For many of us, Felicia is still a matter of the heart, whether you ride in the passenger seat, in the back, or have the honor of sitting behind the wheel. Honest and robust construction, smart engines, surprisingly precise transmission and almost ideal dimensions – however, few people at the time knew that it would be a great basis for a competition special.
In the 1990s, the Škoda Felicia was an important model for the carmaker not only in car showrooms, but also at special stages, where the Škoda Motorsport team homologated a full-fledged special built according to the rules of the “Kit Car” category for the Formula 2 car championship.
However, Felicia did not have easy beginnings – after the success of the previous Favorite in the so-called Formula 2 World Cup, she had to face high expectations. In the 1990s, it was quite common for racing cars to be based on the serial ones, and Felicia was no exception – but, compared to its predecessor, it underwent a higher level of modifications, which was made possible by the Kit Car category.
The entire skeleton of the body was shared by the competition version with the road version, including the roof, hood and, surprisingly, the glazing. Thus, the size of the Felicia Kit Car was practically identical to the road one, the competition car only had wider fenders, which had to accommodate larger and wider wheels. In addition to the fenders, there were also new bumpers, but for example the dashboard was preserved, but instead of devices from the factory, there were racing indicators Stack.
Great technique for its time
Technically, there were brakes from the famous company AP Racing, the shock absorbers were then supplied by Proflex. However, most of the changes took place under the hood – not only the good old thirteen OHV was available, but also a new unit with a volume increased to 1.5 liters. The performance of 136 and 156 hp does not seem dizzying today, but then it was a great value, the car was also reliable and very light, so the engines with a weight of 880 kg playfully coped. So what the Škoda Motorsport team lost compared to most two-liter competitors on the straights, it caught up in the corners.
Although it may not work that way by today’s standards, the engines really benefited the most from the technology of the time. Recognize self – forged pistons, forged crankshaft, OBR multi – point fuel injection, Bosch injectors, Jenswey throttles, Champion spark plugs – these were great technologies more than 25 years ago. In addition, the team used special sports catalysts, which were relieved of the classic ailment, namely the reduction of performance.
The front axle of the MacPherson type was fully adjustable, the rear one then came from the Škoda Pick-up, but it received additional reinforcement.
Success at home and abroad
The year 1995 of the Škoda Motorsport team brought a total of 25 competitions, of which 7 were World Championship events. In the Formula 2 category, Felicia Kit Car was very pleasantly surprised by an excellent third place – only stronger cars from Peugeot and Renault were ahead of it, but Felicia won in its class.
However, in order to maintain the high standard of the Felicia Kit Car, all that was left was to store a more powerful engine under the hood. Thanks to the partnership with Volkswagen, it was not a problem to provide the racing team with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder OHC, which also appeared in road cars.
However, it had one catch – Volkswagen itself never actually used this unit for racing purposes, so the whole burden of development rested on the experts from Škoda Motorsport. The four-cylinder with a cast iron block was forged with both pistons and crankshaft, and even a connecting rod. The new cam was in charge of the valve timing. The final performance was a beautiful 174 horses, ie less than 109 horses per liter. True, the “one-six” was a hair heavier than the previous fifteen, but the larger engine offered a wider range of usable speeds, and thus better performance.
The crew, led by Pavel Sibera and Emil Triner, managed to apply the modifications, especially in terms of engine. The new 16-year-old appeared for the first time in Portugal, when Sibera finished second among the “two-wheelers”. He even won another event in Australia, and Triner in New Zealand did the same – he became famous for his memorable arrival at the finish ramp in long drift, even though the Felicia Kit Car had only two-wheel drive.
Probably the greatest success, however, was achieved by the legendary Swedish driver Stig Blomqvist at the British RAC Rally – he not only managed to win class at the time, but also finished third overall, which was unprecedented for the competition.
Of course, Felicia Kit Car also collected laurels at home, but in the course of 1997 Felicia was replaced by larger Octavia Kit Car cars, which was the frontier of the very first Škoda all-wheel drive racing special – the Octavia WRC. However, the Felicia Kit Car cars still represented excellent racing equipment and appeared in the starting lists of various companies for quite a long time after the end of their term of office in the factory team.