For Tolman Motorsport, the Ralt RT3 restoration was a real challenge, but the team were given a relatively free hand when it came to reviving this iconic single-seater race car. A car that had dominated the Formula 3 circuit during the renowned ground-effect era, and was to be ready for its competitive comeback in the new-for-2019 FIA Historic F3 Championship.
Chassis 3-445, purchased by a long-standing Tolman Motorsport customer, arrived as a pile of obscure chassis and suspension parts. Intense research was required to determine where each component went and to source an authentic engine, gearbox and a wide array of missing parts in time for the RT3’s return to the racetrack.
Tolman Motorsport selected a Volkswagen powerplant – the original F3 engine was based on an 1800cc unit from the VW Golf – and countless man-hours were spent re-machining components, ensuring the engine and gearbox were built to the correct specifications and the tub, which had been badly cut up during the car’s stint on Hillclimbs, was fully restored.
The RT3 remained in its original form as a ground-effect car and to be eligible for the FIA-sanctioned Historic F3 Championship, the beautifully-crafted wide body would have to be re-worked to replicate the car’s flat-floored successor.
With everything packaged inside the fresh, lightened bodywork, it was just a matter of choosing a livery that harked back to chassis 3-445’s glory days under the Eddie Jordan Racing banner during the 1984 and ‘85 seasons.
In a non-descript white livery, Italian Claudio Langes raced the car to fourth overall in the 1984 European F3 Championship, only finishing behind Ivan Capelli, Johnny Dumfries and Gerhard Berger. It was decided that a ‘statement’ needed to be made and the client and Tolman Motorsport chose to adorn the Ralt RT3 in the evocative white and orange Marlboro colours, originally used by Alfonso de Vinuesa at Jarama, Spain at the end of the ‘84 season.