40 years ago – ŠKODA 130 RS wins the 1981 European Touring Car Championship

› Based on the ŠKODA 110 R road car, the 130 RS celebrated class victories on rally stages and circuits from the mid-1970s to the beginning of the 1980s
› 1,3 litre rear-mounted engine delivered in excess of 140 hp
› Aluminium alloy and glass-fibre components for the widened body kept the weight on the class limit of 720 kilograms
› ŠKODA finished already the 1980 European Touring Car Championship (ETCC) second overall, climbing one step higher the following year
› In 1981, all-Czech driver squad celebrated seven class wins in eight races

Mladá Boleslav, 27 September 2021 – After celebrating class wins in the World Rally Championship (WRC) at the end of the 1970s, the ŠKODA 130 RS accepted a new challenge in the European Touring Car Championship (ETCC). Starting the campaign with second overall in 1980, the following year brought the biggest success ever for the versatile Czech touring car. The 1981 season came to a close with the chequered flag in Zolder/Belgium on 27 September. With seven division victories, ŠKODA had claimed the manufacturers’ title in the era’s most popular championship for production-based race cars.

Since 1976, the European Touring Car Championship (ETCC) allowed cars prepared to group 5 and group 2 specifications. While the highly sophisticated – thus very expensive – silhouette group 5 formula soon faded into extinction, the more standard group 2 received attention from a number of manufacturers and the fans.

At that time, the series drew 100,000s of spectators to classic tracks like the Nurburgring-Nordschleife, Silverstone or Monza. The Grand Prix Brno in then Czechoslovakia was one of the rare occasions, the international racing scene visited the Eastern side of the so-called Iron Curtain.

The field was made up of several divisions related to engine capacity, Division 1 setting the limit at a displacement of 1,300 cubic centimetres. Championship points in the manufacturers’ classification were awarded to the division result. Thus, the series was not only attractive for builders of big cars, but also for makers of road cars with relatively small engines.

The motorsport department developed the ŠKODA 110 R Coupé with rear engine and rear-wheel drive into a thoroughbred racing car – the 130 RS. The group 2 version was homologated on 1 May 1975. When ŠKODA decided to join the ETCC, the car had already been successful in the World Rally Championship, for example scoring a 1-2 in its class at the Rallye Monte-Carlo 1977. The ŠKODA 130 RS also had celebrated countless victories on East European circuits.

The weight limit in division 1 stood at a very low 720 kilograms. So, the ŠKODA engineers could use alloy for door skins, roof and the front hood and even fibre glass for front and rear fenders and the engine cover. With a block manufactured from alloy, the ŠKODA 120 S derived engine already had racing in the genes. Bored to 1.3 litres, modified with a special head, extra-long intakes and breathing through two twin-choke Weber carburettors with 40 or 45 millimetres diameter,
the water-cooled four cylinder delivered between 125 and 142 hp, depending on the race characteristics. A dry-sump lubrification system kept oil pressure in check under most demanding racing conditions. A five-speed gearbox – later a four-speed version was homologated – and a limited-slip differential transferred the engine power to the track. Brakes from Girling and Koni shock absorbers as well as Goodyear tyres fitted on 13 or 15 inch light alloy rims completed the equipment.

Over the years, the factory-based motorsport department built 200 ŠKODA 130 RS. Additionally, a lot of private teams converted 110 R road cars into their own 130 RS, making the car a common sight on race and rally tracks especially in Eastern Europe.

Taking the European Touring Car Championship by storm
When the first ŠKODA 130 RS appeared in the ETCC of 1980, their competitors in division 1 mainly came from Alfa Romeo and Fiat, later also Audi joined the battle for Division 1 victories. The ŠKODA 130 RS machines started winning immediately, scoring seven division victories from nine races. As only the seven best results counted for the overall score, ŠKODA collected the maximum total of 140 points – the same amount as three other manufacturers. According to the regulations, in such an ex aequo situation the better eighth result had to be taken into account. Thus, the Czech brand was relegated to second overall.

The 1981 ETCC season was made up of eight races, most of them going over a distance of 500 kilometres. The factory supported ŠKODA teams fielded all Czech crews. As it was common practice for the best drivers to share two cars during the same race, frequently their names appeared in different positions in the final result. For example, when ŠKODA started the season by winning division 1 at the Monza 4 hours race, Břetislav Enge and Zdeněk Vojtěch were classified first and third as well. The duo, supported by different third drivers, Václav Bervid and Jan Šenkýř, also won the division at the 500 kilometres races in Vallelunga close to the Italian capital Rome, in Donington and Enna-Pergusa on Sicily in addition to their home game at the Grand Prix Brno and the Tourist Trophy on the legendary Silverstone circuit. Josef Michl, Oldřich Vaníček and Petr Martinovský scored two more division victories at the wheel of the ŠKODA 130 RS, giving the brand seven wins out of the year’s first seven races. Only at the season closing EG Trophy in Zolder on 27 September 1981, there was another team on the top step of the podium.

