Colin McRae.
© Wales Rally GB

Heroes of Motorsport: Colin McRae

We pick five videos that show why the Scottish rally driver’s legacy still endures.
Written by Greg Stuart
3 min readPublished on
The reason Colin McRae didn’t win more than his solitary World Rally Championship title in 1995 is the same reason the fans loved him. McRae’s driving style teetered on the very edge of control… and sometimes dropped off the other side. It was the wild way the Scot threw a rally car through a stage that earned him the nickname Colin McCrash, and one of McRae’s favourite sayings has since passed into rallying folklore.
If in doubt, flat-out
Colin McRae
To celebrate one of the most exciting and dynamic drivers that rallying has ever witnessed, we’ve chosen five videos that show what Colin McRae was all about. Watch them, and if you’re not a McRae fan now, you should be by the bottom of the page.

1) McRae gets grumpy en route to his 1995 title

Having gotten his big break on the World Rally stage when he joined the factory Subaru team in 1993, McRae was shooting for his first world title two years later. But when team orders at the pentultimate round of the season in Spain seemed to favour the leading Subaru of Carlos Sainz, McRae was one angry Scot. He eventually settled for second place at that rally before going all-out at the season finale and claiming Britain’s first-ever World Rally title... but not before a big bust-up with his team.

2) The roll that cost a championship

McRae was once again gunning for the world title in 2001 having switched to the Ford factory team. Leading early on at the final round of the year at the Network Q Rally of Great Britain, McRae looked to have title number two sewn up. Then it all went a bit shonky…

3) The roll that made McRae famous in America

With the World Rally Championship protagonists relatively unknown in America, McRae arrived at the 2006 X Games in Los Angeles to compete in the Rally event that had been added to the extreme sport competition’s roster. McRae was his usual, er, enthusiastic self, and duly rolled his way into second place – and America's hearts – behind Travis Pastrana. Amazing.

4) Testing an F1 car

McRae was a man up for driving anything and everything that was put in front of him. He'd driven the Knockhill round of the British Touring Car Championship in 1992, earned a class podium in a Ferrari 550 at Le Mans in 2004 and competed in the Porsche Supercup in 2006. But McRae's biggest non-rally challenge came in 1996 when he was invited to try out a Jordan F1 car at Silverstone, acquitting himself well as Jordan driver Martin Brundle got behind the wheel of McRae's Subaru Impreza.

5) A flat-out fun run in Donegal

Despite McRae saying he was just there "for fun", at the 2006 Donegal International Rally the Scot took a 20-year-old MG Metro 6R4a car dating from the WRC’s wild Group B era – and blitzed the slippery Northern Irish stages. McRae would go on to win the National class by a stonking seven and a half minutes… despite a few near misses, of course.