20 years since Colin McRae's WRC victory - RAC Rally 1995

This November marks 20 years since Colin McRae became World Rally Champion; updated with the 1995 RAC Rally

Naturally, our first image is from the Network Q RAC Rally itself, with McRae at the wheel of the famous L555 BAT. Prepared by Prodrive, the Impreza was built to Group A regulations.

Its styling differed little to the road car, but under the bonnet its 1994cc, four-cylinder boxer engine developed between 320-330bhp – over a hundred horses more than the road car it was based on.

McRae is said to have initially found the Impreza’s handling twitchy, having become used to the longer wheelbase of its Legacy predecessor – but throughout 1994 and particularly 1995, McRae and teammate Carlos Sainz got to grips with the compact saloon’s handling.

McRae rounded out the 1994 season in style, winning that year’s RAC Rally – and while he failed to score a victory until half way through the 1995 season, a series of strong results saw him finally overhaul Sainz with a victory at the last round in 1995.

Notable in this photograph is the livery on the 1995 event. While tobacco sponsorship hadn’t yet been banned from motorsport as a whole, certain countries – including the UK – still restricted the use of sponsorship on vehicles.

As a result, the familiar 555 livery was instead represented by a series of brackets. Despite (or perhaps because of) its simplicity, it remains one of rallying’s most distinctive colour schemes.


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