Former Rocket Scientist Designs Group C Inspired racecar

Former Rocket Scientist Designs Group C Inspired racecar

Surrey-based man in build stage of Group C-inspired race car for the road and racetrack

Ever since Mark Sparrow was 11, he loved Group C race cars. As a boy he saw the Group C cars racing at Le Mans 1989 and that love of the power, speed and drama of the sport took hold and never let go. Like many people, Sparrow dreamt of creating his own version of the race cars he loved; however, unlike most people, he got to work and made building his own endurance racing car a reality at his facilities in Surrey.

Introducing the Tertre Rouge Race Car

The endurance racing car is designed to match or exceed the performance of a late 1980s high-end Group C car and to give the same driving experience. Just like its predecessors, the race car has no driver aids, has around 800bhp/ton which is coupled with over 1000kgs of downforce and huge tyres. The ride height can be dropped for racing, and its road wheels and tyres have the same diameter as the Group C tyres, making them easy to be swapped out.

The engine has the same closed deck block and modifications, but uses newer technology and equipment than the 1989 Le Mans and 1989 & 1990 World Sportscar Championship-winning Sauber Mercedes it is based upon.

The chassis is designed to meet and exceed the MSA and FIA requirements, and contains an integrated survival cell with integrated crash structures. It has been designed to give great access during pit stops and have easily interchangeable sections from accident damage. 

The design is inspired by the late 1980s Group C car. Hidden in the cleaner lines are all the NACA ducts for brakes and oil coolers, which helps to keep the same prodigious downforce Group C cars are famous for. The race car also supports butterfly doors for optimised driver ingress and egress. The body is optimised to produce maximum downforce for modern 200mph VMAX race tracks while retaining a 250mph (400KPH) maximum top speed.

The race car’s manufacture is heavily influenced by Sparrow’s career experience in aerospace engineering and spacecraft engineering. In the same way an aircraft or spacecraft goes through its AIT phase, the Tertre Rouge Racing car has been designed and built with the highest standards of design and assembly including full daily tool control, and using a strict aerospace and race car material and construction methodology.

Sparrow said, “I believe the late 80’s Group C cars were the peak of race car engineering due to relaxed rules, alongside turbocharging and aerodynamics coming on leaps and bounds in this period. This produced endurance cars that could cover a mile in 15 seconds, cover 3,300 miles in 24 hours, and qualify in the top 10 for a period F1 race. There’s absolutely nothing like a Group C car.”

“Le Mans is a really special place to me, which is why my brand is Tertre Rouge Racing - named after the corner on the Le Mans circuit. This quote from Audi’s Brad Kettler sums it all up for me: ‘That's the thing when you’re at Le Mans, when a car goes by you in the pit and the time pops and the next time you see it it's been almost 9 miles across the French countryside in 3:30,’ (source: Brad Kettler, Audi Technical Director, 2008).”

Tertre Rouge Racing Car Specifications
The Tertre Rouge Racing car brings together two facets of Mark Sparrow’s career experience as an engineer: the toughness of military vehicles and light weight of spacecraft. 

According to Group C Sports-Prototype Regulations (Appendix J, Art. 257), the definition of a Group C car is: “Two-seater competition automobiles built specifically for races on closed circuits.” The Tertre Rouge Racing car has been designed and built to the period FIA race rules and the current road regulations, and it has been engineered to compete in endurance racing.


Length 4800mm (Group C regulations)

Width 1989mm (Within Group C regulations)

Height 1150mm

Wheelbase 2700mm

Weight 950kg (Complies with Group C regulations) (Subject to final weigh in)

Fuel tank 100L (Group C regulations)

Wheels and Tyres

Front: 285/30/19 on lightweight aluminium centrelock wheels

Front Option Avon/Michelin 335-645-R18 (Group C tyre) on 18" centerlock wheels

Rear: 345/30/20 on lightweight aluminium centrelock wheels

Rear Option Avon/Michelin 365-720-R18 (Group C tyre) on 18" centerlock wheels

Engine and Transmission

Engine 750bhp Mercedes 5L M119 twin turbocharged V8

Gearbox 6 speed straight cut sequential with ratio choice and drop gears


Front 6 pot racing callipers with 380mm discs

Rear 4 pot racing callipers with 355mm discs

​Steering and Suspension

Unassisted rack and pinion with quick release steering wheel

Front & Rear unequal length adjustable double wishbone suspension with adjustable anti roll bars and rocker based rising rate suspension with adjustable shocks

Chassis and Body

Bonded carbon fibre structural foam core composite panels over a steel skeleton with integrated roll cage

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