In 1976, a new "Annexe J" was introduced. This more or less repeated the 60's approach; group 2 was intended for privateers and tuners, who could consist an European Championship, group 5 was the new "silhouette" formula for works teams. We leave group 5 for what it is, the works teams stayed away apart from Porsche and later Lancia, and the championship never really took off.
Back to group 2. The cars could be modified far less than the old group 2 of 1970-1975, to such extent that the older cars could hardly be used, especially the succesfull cars like the Capri RS3100, the Escort BDA, the 16-valve BMW 2002 and even the CSL - it was thought. The main difference to the previous period were as follows:
|engine size (cc)||max. tyre width (inch)||min. weight (kg)||fuel tank (l)|
The works teams, apart from Jaguar, did not take part in the championship, albeit tuners like Zakspeed, Alpina and AMG probably received some kind of works blessing.
The ETCC had a disappointing start. Lots of engine failures and very few competitive cars. This had its reasons. The Britains had left Group 2 as early as 1974, and soldiered on with group 1B. The Germans went on for 1 year according to the old rules ("group 5 national"), isolating themselves. Difficult to understand was that they used the new rules for tyre widths and minimum weight. They went to group 5 anyway in 1977, like Holland and Belgium, who had introduced group 2 neatly in 1976, together with Italy. But this all was a very small base for a new championship, which was handicapped as well by the fading 1975 championship.
Worse still, the entertaining Zandvoort Trophy could not been held in 1976 due to difficulties after the 1975 race. The return of Spa on the calender was for one year only.
Frank de Jong
Amsterdam, the Netherlands