John Cleland (racing driver)

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John Cleland
John Cleland - 2017 BTCC Knockhill (Sunday).jpg
Cleland in 2017.
NationalityBritish
Born (1952-07-15) 15 July 1952 (age 67)
Wishaw, Scotland
BTCC record
TeamsVauxhall
Drivers
championships
2
Wins17 outright, plus 15 more in class
Podium finishes98
Poles19
Fastest laps11
Debut season1989
First win1991 (outright), 1989 (class)
Best championship position1st (1989, 1995)
Final season (1999) position13th

John Cleland (born 15 July 1952) is a retired British auto racing driver, best known for winning the British Touring Car Championship in 1989 and 1995.

Born in Wishaw, Cleland raced autocross and hillclimb in the 1970s, and won his class in the Scottish Rally Championship in 1976 driving a Mitsubishi Colt.[1] He switched to circuit racing, achieving success in British Production Car and Thundersaloon championships in the 1980s, before joining Vauxhall for the 1989 British Touring Car Championship. He was most recently a co-commentator alongside Martin Haven on the English world feed of the World Touring Car Championship.

Racing career[edit]

Pre-BTCC[edit]

In the mid-1980s, Cleland's father Bill purchased the 1984 Bathurst 1000 winning Holden VK Commodore (an Australian car) from Peter Brock's Holden Dealer Team for his son to race in Thundersaloons.[2] During this time the Commodore ran as a Vauxhall Senator.

BTCC[edit]

Cleland adapted quickly to touring car racing and won the BTCC at his first attempt, in the days when the championship consisted of four separate classes, each in their own races but scoring points for the same title. Cleland won 11 of his 13 races in class C for 1.5l cars. The 2-litre Cavalier was introduced the next year, in readiness for the single 2-litre format in 1991. Cleland finished 2nd in class to his rival Frank Sytner in 1990 after a fierce season long battle, and 5th overall. The following year he won three races and finished second in the championship to Will Hoy, taking Vauxhall's first ever overall BTCC win.[3] In 1992 Cleland battled with Hoy and Tim Harvey for the title, but was denied at the last round by a controversial collision with Steve Soper, the teammate of eventual champion Harvey. In 1993 and 1994 the championship was dominated by BMW and Alfa Romeo respectively, and Cleland had to make do with fourth overall in both years.[4]

1995 proved to be the breakthrough year for the Cavalier, ironically in its last year of competition. Despite the Volvo 850 and Renault Laguna often having the edge in speed, in the hands of Rickard Rydell and Alain Menu respectively, Cleland's consistent run of points finishes allied to a four-race winning streak in the mid-season allowed him to beat both drivers to the title.[5]

For 1996, the Cavalier was replaced by the new Vectra, which turned out to be a problematic package. Cleland finished 8th in the title chase. 1997 proved to be even worse, with Cleland slipping to 12th in the standings and Vauxhall finishing bottom of the Constructors' title. 1998 was better, and Cleland took two victories, both at Donington Park - a traditional happy hunting ground for the Scotsman - before a heavy crash at Snetterton interrupted his season. In 1999 Cleland was outpaced by team newcomer Yvan Muller and decided by mid-season to retire. He finished his last race at a wet Silverstone in tenth place, after being given a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pits, which provoked a typically belligerent reaction from Cleland over a live radio link to his car that had been set up by the BBC.[6]

In a 2005 poll by Motorsport Magazine, Cleland was voted the 10th greatest touring car driver of all time.[7]

Post BTCC[edit]

Aside running his long running car dealership, he has done several guest drives since retiring from the BTCC, including a season in a Dodge Viper in the British GT Championship in 2000, co driving with Dave Clark for the CSi Brookspeed team.[8] He later drove in an ASCAR race at Rockingham, twelve Bathurst 1000s between 1993 and 2005 for Advantage Racing, Pinnacle Motorsport, Gibson Motorsport, Triple Eight, Greenfield Mowers Racing and Brad Jones Racing with a best finish of 2nd in the 2001 event, co driving with Brad Jones, and the BTCC Masters race in 2004.[9] He now runs a Volvo dealership in Galashiels Scotland.[10] His son Jamie has started a racing career. Cleland is also a co-commentator for Eurosport on their WTCC coverage. He replaced fellow Scot David Leslie after his death in 2008.

