In 1986, Middlebridge Racing, a Japenese-owned engineering company located in England, purchased Chassis M3 1/60 as a backup car, and for the first segments of its life, it was shuttled around Europe before being relocated to Japan to compete in the Japanese Touring Car Championship. It wasn’t until 1993 that the car began to see success on the track, after it was purchased by Tomei Sport for use in the final year of Group A-spec racing in Japan.
The car had been upgraded throughout its career, receiving 2.5-spec components in 1990, and once paired with world-famous Anthony Reid as a pilot in 1993 after its Tomei acquisition, the car began to show its true bloodline. With Valvoline and Asahi Kiko as title sponsors to fund the car, Reid and co-driver Atsushi Kawamoto brought the car to victory at the TI Circuit Aida, a second-place finish at Autopolis, second at Tokachi, and the Inter-tec 500 at Fuji. The car was a clear competitor and championship contendor: a force to be reckoned with.
However, with the conclusion of its JTCC career the following year, the car’s legacy fell into a tailspin. A Malaysian businessman purchased the car for touring car competition, but performed so poorly that Valvoline Malaysia eventually asked that the company’s logos and colors be removed from the car.
The car was then acquired by a Swiss expat living in Singapore, where it was used as a hillclimb racer for 9 seasons, with varying levels of success. The car spent a brief bit of time with BMW Expert Alex Elliot in the UK, before making its way to Australia somewhere in 2009 or 2010.
Following that, the car went through a number of hands: five new owners in just five years, before it was eventually purchased by Steve Walker – owner of the gorgeous Luigi E9 CSL we featured some years ago.
Now, the car sits in good hands, raced in celebration of its history and its heritage. The owner was once again eager to share the intricacies of the car, and welcomed me to photograph the ins and outs that make it special. Enjoy the aesthetics behind this incredible machine.