What Is Your Favorite Non-Factory Racing Team From The History Of Motorsport?
Whenever there’s a major vintage automobile auction these days, the words “ex-works race car” are sure to make an appearance in the highlighted lots. In much the same way genuine parts retail for multiples of what a third-party might charge you, any piece of motorsport history with direct ties to the manufacturer is going to command a premium over some shed-built special. That’s obviously a gross underestimation of the rest of the grid—though it’s certainly applicable to even some of the brand names—and small teams and privateers have surely embarrassed the big-budget boys from time to time, but it seems there’s always a bit more reverence in reserve for the official factory efforts. The lines often blur though; sometimes private teams will receive support from above to help the marque win a championship in addition to just the driver, and often they will overlap entirely, with teams being absorbed or else rebranded quite frequently. Some even ventured out into the world of production cars.
Included in the historical image set here are a few of the more popular examples like Alpina and N.A.R.T., both of which worked closely with BMW and Ferrari, respectively, but then there are those like John Wyer and his development and racing outfit J.W. Automotive Engineering Ltd. who would apply their talents on a more international scale—in the case of Wyer, he helped Ford get the GT40 program going, worked alongside Porsche on the early 917s, and built his own series of Mirage race cars which spanned enclosed sports cars and open-cockpit Le Mans-winning prototypes. Also, who could forget the time the drug-dealing brothers Whittington won Le Mans in their cash-purchased Kremer K3?
These types of relationships are still being formed and dissolved today, so it’s not necessarily a question of which were you favorites from the past, though I think we can all agree the most compelling tales are those with a few decades of legacy-building stacked on top. That said, which non-works racing teams would you have rooted for?