1975 Ralt RT1 Formula Atlantic. Macau Grand Prix Winner.
First Ralt Formula Atlantic
History and Description
Chassis Number 05
This is the very first, of the highly successful, multi-championship wining, Ralt Formula Atlantic cars.
The Ralt was constructed in June, 1975, for John MacDonald. At the time, MacDonald was a very successful expatriate Englishman racer living in Hong Kong. Ralt records, and chassis markings, confirm the car as chassis number 5.
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 Le Mans winner, and Formula One and Indy Car, driver Vern Schuppan. The car was raced with a Cosworth FVA engine, #183, and a 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 RT1 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 Don Sandy and Art Hebert
The Ralt next raced with the Historic Grand Prix cars at Infineon Raceway/Sears Point Raceway/Sonoma Raceway (you pick the name) 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 piloted by former Formula Atlantic Champion, Dan Marvin. Unfortunately the Ralt retired with a leaking water hose.
The Ralt was next sold to it current owner. The car was the subject of a no-expense-spared full restoration by a pro shop in California, and has been maintained at a top level ever since.
The Raltcomes 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
The Ralt is powered by a Formula Atlantic spec.1600 c.c. Cosworth BDA engine with twin Weber 48 DC02 carburetors. The gearbox is the original Hewland FT-400. MacDonald ordered the car specifically with the FT-400 gearbox instead of the usual FT-200 because it was stronger and more reliable than the FT-200 normally used in Formula Atlantic cars.
The car is in excellent condition. The engine runs well, with good leak down. We expect to obtain detailed photos of the car in its current condition shortly. The detailed, static, photos of the car posted thus far are from prior owners, before the most recent restoration. The photos (see links below) showing the car racing at Monterey, show the car in its current condition.
As an interesting footnote, one of the Ralt’s most impressive historic racing victories came at the 2013 United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas. The Ralt won one of the support races just prior to the start the F1 Grand Prix. Here is a video of the Ralt in action, setting fastest lap to qualify on the pole. COTA Pole
The Ralt has already raced at past Monterey Reunions, Ralt at Rolex, and would be a great entry for any future Reunion events Ralt leading Martin Lauber’s Chevron B39, Ralt Corkscrew. It would also be a fabulous entry for the Historic Formula Atlantic support race at the 2020 IndyCar Grand Prix of Long Beach. The Ralt’s period Grand Prix winning history, unique first Ralt RT1 design, and current state of prep in period livery, also make this Ralt a great front running candidate for the Formula Atlantic race at the spectacular second Sonoma Speed Festival to be held at the end of May, 2020. Sonoma Entry Groups
Formula Atlantic is quickly becoming THE place to be in historic motorsports racing. Don’t miss it.