Inspired by the success of the Mustang ‘pony car’ in the USA, Ford introduced the Capri – ‘The car you’ve always promised yourself’ – to the European market in 1968. The Capri’s imaginative fastback styling was a relatively new departure for the ‘Blue Oval’ but beneath the skin the car remained typically Ford, sharing engines, gearboxes and many other components with the rest of the range, though the power units used by the British- and German-built versions differed somewhat.
Ford was pursuing a wide-ranging competitions programme at this time, and with its UK operation concentrating on developing the Escort for rallying and circuit racing, Jochen Neerpasch, head of the Motorsport Department in Cologne, was delegated to start work on the racing Capri.
Known as the ‘RS2600’, this would be based on the 2600GT, Ford of Germany’s top-of-the-range model at the time, although Cologne’s first efforts involved modified 2300GTs. A number of successes, including class wins, were achieved in international rallies in 1969 but it was already clear that the car’s greatest potential was as a circuit racer.