Revington TRS Stars at Le Mans
Published: 09 Aug 2006
It was a sight that's not been seen for 45 years - a Triumph TRS competing at the legendary Le Mans circuit.
And what a sight it was, the Revington TRS driven by Nick Marsh and Tony Dron not only finished this year's Le Mans Classic without missing a beat, but came home an impressive 23rd overall in the outright classification in Group Four. It also finished ahead of many of the more powerful, ex-competition machines, such as Ford GT40s, AC Cobras and a host of Ferraris.
The race was the culmination of many years work for the car's owner, Paul Gerring and the man behind the reincarnation of the TRS, Neil Revington. But this is not the end of the story ... far from it!
In 1998 work began on recreating one of the cars that were built by Standard Triumph's competition department to compete at Le Mans in 1960 and 1961. After much research and with extensive reference into its racing ancestry, work on the first Revington TRS Le Mans commenced and, after spending two years being built, the car was finally completed in 2002.
Initially used on the road and for displays and exhibitions, the Revington TRS Le Mans took pride of place at this year's Historic Motorsport Show in February, where it caught the eye of experienced racing driver and journalist Tony Dron. Impressed with the accurate replication of the 1960s original, Dron offered to drive the car in the Le Mans Classic and following the show, an entry into this well-subscribed and prestigious event was applied for.
To ensure a truly historic occasion, entries are ordinarily only accepted for cars of the make and type that raced at Le Mans between 1923 and 1979. However, because of the accuracy in the reproduction of the Revington TRS Le Mans, the entry was accepted - much to the delight of the team.
Preparation for the race then commenced and in order to comply with competition regulations and to improve the car's performance in racing conditions, a number of modifications were made, such as the fitting of a roll-cage, a cut-down screen, full harnesses and a number of mechanical tweaks.
A series of tests in race trim then followed before the big day when more than 380 cars lined up to do battle. The field was split into six classes: 1923-1939, 1949-1956, 1957-1961, 1962-1965, 1966-1971 and 1972-1979, with the Revington TRS Le Mans classified in class four.
The race, which took place on Saturday and Sunday, 8th & 9th July, featured the same famous circuit used for the modern 24-hour race, with its mixture of specially built race-track sections and closed roads which provided competitors with an 8.482 mile lap and included the notorious Mulsanne straight.
A pre-event practice session was to provide the first test for the Revington TRS. Things went well and, with no problems reported, Dron qualified 50th out of 70 cars. Now this might not sound too impressive, but it was the first time the car had been on a track and pitched against a field of thoroughbred racing machinery.
In keeping with tradition, racing started at 4.00 pm on Saturday and continued until the same time on Sunday. However, because of the age of many of the cars, each of the six classes competed for three 45min sessions, each including a compulsory pit stop for a change of driver if needed.
To add to the nostalgia, drivers relived the famous Le Mans start by running across the track to their cars, but in these safety-conscious times, it was only for show and the real racing commenced with a rolling start.
With a commitment to a Ferrari team which had to be fulfilled, Dron was disappointed not to be able to drive the first of the three races in the TRS so regular classic car racer Nick Marsh was brought in to fulfill the role.
Mindful that there were three races ahead, Marsh opted for a cautious start, but soon became confident in the handling and stability of the TRS and began to increase the pace, his progress through the field assisted as other competitors around him dropped back or retired with mechanical difficulties - or even accidents.
With no problems whatsoever, Marsh finished race one in 30th position and prepared himself for the challenge of race two - which began at 4.00 o'clock in the morning and took place in the dark! Even though it was Marsh's first ever race in these conditions, he circulated at a consistent pace, only dropping a few seconds per lap to his daylight times and after a faultless performance Marsh crossed the line in 30th position.
And so to race three and enter Tony Dron, who was eager to get behind the wheel of the Revington TRS. After starting well it wasn't long before the red flags came out when another competitor crashed heavily and when the race got underway again, Dron put his head down and got on with the job.
Although the road-going TRS did not have the out-and-out speed on the straights and was being caught and passed by the more powerful cars, Dron was making up time under braking and in the bends, delighting the crowd with a fine display of committed driving as he drifted the car through the corners.
Lap-by-lap he made up places and at the end of the race, Dron and the team were delighted to end the final race of the weekend in 27th place, a result which produced an aggregate score of 23rd in group four, out of 70 starters.
At the finish Dron praised the performance of the Revington TRS: "Considering the car has not raced before and its fitted with a road engine, I'm impressed with it. It may not have had the pace on the straights, but it handled so well under braking and through the corners. To finish where we did is testimony to Neil and the team. They did a great job in preparing the car so it ran 100% throughout the three races."
Nick Marsh was also pleased with the car and the outcome of the weekend: "It was a real privilege to be the first driver to ever race the Revington TRS - and to be the first to drive this car at Le Mans since the works team competed there 45 years ago. I really enjoyed driving it and was very impressed with its handling and reliability - I can't wait to do it again!"
The Owner of the Revington TRS, Paul Gerring was delighted that his car had gone so well and was brought home without a scratch: "I have to admit that I was a little apprehensive about seeing my car race for the first time. But once the adrenalin cuts in and the drivers started to move up the field, then it was all about getting to the finish in the highest position possible. I was very pleased that we finished ahead of the MGBs, which were the cars we were setting our sights on. I've got the bug now and I'm sure this won't be the last time we see the Revington TRS racing."
Neil Revington was initially pleased that the TRS he created had been accepted to compete in the Le Mans Classic - and then to perform as it did was a real bonus: "As the rules of entry state that cars must be authentic to the type that raced previously at Le Mans, I was delighted when ours was accepted. It means it is a very close reproduction of the original, which is exactly what we set out to do. Then, for the car to finish without a problem after lapping the Le Mans circuit for over two hours is fantastic. I'm very pleased with the result."
The team are now contemplating their next move and plans are already afoot to replace the engine with a more powerful unit. Now, with the experience of the Le Mans Classic behind them, the team are fired up for more and it's highly likely the car will be back in action again soon and return to Le Mans again next year to uphold its honour.
Revington TR is currently planning to put its TRS Le Mans into production and is intending to offer cars for sale before the end of the year.
Click here to view the complete Le Mans Classic 2006 photo gallery. Also click on images to enlarge.
The Revington TRS Le Mans race entry was made by the TR Register. Sponsors include: Schering Plough Animal Health, Merial Animal Health, Virbac Animal Health, Fort Dodge Animal Health, Janssen Animal Health, MillHouse Ltd, Kruuse, Royal Canin, Performance Plastics and Revington TR.