and livery to reflect its sponsors, Rothmans and Cathay Pacific Airways. Upon arrival the car was tested at the Selangor circuit in Kuala Lumpur.

The RT-1 began its successful pro racing career right from the start. MacDonald won the 1975 Penang Grand Prix, held on the famous street circuit. He followed that up with a victory at the Selangor Grand Prix on the Batu Tiga Circuit. He captured yet another victory at the 1975 Philippines Grand Prix. MacDonald capped off his stellar season winning the prestigious Macau Grand Prix . This is the same race won by drivers such as Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher, Mika Hakkinen, David Coulthard, Ralf Schumacher, and other greats.

The RT-1’s list of victories continued in 1976. MacDonald picked up his second Selangor Grand Prix title with the Ralt. He followed that up with another Penang Grand Prix trophy.

In 1977, the car was raced with Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer sponsorship by 24 Hours of LeMans winner, and Formula One and Indy Car, driver Vern Schuppan. The car was raced with a Cosworth FVA engine, #183, and spare engine #184. No notable results are known at this time.

In April, 1978, the car was sold to Peter Marshal, an ex-patriot Australian also living in Hong Kong. The Ralt was still in its Pabst Beer livery. In June, Peter captured the Top Time of the Day trophy at the Hong Kong Motor Sports Club Slalom Sprint. In November the car was changed to white and red Gould sponsorship livery. Peter was running well at the Macau Grand Prix when the throttle linkage failed resulting in a DNF.

For 1979, Peter captured 6th place in the Penang Grand Prix. He also finished 7th in the Malaysian Grand Prix fighting fuel problems resulting from a disintegrating fuel cell. A new engine was then fitted, a Cosworth BDD, engine #711 – M6015-BA. This was a carbureated engine to comply with the new regulations. It was to prove very quick.

On July 1, 1979, Peter and the Ralt with the new Cosworth won the Brunei Grand Prix. The car tub was now finished in yellow with a blue cockpit surround and orange rear wing. In September, Peter finished 8th in the Selangor Grand Prix, suffering an engine failure near the end of the race. In November, Peter raced at the Macau Grand Prix, falling out with a flat tire. Sonny Rajah raced the car in the 1980 Macau Grand Prix as car #21. His results were unplaced.

In 1981, the Ralt was shipped from Hong Kong to Malaysia. The car was stored in a garage at Sonny Rajah’s father’s home in Kuala Lumpur. In 1990, Peter traveled to Kuala Lumpur and retrieved the car. He then had the Ralt shipped to Sydney, Australia.

In July, 1991, the RT-1 was taken to Graham Watson at Ralt Australia for a complete strip down and rebuild to original factory specifications. Thereafter the car was run on “social days” at Easter Creek, Amaroo, and Wakefield Park, but was not raced.

The Ralt was next sold to Peter Mohr in Sydney, Australia during Easter, 1999. Shortly thereafter, Peter took a new job in the United States and he brought the Ralt with him. The car arrived Christmas Eve, 1999.

During the early part of 2000, Powerslide Motorsports, in New Jersey, restored the long-sitting Ralt back to its original 1975 Rothman’s/Cathay Pacific race winning configuration and livery. The car’s first race in 20 years was May 6, 2000, at Virginia Beach, Virginia. During the rest of 2000, the Ralt raced at Summit Point, West Virginia; Watkins Glen; Virginia International Raceway; and Roebling Road in Savannah, Georgia.

In 2001, the car was acquired by Dennis D’Angelo. During 2001, the Ralt was raced at Road Atlanta, Summit Point, and Watkins Glen. Thereafter the car was stored until acquired by its current owner.

The Ralt next raced with the Historic Grand Prix cars at Infineon Raceway (Sears Point) in October, 2006. At that event Formula Atlantic and Formula 2 cars from the 1970’s were invited to race with the 1970’s and 1980’s F1 cars. The Ralt qualified second in the Formula Atlantic/Formula 2 field behind the 1976 Formula Atlantic Championship winning, ex-Gilles Villeneuve, March 76-B Formula Atlantic car driven by 1984 Formula Atlantic Champion Dan Marvin. The Ralt also out-qualified two Formula One cars. Unfortunately the Ralt retired to the pits early with a leaking water hose in the cockpit. The hose has since been repaired.

The RT-1 is remarkably original and complete. During its most recent rebuild in 2000, the Ralt received new brake rotors, springs, CV joints, rebuilt shocks, new fuel pump, new Super Starter, new battery, and new dog rings. The engine was also rebuilt by Ted Wenz at MWE. The engine has dyno time, plus a few practice sessions on it, and the one recent race at Infineon Raceway.

The car comes with an extensive file of period photos, news articles, set up sheets, race records, CAMS (Confederation of Australian Motor Sport) log book, correspondence, transport documents, etc.

