McRae on a stage rally in Scotland. April 1993
28 October 1943 |
|World Rally Championship record|
|Teams||Vauxhall, Opel, Austin Rover|
|First rally||1976 RAC Rally|
|Last rally||2015 Wales Rally GB|
Jimmy McRae (born 28 October 1943) is a British rally driver. He was highly successful in the British Rally Championship, winning the title five times in 1981, 1982, 1984, 1987 and 1988. In the European Rally Championship for drivers, he was runner-up in 1982, while his highest placing in the World Rally Championship was fifteenth in 1983. Aside from his rallying career, McRae has maintained and run a very busy plumbing business in his home town of Lanark. Jimmy and his wife Margaret had three sons, Colin, Alister and Stuart. He is the father of World Rally Championship driver Alister McRae, and the late 1995 World Rally Champion Colin McRae.
He started his rallying at the age of 31 driving his own Mk1 Cortina fitted with Lotus running gear followed by an Escort Mk1 twin cam. The following year he approached SMT and drove a Group 1 Vauxhall Magnum for them culminating in a works drive the following year in a DTV Gp 1 Magnum. In 1978 he was promoted to the full DTV team and drove a Group 4 Vauxhall Chevette HS then HSR in the British Rally Championship alongside a single cam Chevette in the Castrol Autosport Series, narrowly missing out on the title to Malcolm Wilson.
Throughout his career, McRae drove for a number of different teams, including Vauxhall, Opel & Ford reaching a pinnacle during his spell in the Rothmans Rally Team, driving an Opel Manta 400. During his time at Rothmans, his teammates were Ari Vatanen, Walter Röhrl and Henri Toivonen. He then progressed to the venerable MG Metro 6R4.
Though mostly retired from motorsport now, McRae still occasionally competes on historic rallies and some Scottish Rally Championship events, with some occasional outings on the Wales Rally GB. In 2006 he won the Roger Albert Clark Rally in a Stobart Motorsport sponsored Mark 2 Ford Escort.
In September 2008, McRae was one of a number of ex-world and British champions to take part in the Colin McRae Forest Stages Rally in memory of his son, who died in 2007. He drove a Porsche 911 on the rally. The impressive entry list included ex-World Championship drivers Hannu Mikkola, Ari Vatanen, Björn Waldegård, Stig Blomqvist, Malcolm Wilson, Russell Brookes, Andrew Cowan and Louise Aitken-Walker.
McRae took part in the 2014 British Historic Championship in a Firenza Can Am finishing fourth. He also took part in the 2014 Wales Rally GB for the first time in ten years.
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