Ford Escort MK2 RS1800
In 1968, Ford introduced the Escort as its next-generation family car. It became a sales hit as the company proudly announced six years later that two million Escorts had been built. It was a unique milestone, as no Ford built outside the United States achieved such a feat before. After six years of production, however, the car could use an update. Thus Ford introduced the Escort Mk2 in1975. The design changed noticeably, looking a lot more boxy than its predecessor.
Logically, attention quickly turned to racing. Erich Zakowski and his Zakspeed squad had carried the banner for Ford in the Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft (DRM) series, capturing successive titles between 1971 and 1974. In 1975, the second-generation Escort also entered the series. It wouldn’t go smoothly, as there was some tension between team and manufacturer.
For the opening race of the season, Klaus Ludwig took to the grid in the new Escort. There was, however, a key difference. This car had not been built by Zakspeed. Instead, Ford’s works division in Cologne constructed the car and gave it to the team. This frustrated Zakowkski. Ludwig was placed at the team by Ford and given the new car while Hans Heyer, a paying driver, made do with a Mk1 car from the previous season. Zakowski feared a rivalry between his drivers, something they could not afford against increasingly quick opposition from BMW.
As expected, the two drivers became close rivals over the opening races of the season and regularly traded victories. However, for round seven at the Nürburgring, Zakowksi fired back at Ford in spectacular fashion. No longer was Heyer confined to an older generation car but he instead received a brand new, Zakspeed-built Escort RS1800.
The new car impressed immediately. Lighter and lower, it proved to be a formidable sprint racer. It was powered by a 2,0-litre Ford BDA inline-four engine, prepared by Cosworth with a dry-sump oil system and Kugelfischer fuel injection. It weighed only 850 kilos, stood on 15-inch BBS wheels and was given a five-speed ZF manual gearbox. The car is widely regarded as the ‘best Escort ever’ and one of the greatest Group 2 racers ever constructed. Heyer immediately proved why, outclassing Ludwig on the Nordschleife en route to victory while his rival only finished fifth.
Unfortunately, the car was not destined for a long lifespan. After the Nürburgring round the team’s lineup received a significant overhaul. Ludwig moved from Division II to the faster Division I to pilot a Capri RS3100. As a result, Heyer would contest no further races in Zakspeed’s superweapon as he instead drove the Ford works car for the remainder of the season. With his main rival out of the picture, he promptly secured the Division II title.
This particular Escort (chassis ZAK MK2-001/75R) is a Zakspeed-built replica and a unique reminder of a special time in German motorsport. The same 2,0-liter inline four engine lies under the hood, the last one with a dry sump system before it would be banned by the FIA for 1976. The car is currently for sale with all necessary documentation including Historic Technical Passport (HTP). The car is homologated for Group 2 and can be raced in historic series in multiple countries. Please get in touch for more information and pricing.Back