Ford Capri (Mk3) Group 5 Zakspeed 1981

  • Thread starter StarLight

StarLight Garage presents the Zakspeed Ford Capri Group 5 specs from 1981.
And this livery is awesome, so we want this car with livery too, don't you agree?


Soon after the popular 'Group 5' regulations were adopted by the competitive German DRM Championship (a predecessor of the current DTM), Ford of Cologne commissioned long-time partners Zakspeed to prepare a suitable racer based on the third generation Capri, which was due in 1978. The DRM Championship was split was into two devisions; the first for engines displacing over two litres and the second for engines of under two litres.

Although Group 5 regulations did dictate that the racers had to be based on production road cars, relatively few actual components had to be carried over. This allowed Zakspeed to craft a purpose-built spaceframe chassis. Construction from aluminium tubing and incorporating the roof structure from the production Capri this very lightweight structure tipped the scales at just 70 kg. In addition to the road car roof, the new chassis also used the same windscreen and side windows dimensions to comply with the regulations.

Ford and Zakspeed opted to run in Division 2 with a turbo-charged four cylinder engine. Its cast-iron block was derived from the production 'Kent' engine and fitted with the Cosworth developed alloy 'BDA' head. This featured twin overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder. Taking in account the 1.4x equivalency formula for turbo-charged engines, the Zakspeed engine displaced just over 1.4 litres. Equipped with fuel injection and a KKK turbo-charger, the new engine produced around 370 bhp in its first guise.

Mated to a Getrag-sourced, five-speed gearbox, the compact engine was mounted slightly off-set to the right in the chassis. Much of the Zakspeed Capri's running gear was derived from the earlier Capri RS3100 racing car also developed by the German team for Ford. Among these tried and trusted components were the front suspension, rear axle and brakes. For an optimal weight balance, the new racer also incorporated the RS3100's rear-mounted radiators.

In addition to the roofline and the glass, the Group 5 Capri also sported the production car's radiator grille. This fed fresh air to a pair of intercoolers mounted ahead of the engine. The rest of the very wide 'silhouette' body was crafted in lightweight Kevlar composites. The nose featured a full-width splitter and the rear deck sported an equally impressive wing. Thanks to the use of alloy and composite materials throughout the car, the Ford Zakspeed Capri weighed less than 800 kg.

Initially the revised engines displaced just over 1.5 litre but eventually a 1.7 litre was available using a new aluminium block. A twin turbocharger setup was also tried but found ineffective. In ultimate Division 2 guise, the tiny engine produced a staggering 495 bhp while the most powerful variants pumped out close to 600 bhp. From 1980, wing sizes were limited but Zakspeed compensated for the loss of downforce by adding ground-effect tunnels.

During the 1980 and and 1981 season, the Zakspeed Capris were continued to be raced with great success in both divisions. Heyer had moved to join Lancia but very worthy replacements were found in Klaus Ludwig and Manfred Winkelhock. The former would go on to win the 1981 DRM Championship outright, beating the much larger engined Porsches.

Country of origin: United States
Produced in: 1981
Numbers built: 6

Configuration: Ford / Zakspeed BDA Straight 4
Location: Front, longitudinally mounted
Construction: cast-iron block, light alloy head
Displacement: 1.426 liter / 87 cu in
Bore / Stroke: 80.0 mm (3.1 in) / 71.0 mm (2.8 in)
Compression: 6.9:1
Valvetrain: 4 valves / cylinder, DOHC
Fuel feed: Kugelfischer Fuel Injection
Aspiration: Garrett Turbo
Power: 495 bhp / 369 KW
Torque: 402 Nm / 297 ft lbs @ 7500 rpm
BHP/Liter: 347 bhp / liter

Body: Kevlar panels
Chassis: Aluminium spaceframe
Front suspension: McPherson struts, Bilstein shock absorbers
Rear suspension: Live axle, coil springs, Bilstein shock absorbers
Brakes: Ventilated discs, all-round
Gearbox: Getrag 5 speed Manual
Drive: Rear wheel drive

Weight: 895 kilo / 1973.1 lbs
Length: 5060 mm (199.2 in)
Width: 1980 mm (78 in)
Height: 1150 mm (45.3 in)
Wheelbase (fr/r): 2550 mm (100.4 in) / 1550 mm (61 in)
Track: 1775 mm (69.9 in)

Front: Goodyear 10.0/225 × 16
Rear: Goodyear 12.5/225 × 19

Performance figures
Power to weight: 0.55 bhp / kg








Last edited:
This should go straight to the top of the list to be honest. I remember Speedhunters did an amazing feature for it at some point.

EDIT: Here it is, unfortunately the pictures aren't high definition but it's still a very interesting read.
Last edited:
I`m digging this car very very much - Group 5 cars in general.

But talking of the Zakspeed Capri I prefer this livery more (obviously... because German... Well, it looks more Belgian though. :lol:)


I agree, but this is not the car from 1981 but from the 70's ... and that is another story.

This should go straight to the top of the list to be honest. I remember Speedhunters did an amazing feature for it at some point.

EDIT: Here it is, unfortunately the pictures aren't high definition but it's still a very interesting read.

Thanks for adding the Speedhunters article.