Again, only the seven best results counted for the overall score. ŠKODA was awarded a total of 140 points for seven division victories – the same amount as BMW in division 5. Also again, the eighth result was taken into account. ŠKODA nominated third position from Zolder, a place BMW couldn’t match. Finally, the manufacturers’ title of the European Touring Car Championship went to Mladá Boleslav.

For the 1982 season, the ETCC fundamentally changed its technical regulations.
The ŠKODA 130 RS was no longer eligible. The brand switched its motorsports focus back to rallying again, developing the successor model ŠKODA 130 LR into another class-winning machine.

ŠKODA 130 RS Group 2 / Specifications

Engine:
straight four-cylinder, four stroke, eight overhead valves normally aspirated, two double-choke 40 carburettors (alt. 45 mm), water-cooled, dry sump oil lubrification, located rear longitudinal with 30o inclination to co-driver’s side, Bore x Stroke 75.5 x 72.0 mm, Capacity 1,289 cc; evolution variant: 75.7 x 72.0 mm, Capacity 1,299 cc Compression Ratio 10.0 : 1

Power Output:
125 – 142 hp at 8,500 rpm

Gearbox:
manual, 5 speed (from 1976: 4 speed) with different ratios

Chassis:
2-door coupe body made from steel front hood, door skins and roof made from aluminium alloy, front and rear fenders, engine cover and front spoiler made from fibre-glass, rear and side windows made from Perspex

Suspension:
Front: double wishbones with coil springs, telescopic shock absorbers and roll bar
Rear: semi trailing arm with coil springs, telescopic shock absorbers and roll bar

Brakes:
Front: discs, 259 mm diameter, Girling callipers
Rear: drums, 230 mm diameter

Wheels:
diameter 13 or 15 inch, maximum width for ETCC: 9 inch

Dimensions:
Length: 4,020 mm
Width: 1,720 mm; from 1976: 1670 mm
Wheelbase: 2,400 mm
minimum weight for ETCC: 720 kgs

European Touring Car Championship 1981 / Results of ŠKODA 130 RS teams*

4 hours Monza (I):
1. Břetislav Enge/Václav Bervid/Zdeněk Vojtěch
3. Jan Šenkýř/Břetislav Enge/Zdeněk Vojtěch

500 kms Vallelunga (I):
1. Jan Šenkýř/Bratislav Enge/Zdeněk Vojtěch
2. Břetislav Enge/Zdeněk Vojtěch
3. Adolf Fešárek/Josef Sivík

500 kms Donington (GB):
1. Břetislav Enge/Zdeněk Vojtěch
3. Adolf Fešárek/Josef Sivík

Austria Trophäe Salzburg (A)
1. Josef Michl/Oldřich Vaníček

Grand Prix Brno (Czechoslovakia)
1. Břetislav Enge/Zdeněk Vojtěch
2. Josef Michl/Oldřich Vaníček/Petr Martinovský
3. Jan Šenkýř/Zdeněk Vojtěch
4. Adolf Fešárek/Josef Sivík/Vít Kotas

500 kms Enna-Pergusa (I)
1. Jan Šenkýř/Břetislav Enge/Zdeněk Vojtěch
3. Josef Michl/Oldřich Vaníček/Petr Martinovský
4. Břetislav Enge/Zdeněk Vojtěch

Silverstone Tourist Trophy (GB)
1. Jan Šenkýř/Břetislav Enge/Zdeněk Vojtěch
3. Josef Michl/Oldřich Vaníček/Petr Martinovský

EG Trophy Zolder (B)
3. Josef Michl/Oldřich Vaníček/Petr Martinovský
4. Adolf Fešárek/Josef Sivík

* in division 1 (group 2 cars up to 1,300 cc displacement)

European Touring Car Championship 1981 / Manufacturers’ Classification
1. ŠKODA, 140 points*
2. BMW, 140 points*
3. Ford, 117 points
4. Audi, 110 points
5. Mazda, 92 points
6. Opel, 58 points

* seven best results from eight races counted, ŠKODA with the better eighth result (ex aequo rule)

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