Chevron GR8 racing car review

Brand-new GT racer from historic marque, 255bhp Cosworth engine, race-ready for just £58k

Evo rating
Price
from £58,163
  • An impressive race/trackday car package
  • You can't use it on the road

Attaching a badge made famous years earlier to a new car is a brave, even risky thing to do. Brave because buyers might not make the connection in the way you want, risky because your new car might not live up to the reputation. Even worse, you might discover people don’t actually care…

Between 1965 and ’78, a small cottage industry in Bolton led by the shy but ambitious Derek Bennett turned out around 1000 Chevron race cars, including some of the most beautiful sports GTs the world has ever seen – step forward B8 and B16. You can still buy

Subscribe to evo magazine

If you're passionate about the world's greatest performance cars, experience the thrill of driving with evo magazine. Try your first 5 issues for £5.

one of these today, as a ‘continuation’ car, accurate in every tiny detail. The car you see here, though, is the Chevron GR8, and though there is definitely some Chevron DNA in there, it’s a new model.

The new car is the work of Chevron Racing Cars Limited. Formed by Vin Malkie, who worked at the original factory in the 1960s, and his wife Helen, Chevron Racing Cars is one of the concerns able to build continuation models and supply parts for all the Chevrons still out there and still racing. The GR8 (that’s Gran Rapido, rather than Gran Turismo) was Helen’s idea, and it harks back to the glory days but adds modern aerodynamics and motive parts.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

The shape is by Lester Allen, whose CV includes Bentley Continental R and Aston Virage. His brief was to remind people of the B8 but to add a wing, a splitter and bigger wheels without making them look ‘stuck on’. The glassfibre body is draped over a traditional, massively strong steel-tube frame with wishbone suspension. Power is by a four-cylinder Ford unit, just like the B16. In this case it’s a modern 2-litre Cosworth Duratec poking out 255bhp and driving through a five-speed sequential Hewland transaxle. The rest of the car is off-the-shelf racing stuff – AP brakes, 18in SL Corse wheels, big Toyo tyres.

Inside, accommodation is basic and there’s a lot of bare glassfibre and tubes. The doors are only a rudimentary fit and there’s no heater, air-con, or electric anything – apart from the need-to-know dash. But this is a nicely made, proper GT race car with a wailing 2-litre engine, a shrieking, clattering dog ’box, brakes that can send your eyes out on stops and grip that has your neck aching.

I raced the car at Croft in Chevron’s own one-make series, and it was a wonderful, sweaty, bruising experience. Gratifying, too. The car is sensitive to everything – set-up, momentum, driver input – but it feels as if it could go on until it runs out of petrol, or the driver runs out of energy. And like all good GTs, it left me with the sense that every corner, every lap, if I could just put everything together that little bit better, it would respond simply by going faster. That’s not to say it is easy, but that’s part of the challenge. The GR8 is up for it, as long as you are.

There’s a lot of stuff you can do with a car like this: trackdays (although you’ll lap the whole field every five minutes), the Britcar endurance series, Castle Combe GTs, British GTs (with a few tweaks), plus a few more. And it’s not mad money – you get a proper, turnkey race car for under £50K (plus VAT). A lot of those people who pound round at trackdays in their GT3s might do well to realise they could go so much faster for so much less. And as going fast on the road becomes harder by the day, a bigger bang for your circuit buck becomes a more compelling notion.

Specifications

EngineIn-line 4-cyl, 1999cc
Max power255bhp @ 8200rpm
Max torque190lb ft @ 7500rpm
0-604.8sec (est)
Top speed150mph (est)
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/toyota/yaris/201932/toyota-yaris-gr-4-hot-hatchback-teased-successor-to-the-grmn-and-a-true-wrc
Toyota Yaris

Toyota Yaris GR-4 hot hatchback teased – successor to the GRMN and a true WRC homologation special

6 Nov 2019
Visit/audi/r8/201931/entry-level-audi-r8-v10-rwd-added-to-the-range
Audi R8

Entry-level Audi R8 V10 RWD added to the range

6 Nov 2019
Visit/bmw/m2/201929/track-only-bmw-m2-cs-racing-unveiled
BMW M2

Track-only BMW M2 CS Racing unveiled 

6 Nov 2019
Visit/volvo/v90
Volvo V90 estate

2019 Volvo V90 T6 R-design review - the great estate?

5 Nov 2019
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/caterham/201924/caterham-620r-v-ariel-atom-35-v-elemental-rp1
Caterham

Caterham 620R v Ariel Atom 3.5 v Elemental Rp1

Flight Club - lightweight track day toys with heavyweight powertrains, Steve Sutcliffe compares them on track at Anglesey circuit in Wales
5 Nov 2019
Visit/toyota/yaris/201932/toyota-yaris-gr-4-hot-hatchback-teased-successor-to-the-grmn-and-a-true-wrc
Toyota Yaris

Toyota Yaris GR-4 hot hatchback teased – successor to the GRMN and a true WRC homologation special

Gazoo Racing to follow up its 2019 WRC championship with an all-new car based on the GR-4 hot hatch
6 Nov 2019
Visit/bmw/m2-coupe/21818/bmw-m2-cs-revealed-to-rival-porsche-cayman-gt4
BMW M2 coupe

BMW M2 CS revealed to rival Porsche Cayman GT4 

The range-topping BMW M2 CS is finally here, with specs to match Porsche's 718 Cayman GT4
5 Nov 2019
Visit/hyundai/201819/hyundai-i30-fastback-n-versus-the-nurburgring
Hyundai i30 N

Hyundai i30 Fastback N versus the Nurburgring

We brought the Hyundai i30 Fastback back to its spiritual home in Germany's Eifel mountains, where there is a racing track you might well have heard o…
7 Oct 2019