Competition Versions - The early Years
Unipower GT's have taken part in many National and International races across Continents over the years, its launch at the Racing Car Show in 1967, through to today. Designed as a road-car based on the design of Val Dare-Bryan’s Attila Mk 5, there were initially no factory designated 'Works' competition cars, as it had never been intended to go racing. However, in 1968 following a successful development collaboration with an early customer, who in January 1966 had commissioned a Unipower GT Competition version, the factory entered that car in some UK National races. Then in 1969 Piers Weld-Forester announced that they would enter the World Sports Car Championship with one and sometimes two cars, to campaign the International Endurance races in Group 4. Results were mixed, caused in the main by often inadequate levels of preparation/testing, impacted on by the very tight International race schedule and the understandable technical issues encountered by what was a very amateur team, competing at World Sports Car Championship level. The sheer dedication and driver talent though, with drivers like Andrew Hedges (MG Works driver), Roger Hurst and Piers Weld-Forester, mixed with the occasional pay-drive seat, was a real David & Goliath struggle against the established racing teams of that period.
That they took on the best at races like the Targa Florio (Qualified 2nd behind a Porsche 908), Le Mans (One driver failed to qualify), Nürburgring 500kms (9th), Barcelona 12hrs (DNF after 9hrs) and other such Endurance races, with often very encouraging initial results, was remarkable and testimony to the cars inherently good design as a road car. (see The History of the Unipower GT)
Only six cars were ever built and supplied by the Factory as Unipower Competition GT cars as true 'Competition' cars. These were individually built with a specially stiffened chassis having additional diagonal bracing, widened wheel arches, Front Air-Dam (sometimes), fully rose-jointed suspension, Disc-brakes front & rear, a Bag-tank fuel cell (mostly), anti-roll bars front & rear, a Roll-over protection, specially modified driver’s seat, full-harness seat belts, stiffer coil-springs with adjustable dampers and Lightweight ( later cars had 12" diameter ) Minilite magnesium wheels together with competition tyres. Importantly it is interesting here that ALL the three 'Factory' entered cars had standard shaped bodies other than the fitment of wider wheel arches (and often different in shape). They were not fitted with the wider rear bodywork/sills, supplied as an unofficial option, as was often fitted to customer cars, thought so as to comply with Homologation regulations, as the wider rear bodywork was never homologated.
Of note here, there was one car imported into Spain by the importer, designated as 'Comp GT'. This was however a road-spec car and was given this nomenclature to comply with the Import regulations, where import tax was due when more than one specific model was being imported.
It is often also quoted that cars, other than the six cars specified below, was/is a 'Lightweight' competition Unipower GT or a Works car. This is misleading, as the removal of all non-essential parts associated with road-spec, was the only contributor to being 'Lightweight', given the bodies were made with typically the same 'lay-up' weight. Sometimes Road-spec cars were fitted with adjustable dampers and occasionally some limited rose-jointed suspension, many retro-fitted with a wider bodied rear section and which went on to compete in many events and races.
All Unipower GT Competition chassis were the same, bar some top damper mounting point changes and with the single exception of Chassis #766.2 which was specially modified to enable a special engine to be fitted. The ONLY true 'Lightweight' car was Chassis #UWF1007, which was a special car built by UWF with bodywork supplied by Specialised Mouldings with a very flimsy lay-up of fibre-glass, stiffened by the application of a mesh of carbon-fibre strands, a very innovative development at the time. This was the car that would be used for the abortive attempt a Le Mans in June 1969 and destroyed later in 1970 at the Nürburgring.
It is indeed testimony to the Unipower GT’s following, that they are still being entered in competitive events around the World, mostly in the UK, USA and Switzerland.
Factory 'Works' entered cars
Chassis # Built History
766.2 April 1966 Survives today in UK
UWF1XXX February 1969 Written off at Targa Florio 1969
UWF1007 March 1969 Written off at Nürburgring 1970
Other non-factory cars were raced by a number of talented privateer entrants in the UK, Europe and the USA, many of which used modified 'road spec' cars rather than 'Comp spec' cars, again to good effect.
Chassis # Built History
1266.9 December 1966 Survives today in UK
867.23 July 1967 Survives today in the USA
768.42 July 1968 Survives today in the USA
Whilst the following table of events over the years 1967 – 1970, by both true Competition chassis (see above) and Road-spec cars modified for competition, the Club has references to many other events in this period, which it is researching for definitive and collaborative confirmation, after which it will be updated accordingly. Considerable detail of subsequent years participation through to today, is also held and will be the subject of further releases on this website.
If anyone has any details of any other races not listed or can provide any more detail to those listed, then the Club would welcome any verified corrections. Please communicate any such through the Contact Page on this website.
© Gerry Hulford
DNA - Did not Arrive
DNF - Did not Finish
DNQ - Did not Qualify
© Gerry Hulford