Ralt RT-1, Chassis #5, Race Winning Record

1975 Macau Grand Prix
1975 Philippines Grand Prix
1975 Selangor Grand Prix
1975 Penang Grand Prix
1976 Selangor Grand Prix
1976 Penang Grand Prix
1979 Brunei Grand Prix

 
     
 

Description

 
 

The Ralt is powered by a Formula Atlantic spec.1600 c.c. Cosworth BDD engine with twin Weber 48 DC02 carburetors. The gearbox is the original Hewland FT-400, which is what was normally used in the more powerful Formula 2 cars of the period. It is stronger than the usual Formula Atlantic FT-200 gearbox, but still uses FT-200 gears. Shocks front and rear are Bilstein, with 300 lb. springs in the front and 450 lb. springs at the rear. The car has AP Lockheed brakes, and Electromotive ignition. Seat belts are Willans. The tach is Smiths.

Interestingly, the tub was stamped near the rear bulkhead with each of the car’s victories, and includes the date the car was purchased and first tested in Kuala Lumpur. It also lists the engine type and/or number used to claim each race victory. In addition, the tub has been engraved with what appears to be “FA 105” (or 109), and “RT 1-5.” All of these markings can be seen in the photos provided.

Summary



“There have been many series through which the champions of the future have passed, but none have generated the caliber of talent, generation after generation, than that of the Formula Atlantic Championship. Molded by the challenge of racing against the world’s elite drivers and etched into history with scintillating performances and storybook careers, the Formula Atlantic series alumni read like a who’s who of international motorsports.” Victory Lane magazine, Jan/Feb 2006. Gilles Villenueve, Keke Roseberg, Bobby Rahal, Danny Sullivan, Jacques Villenueve, Michael Andretti, Al Unser Jr. and many more great champions cut their teeth and proved their mettle in this storied series. However, great Formula Atlantic racing was not limited to just North America.

“The United Kingdom Atlantics ran for several years from 1971 as a major national formula. The same rules were adopted as “Formula Pacific" and races were run in Australia and New Zealand (where Pacific became the top class of racing); for a few years the prestigious Macau Grand Prix was run to Formula Pacific rules. South Africa also adopted Atlantic rules. In recognition of the global acceptance of the formula it was briefly renamed ‘Formula Mondial' in 1983.” Wikipedia.

While future champions were proving themselves in Formula Atlantics, so were championship winning race car manufacturers. The list included companies such as Lotus, March, Chevron, Lola, and newcomer, Ralt. In 1975, Ralt had just been formed by World Championship winning race car designer, Ron Tauranac, and his brother, Austin Lewis Tauranac. Ron+Austin+Lewis+Tauranac =”RALT.”

Ralt began competing in Formula Atlantic with the RT-1 during the 1975 season. They ultimately left the series at the end of 1997. In between, Ralt won 15 Championships! The nearest competitor, Swift, had only 8. The first Ralt to win the Formula Atlantic Championship was an RT-1, Tom Gloy’s in 1979. That same year Ray Mallock used his RT-1 to become the British Formula Atlantic Champion. Ralt’s last Formula Atlantic Championship came with Alex Barron driving an RT-41 in 1997. Ralt left the series as champions.

The RT-1 offered here is chassis #5 of the original 10 Ralt RT-1’s constructed in 1975. It is the very first Ralt Formula Atlantic car of the tremendously successful line of Ralt Atlantic cars. The RT-1 put the Ralt company on the map capturing countless race victories and multiple championships worldwide over many years. Now, 30 years later, it is again the car to beat in historic Formula Atlantic.

This Ralt is rich in history with multiple professional series victories in multiple countries. It also won the prestigious Macau Grand Prix. It is very original and well documented. It has a complete chain of ownership. It also comes with considerable period documentation of its racing exploits, including photos and articles. With such history and documentation, this car will always be among the top of this elite group of Formula Atlantic cars.

Formula Atlantic cars have been invited to run at select events with the Historic Formula One cars in the U.S. In Australia, the Historic Formula Atlantic group has raced as part of the sensational A1 Grand Prix event. In Canada, historic Formula Atlantics have joined the Grand Am Cup cars in putting on a great show with former Atlantic champions and championship winning cars at Le Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres. In addition to the U.S. Monoposto Championship, in 2007 Formula Atlantics have yet another new U.S. series to run in, The Gilles Villeneuve Trophy Series.

The Motorsports press has also begun to focus on the importance of the Formula Atlantic series, with feature articles in Sports Car magazine, Vintage Motorsport, Vintage RaceCar, and others.

Now is a great time to acquire an early Formula Atlantic car. They are still affordable, and a tremendous value given their performance, vs. price. Their place in Motorsports history is assured with champions from F1 to Indy Cars/Champ Cars, to Sports Cars and beyond coming through the ranks of Formula Atlantic. This particular RT-1 also has one of the most significant winning histories of this exciting period in motorsports.


Chassis Number: RT1-5
Engine Number: N/A

 
       
 

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