Cleland purchased his old Vauxhall Vectra super tourer, and now races in the Historic Super Touring championship,[11] alongside his contemporaries Patrick Watts and Tim Harvey.[12]

Racing record[edit]

Complete British Touring Car Championship results[edit]

(key) Races in bold indicate pole position (1 point awarded all races 1996 onwards, 1989-1990 in class) Races in italics indicate fastest lap (1 point awarded all races - 1989-1990 in class) * signifies that driver lead feature race for at least one lap (1 point awarded - 1998 onwards)

Year Team Car Class 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 Overall
Pos
Pts Class
Pos
1989 Vauxhall Motorsport Vauxhall Astra GTE 16v C OUL
15
SIL
19
THR
19
DON
9
THR
15
SIL
Ret
SIL
21
BRH
14
SNE
16
BRH
14
BIR
16
DON
17
SIL
20
1st 110 1st
1990 Vauxhall Motorsport Vauxhall Cavalier B OUL
7
DON
Ret
THR
7
SIL
7
OUL
Ret
SIL
9
BRH
Ret
SNE
6
BRH
7
BIR
Ret
DON
12
THR
Ret
SIL
7
5th 128 2nd
1991 Vauxhall Sport Vauxhall Cavalier SIL
3
SNE
9
DON
2
THR
1
SIL
11
BRH
12
SIL
6
DON
1

