1975 Ralt RT1 Formula Atlantic. Macau Grand Prix Winner.
Stunning Masters FA Winner, 2021. Long Beach Entrant.
Sold, November 2021
In the first Masters Formula Atlantic Plus Race held at Laguna Seca, May 15-16, 2021, the Ralt dominated some of the best Formula Atlantic cars and drivers in the U.S. In the Saturday race, the Ralt was 3 seconds per lap faster than the second place 1977 Chevron B39, and third place 1979 Ralt RT1. On Sunday, the Ralt was even quicker, besting the rest of the field by 4 seconds per lap! You can watch the car walk away from the 19 car field at:
A completely new, dyno-time-only, Richardson BDA was built for the Ralt and installed prior to the Masters race mentioned above. This is not a rebuilt Richardson, but a brand new one, with brand new block, head, carburetors, crank, etc.
The owner had the new engine built to ensure the most competitive, legal, engine possible was installed in the car for the upcoming Formula Atlantic feature races in the U.S. and abroad. The complete prior engine that was in the car will be included in the sale. The prep shop that maintains the Ralt said there was nothing wrong with that engine, but that the owner wanted a brand new Richardson to make certain they were not giving up any horsepower advantage to other Formula Atlantics.
The Ralt was the subject of a complete vehicle dynamics and suspension geometry analysis by GSD Racedyn, and Nigel Rees. The recommendations from that 16 page report were integrated into the car for 2021. The report included analysis of:
Suspension Geometry – Spring / Damper and Anti Roll Bar Actuation & Motion
Gear Ratios Braking Analysis Cornering Analysis Aerodynamics Tyres/Engine /Transmission Wet Set Up
The Ralt’s race results at the Laguna Masters event speak for themselves.
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-patriate 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 tub-up restoration. The original tub was rebuilt/re-riveted by Marc Bahner to preserve the authenticity of the car’s early successful racing history. The Ralt has been maintained at a top level ever since.
The Ralt 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. Some of these photos include the car at the Macau Grand Prix, MacDonald in victory circle with the trophy girls, and more. One of the most dramatic photos shows the Ralt on the end of a tether being helicoptered to the track because they could not get through traffic in time to make the start!
Period 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 the new Richardson Formula Atlantic spec.1600 c.c. Cosworth BDA engine with twin Weber 48 DC02 carburetors mentioned above. The gearbox is the rebuilt 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.
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 the Monterey Reunion, 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 2021 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 in the Fall of 2021. Sonoma Entry Groups.
The Ralt qualifies for CSRG’s Historic Formula Atlantic races, as well as SVRA, VARA, HSR, HMSA, and every other group that accepts Formula Atlantic.
In addition, the 1975 Ralt (the first Ralt Formula Atlantic ever built) qualifies for the HSCC Vern Schuppan Trophy Series (December, 1975 cutoff date). How great would it be to race Vern Schuppan’s actual Ralt RT1 in the Vern Schuppan Trophy Series?!
The Ralt basically qualifies for any historic Formula Atlantic grid anywhere in the world. It is a proven contender for not only winning its class, but as we have recently seen, winning first overall against more modern historic Formula Atlantics.
The Ralt is now being sold as a complete package. This includes the just installed new Richardson, the complete spare BDA, the spares, and the new GSD Racedyn setups already done. The Richardson engine, alone, cost $35,000.00 without shipping. However, you can purchase the whole package for $105,000.00. That would put the price of the Ralt with its original engine at $75,000.00 without the GSD Racedyn analysis and setups already done. It also provides you a spare BDA to travel with if you are going to do the Masters Series in 2021, or travel for Long Beach, and other major FA events on the horizon. None of this ads in the value for the car’s amazing string of important race wins in period, nor the fact that it is Ralt’s very first Formula Atlantic, the beginning of Ralt’s many years of Formula Atlantic successes and championships.
Formula Atlantic is enjoying a real renaissance right now. It is part of the growing U.K. and European racing championships. It now has feature races at some of the most prestigious U.S. racing events. Formula Atlantic is also gaining ground as a support series for IndyCar races, starting with Long Beach.
The future for FA is bright, and getting brighter. Now is the time to get in. Don’t miss it.
See additional photos, taken 2021, in the Photo Gallery below.
Notice, in particular, the very last photo. It is a photo of MacDonald’s RT1 being helicoptered in from the Subang Airport to the race track. Apparently the flight getting the car to the airport was delayed, and the only way to get the Ralt to the track in time for qualifying was to helicopter it into the circuit. Crazy times, indeed!
All vehicle descriptions are accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time of writing. Corrections, and supplemental information, are always welcome. Buyers are responsible for confirming vehicle histories, condition, and authenticity to their own satisfaction prior to purchase. Motorsports Market is not the owner of the vehicle and assumes no liability for errors and omissions.
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