On 21–22 August, the Celebration of Speed at Embley Park in Hampshire will play host to these three Lancia Martini Racing endurance legends, which formed part of The Campion Collection we were privileged to rehome last year…
Cast your mind back to 2020 and you’ll remember we had the honour of selling ‘The Campion Collection’ of six significant Martini-liveried competition Lancias. Diligently curated by the late Irish-American entrepreneur and racing driver John Campion, the collection comprised three road-racing cars – a 1981 Beta Montecarlo Turbo Group V, a 1982 LC1 Group VI and a 1983 LC2 Group C – and three rally cars: a 1984 037 Rally Evo 2 Group B, a 1985 Delta S4 Corsa Group B and a 1988 Delta HF Integrale 8V Group A. Each played a significant role in forging Lancia’s formidable motorsport legend.
It was a pleasure to find great new homes for each of the cars in the collection, something we know John, a man who cherished them with boundless enthusiasm, would have been very happy about. For those who missed out on seeing these ultra-special Lancias in the metal when we exhibited them at the Cavallino Classic in Florida just before the world fell apart early last year, we have some exciting news. The three road-racing cars will be shown in the United Kingdom on 21–22 August at the Celebration of Speed Weekend in Hampshire.
Situated in the picturesque grounds of Embley Park in Romsey, the Celebration of Speed is a fusion of historic motorsport, fine food and great music, and held to raise money for two fantastic charitable causes: Naomi House & Jacksplace and Sir Jackie Stewart’s Race Against Dementia.
“It was a pleasure to find great new homes for each of the cars in the collection, something we know John, a man who cherished them with boundless enthusiasm, would have been very happy about.”
On the Saturday afternoon, a mouthwatering selection of historically significant competition cars and modern supercars will take to Embley Park’s picturesque driveway-slash-hill course in what promises to be an unforgettable kaleidoscope of colour, speed and sound. And among them will be these three Italian endurance legends, which we hosted briefly here at Belchers Farm late last year for a photocall.
Let’s remind ourselves about why each of these car is so special, beginning with the earliest, the 1981 Lancia Beta Montecarlo Turbo Group IV. An aggressive, sharklike closed coupé designed by that great engineer of elegance Pininfarina, the full-fat Beta Montecarlo Turbo was Lancia’s first Le Mans entrant since the Aurelia. And in vanquishing the opposition in the World Championship for Makes, winning the title in 1980 and ’81 and clinching two class victories at Le Mans, it became Lancia’s most successful endurance racer of all time. Perhaps more importantly, it also convinced the top brass back in Turin to greenlight the gorgeous Group VI LC1 and, ultimately, the Group C LC2.
The Beta Montecarlo Turbo which formed part of ‘The Campion Collection’ was chassis number 1009, a Works entry in the 1981 and ’82 World Sportscar Championships. On another note, has another racing car worn the legendary white, red and blue Martini colours better? We’re not so sure…Click Here to find out more about this 1981 Lancia Beta Montecarlo Turbo Group V.
Next up is the sleek and sultry Lancia LC1, which we’re not afraid to suggest is the most beautiful endurance racing car of all time. This car holds your eyesight hostage, forcing you to trace over its voluptuous curves and comprehend how something so aesthetically minimal can be so damned pretty. The LC1 was Italy’s first ground-effect sports car, utilising aerospace-grade technology and construction methods and tipping the scales at a scarcely believable 640kg. The Works built just four LC1s, of which ‘our’ car is chassis number 0002.
Racing under the Lancia Martini Racing banner, 0002 contested six of the eight rounds of the 1982 FIA World Endurance Championship, and with considerable success. Piloted by the likes of Teo Fabi, Michele Alboreto, Riccardo Patrese and Rolf Stommelen, this car scored class pole positions on four occasions (including at Le Mans) and scored an emphatic victory in the Nürburgring 1,000km race, finishing more than a lap ahead of the second-placed Rondeau Group C car.
“Piloted by the likes of Teo Fabi, Michele Alboreto, Riccardo Patrese and Rolf Stommelen, this LC1 scored an emphatic victory in the Nürburgring 1,000km race, finishing more than a lap ahead of the second-placed Rondeau Group C car.”
This victory was arguably the greatest of the entire LC1 project for Lancia. We must make a special note about this car’s beguiling originality today – it’s a proper time-warp, which we think Tom Shaxson’s done justice in these magnificent photographs.Click Here to find out more about this 1982 Lancia LC1 Group VI.
Completing this Martini-striped Lancia Holy Trinity is the LC2 Group C from 1983. The only Group C prototype to have been powered by a Ferrari engine, these wind-cheating twin-turbo 800HP behemoths were quick. Seriously quick. Over the course of four years, LC2s racked up eleven fastest laps, 13 pole positions and three outright victories.
The ex-Campion LC2 is chassis number 0001, the first example constructed by Lancia, Abarth and Dallara. It entered the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1983. Four-time Daytona 24 Hours winner Bob Wollek and Paolo Barilla blessed it with its career-best performance: outright pole position and second overall in the 1,000km of Kyalami in 1984, the penultimate round of that year’s World Sportscar Championship. When the Works retired the car following its stellar outing in South Africa, chassis 0001 was sold to a privateer Lancia team in Japan, which enrolled the four-time Le Mans-winner and veritable French racing legend Henri Pescarolo to drive the car.Positioned around Belchers Farm static and eerily silent, it’s difficult to comprehend how something so beautiful can be so terrifyingly fast at the same time. Is the LC2 the best looking Group C car? Call us biased, but we reckon so!Click Here to find out more about this 1983 Lancia LC2 Group C.
Collectively, these three endurance legends stand not only as a magnificent celebration and timely reminder of Lancia’s road-racing legacy, but also a tribute to Martini, which is arguably the greatest motorsport sponsorship tie-up of all time. The Celebration of Speed in August will provide Lancia lovers in the United Kingdom with a very rare opportunity to drool over these incredibly special cars in the metal. Surely a three-Martini lunch is as good a reason as any to head to Hampshire?Photos: Tom Shaxson for Girardo & Co. To find out more about the Celebration of Speed, taking place at Embley Park in Hampshire on 21–22 August 2021, or apply for tickets, please click here to visit the event’s official website.