3
DON
2

10
OUL
1
BRH
1

4
BRH
2

3
DON
1
THR
8
SIL
9
2nd 132
1992 Vauxhall Sport Vauxhall Cavalier SIL
1
THR
1
OUL
11
SNE
2
BRH
1
DON
1

2
DON
2

4
SIL
3
KNO
1

DSQ
KNO
2

3
PEM
Ret
BRH
1

4
BRH
2

3
DON
3
SIL
Ret
3rd 145
1993 Vauxhall Sport Vauxhall Cavalier SIL
3
DON
4
SNE
10
DON
7
OUL
2
BRH
1

Ret
BRH
2

5
PEM
7
SIL
6
KNO
1

1
KNO
2

2
OUL
3
BRH
12
THR
8
DON
1

Ret
DON
2

6
SIL
7
4th 102
1994 Vauxhall Sport Vauxhall Cavalier 16v THR
2
BRH
1

3
BRH
2

2
SNE
Ret
SIL
1

7
SIL
2

4
OUL
7
DON
1

1
DON
2

1
BRH
1

5
BRH
2

4
SIL
DNS
KNO
1

5
KNO
2

6
OUL
Ret
BRH
1

Ret
BRH
2

DNS
SIL
1

4
SIL
2

4
DON
1

8
DON
2

5
4th 177
1995 Vauxhall Sport Vauxhall Cavalier 16v DON
1

1
DON
2

2
BRH
1

Ret
BRH
2

Ret
THR
1

2
THR
2

5
SIL
1

3
SIL
2

5
OUL
1

2
OUL
2

3
BRH
1

2
BRH
2

1
DON
1

1
DON
2

1
SIL
1
KNO
1

5
KNO
2

6
BRH
1

3
BRH
2

1
SNE
1

13
SNE
2

3
OUL
1

3
OUL
2

2
SIL
1

3
SIL
2

3
1st 348
1996 Vauxhall Sport Vauxhall Vectra DON
1

5
DON
2

6
BRH
1

7
BRH
2

Ret
THR
1

4
THR
2

4
SIL
1

10
SIL
2

Ret
OUL
1

Ret
OUL
2

9
SNE
1

3
SNE
2

2
BRH
1

10
BRH
2

4
SIL
1

10
SIL
2

Ret
KNO
1

Ret
KNO
2

6
OUL
1

7
OUL
2

7
THR
1

5
THR
2

7
DON
1

6
DON
2

8
BRH
1

6
BRH
2

Ret
8th 97
1997 Vauxhall Sport Vauxhall Vectra DON
1

11
DON
2

Ret
SIL
1

6
SIL
2

6
THR
1

14
THR
2

9
BRH
1

11
BRH
2

9
OUL
1

5
OUL
2

12
DON
1

12
DON
2

8
CRO
1

6
CRO
2

5
KNO
1

10
KNO
2

6
SNE
1

7
SNE
2

16
THR
1

19
THR
2

11
BRH
1

13
BRH
2

12
SIL
1

12
SIL
2

11
12th 44
1998 Vauxhall Sport Vauxhall Vectra THR
1

4
THR
2

6
SIL
1

6
SIL
2

7
DON
1

1
DON
2

3*
BRH
1

6
BRH
2

9*
OUL
1

7
OUL
2

6*
DON
1

5
DON
2

1*
CRO
1

6
CRO
2

8
SNE
1

9
SNE
2

Ret
THR
1

THR
2

KNO
1

13
KNO
2

Ret
BRH
1

8
BRH
2

Ret
OUL
1

9
OUL
2

11
SIL
1

8
SIL
2

Ret
8th 106
1999 Vauxhall Motorsport Vauxhall Vectra DON
1

8
DON
2

4*
SIL
1

10
SIL
2

8
THR
1

7
THR
2

9
BRH
1

8
BRH
2

9
OUL
1

12
OUL
2

Ret
DON
1

6
DON
2

Ret
CRO
1

9
CRO
2

Ret
SNE
1

12
SNE
2

12
THR
1

12
THR
2

Ret
KNO
1

8
KNO
2

9
BRH
1

11
BRH
2

9
OUL
1

8
OUL
2

Ret
SIL
1

5
SIL
2

10
13th 51
  1. ^ – Race was stopped due to heavy rain. No points were awarded.

Complete Bathurst 1000 results[edit]

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
Pos.
1993 Australia Mobil 1 Racing Australia Peter Brock Holden VP Commodore A 142 17th 17th
1995 Australia Pinnacle Motorsport Australia Tony Scott Holden VR Commodore 158 6th 6th
1996 Australia Gibson Team Sega Australia Mark Skaife Holden VR Commodore 159 7th 7th
1997 United Kingdom Vauxhall Sport United Kingdom James Kaye Vauxhall Vectra 32 DNF DNF
1998 United Kingdom Vauxhall Sport United Kingdom Derek Warwick Vauxhall Vectra ST 157 5th 5th
1999 Australia Greenfield Mowers Racing Australia Cameron McLean Ford EL Falcon 138 DNF DNF
2000 Australia Gibson Motorsport Australia Rodney Forbes Holden VT Commodore 78 DNF DNF
2001 Australia OzEmail Racing Team Australia Brad Jones Ford AU Falcon 161 2nd 2nd
2002 Australia OzEmail Racing Team Australia Tim Leahey Ford AU Falcon 157 19th 19th
2003 Australia OzEmail Racing Team Australia Andrew Jones Ford BA Falcon 160 9th 9th
2004 Australia OzEmail Racing Team Australia Andrew Jones Ford BA Falcon 29 DNF DNF
2005 Australia Team BOC Australia Dale Brede Ford BA Falcon 159 7th 7th

Complete British GT Championship results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Team Car Class 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Pos Points
2000 CSi Brookspeed Racing Chrysler Viper GTS-R GT THR
1

CRO
1

OUL
1

Ret
DON
1

4
SIL
1

3
BRH
1

WD
DON
1

3
CRO
1

WD
SIL
1

SNE
1

SPA
1

SIL
1

21st 28
Cirtek Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-R GTO THR
1

5
CRO
1

WD
OUL
1

DON
1

SIL
1

BRH
1

DON
1

CRO
1

SIL
1

SNE
1

SPA
1

SIL
1

25th 12

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.motorsportmagazine.com/archive/article/november-2005/34/hot-seat-john-cleland
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ McGill, Jim (4 September 2006). "Podium finish for Shedden after surviving 100mph crash". Edinburgh Evening News. Johnston Press Digital Publishing. Retrieved 16 December 2009.
  4. ^ http://www.insidebtcc.com/vauxhall-btcc-drivers/
  5. ^ http://www.vauxhallcavalier.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=75&t=2770
  6. ^ http://www.touringcartimes.com/2014/07/29/gallery-25-years-of-vauxhall-in-the-btcc/
  7. ^ http://www.motorsportmagazine.com/archive/article/february-2005/38/top-20-tin-top-drivers
  8. ^ http://tentenths.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3467
  9. ^ "Six more star names for BTCC Masters grid". seatsportuk.co.uk. SEAT Sport. 16 August 2004. Archived from the original on 10 September 2004. Retrieved 16 December 2009.
  10. ^ "Clelands". Clelands Motors. Cleland of the Borders. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
  11. ^ http://www.supertcc.com/
  12. ^ http://www.collierhousehold.co.uk/2014/06/19/decade-btcc-relived-super-tourers/

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Gabriele Tarquini
Autosport
National Racing Driver of the Year

1995
Succeeded by
Frank Biela
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Frank Sytner
British Touring Car Champion
1989
Succeeded by
Robb Gravett
Preceded by
Gabriele Tarquini
British Touring Car Champion
1995
Succeeded by
Frank Biela