VRC Super Tourers - Moscow Open Championship Skinpack

VRC Super Tourers - Moscow Open Championship Skinpack 1.0

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Hello everyone.

Well, this time I tried to join this new, massive "Super Tourers wave" that started after the release of the wonderful pack by VRC.
So, since the replica liveries of almost all the major European championship are appearing like mushrooms after a rainy day on the mountains, and considering my ongoing interest about the history of Soviet and Russian motorsport, I tried to drift a little bit towards east. Like, far east.

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So, there it is: the pack consists of a bunch of replica liveries from the defunct Moscow Open Championship (also known as ASPAS Cup), that took place in 1997 and 1998 on the temporary Sparrow Hills street circuit in Moscow. It has been one of the rare occasions where the Russian motorsport fans of the day could watch the European Supertourers in action.

A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY

In 1997, some engineers and technicians of the Lukoil Racing Team (at that time one of the most important teams in the relatively newborn Russian Racing Championship) flew to England to join the Prodrive team that was the factory Honda team in the British Touring Car Championship. This collaboration had very strong intentions: introduce the Supertouring regulations to the raising Russian motorsport scene, in order to adapt to the latest European standards.

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After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russian motorsport was left in a strange situation: all the permanent racing circuits were located outside of Russia (the only semipermanent russian track was the Neva Ring in St. Petersburg, the other ones were temporary street circuits or airfield circuits), and the Iron Curtain meant that Soviet motorsport created their very own racing class system (quite different from the European one) and the vast majority of cars consisted in domestic production cars (Lada, Moskvitch, etc...) tuned following a (sort of) Super Production regulation set to keep costs under strict control. Again, something quite odd and not suitable for the european standards of the day.

So, after spending about six months at Prodrive, Lukoil Racing came back on the motherland, taking with them two Supertouring Honda Accords.

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The new cars went on racing on Russian soil in 1997, during the Rothmans ASPAS Cup, aka Moscow Open Championship. The circuit was a 1.9 km long temporary street circuit located in the capital city of Moscow, running alongside the Moscow State University and taking on the Sparrow Hills.

View attachment 629219

They were not alone, though: their opponents consisted of three ex-STW Ford Mondeos of the Mobil Racing Team. These five cars had some hard time with the bumpy circuit, but judging by the fans response, the Supertourers were here to stay.

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In 1998, the Supertourers were back, again in Moscow. Again, two Hondas by Lukoil and three Fords, fielded by the Mobil Racing Team, but now with Finlandia Vodka as the title sponsor.
This newly formed class seemed to hold steady, but unfortunately the Russian ruble crisis in mid-1998 hit very hard. Russian economy went down, nobody could afford buying and manage these very technologically advanced and expensive Supertouring cars, and all operations ceased.
The Russian racing series went back to its roots, and basically they kept their own regulations for almost a decade.

THE END


So, there we are: unfortunately it's been impossible to do a perfect replica of the liveries, since they were installed on cars much older than the one represented by VRC, also because of a lack of sources (very few images, poor resolution pictures and videos) but I tried my best anyway.
Also I encountered some troubles by determining all the cars in the field: the Moscow championship hosted four races per season on the same track, so some cars were the same but they had some slight differences in the livery from race to race. Again, I tried to give them some consistency.
I did not touch the interior parts since I didn't want to mess things up and also I noticed that they never changed the internal stickers on the cars (one of the Mondeos was an ex-Matt Neal car and still retained the AutoTrader stickers from the BTCC).
For the record, I could not determine another car in the field, the #24 Mondeo driven by Evgeny Shmikov in 1997. No data for it at the moment.

So, let's show the field:

1997:

#2 Honda Accord, Richard Kaye (Lukoil Racing)
#5 Ford Mondeo, Andrey Artyushin (Mobil Racing)
#6 Ford Mondeo, Vladimir Suhov (Mobil Racing)
#9 Honda Accord, Nikolay Bolshikh (Lukoil Racing)

1998:

#1 Ford Mondeo, Vladimir Suhov (Finlandia Vodka Mobil Racing)
#2 Ford Mondeo, Andrey Artyushin (Finlandia Vodka Mobil Racing)
#3 Honda Accord, Nikolay Bolshikh (Lukoil Racing)
#4 Honda Accord, Dimitri Korolev (Lukoil Racing)
#9 Ford Mondeo, Evgeny Shmikov (Finlandia Vodka Mobil Racing)

Now, a little twist.

I wanted to also give a personal touch by adding a fictional car for 1998, also to add at least a car for each model, so I tried my personal interpretation of a Opel Vectra as if it was fielded by the TNK Racing Team, a team sponsored by the Tyumen Oil Company that entered the Russian racing scene in the late 90s.
At the wheel Aleksey Vasiliev, as he ran in the 2000 season, but with a Honda Civic in the Touring-1600 class.

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Credits to Mahad and Italya for their real logos pack that you can find here on RD.

I hope you appreciate it, enjoy your ride!

P.S.

Just to clarify (because some people can become quite trigger-happy about Russia nowadays and I care about it), this is not a sort of Kremlin propaganda act in order to clean up the image of the Russian government: I simply think that cancel culture is bad and it's not a shame to show the reality of some other motorsport realities around the world, despite some countries can be controversial. I think that war is a despicable act, but you can't cancel (for example) Dostoevskij and Tolstoj from the world cultural scene because of their nationality, and the same applies to Russian motorsport. Thank you.

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