The McRae name has been synonymous with the spectacular sport of rallying for three decades. Father Jimmy and sons Colin and Alister have, between them, won just about every title worth winning, including British, Asia-Pacific and World Rally Championships. Their sport has taken them to some of the most challenging environments on the planet, on almost every continent and their success has come from a blend of dedication, adaptability and supreme car control and fitness.
Alister McRae took his first foray into motorsport at the age of twelve, when he took up motorcycle trials and motorcross. But it was always rallying where he would demonstrate his true colours and success wasn't long in coming. In his first full season in 1989 he not only won the 1300 Group A class in the Scottish Championship in his Vauxhall Nova he also lifted the 2WD Group A overall honours. 1990 saw a repeat of the previous years success with another 1300 GP A Scottish Championship win and his first foray into International events in the UK. In 1991 the move up to the Vauxhall Nova 1600 GSI Challenge proved a difficult year with many teething problems with the new car causing retirements. Third in the Championship and winning the Class and finishing 8th Overall on the International Scottish Rally was reward for a difficult season.
At the end 1991 Alister received his big break by beating the likes of Richard Burns, Robbie Head, Mark Higgins, Martin Rowe and Dom Buckley over two days, winning the Inaugural Shell Scholarship. The outcome was a fully funded Group N Sierra Cosworth on the British Championship along with other selected events. Alister paid Shell back for their trust in him by claiming his first overall event win on the Malcolm Wilson Stages, winning his first National event on the Granite City Rally, Winning the Group N British Rally Championship and placing 1st in Group N on the UK's round of the World Rally Championship.
The following years saw further triumphs with Subaru and Nissan, culminating with Alister winning the British Rally Championship outright in 1995, at the wheel of a works Nissan Sunny. Success breeds success and more manufacturer drives were to follow, with a two-year contract to drive the Formula 2 Volkswagen Golf, which he used to excellent effect, winning British Championship events but more importantly taking Formula Two wins in the World Rally Championship.
His results and reputation led to his services being secured by the newest manufacturer to join the World Rally Championship, Hyundai. In 1999, he competed in the front wheel drive Coupe while simultaneously developing Hyundai's first world rally car, the Accent WRC. Then in 2000, he developed the car further during its first year of actual competition and scored the manufacturers first ever WRC points. In 2001, the fruits of two years' hard work began to show, with a series of points-scoring finishes and a narrow miss of the podium on his home event, the Rally of Great Britain.
Following his excellent performance with Hyundai, he was selected to join Mitsubishi, stalwart of the WRC, in 2002. This transpired to be a difficult year, as the Japanese manufacturer found itself in turmoil, with an uncompetitive new car and a massive management re-structure. It subsequently pulled out of rallying at the beginning of the '03 season, to build a new rally car from scratch.
Undaunted, Alister entered the 2004 Production World Rally Championship with the RED World Rally Team and was on course to take the title on the last event before, in a cruel twist of fate, a mechanical failure robbed him of the championship.
2005 and 2006 saw Alister successfully competing in the Chinese Rally Championship with the Wanyu Rally Team in a Mitsubishi Evo 9 along with a number of other selected international events including a return to the WRC in Rally GB in Wales and wins in the IRC Zulu Rally in South Africa.
Throughout 2007 Alister competed on various rallies including the New Zealand round of the WRC, leading the Production Category until a puncture on the final stage robbed him of the win. Followinng the tragic death of Colin and his son Johnny, Alister stepped in to compete in the Race of Champions held at Wembley Stadium, an event that was dedicated to the life of Colin McRae.
2008 saw Alister win at the Targa Tasmania in a 2WD Mazda 3 and a Classic win in a Porsche 911 in the Targa West Rally around Alister’s adopted home of Perth, Australia. It was also fitting that Alister took the 2WD honours at the McRae Stages in September, a rally attended by the great and the good of the rallying world in honour of Colin.
2009 started off in style with Alister competing in the grueling Dakar Rally for the first time. Alister finished 39th overall, an excellent result for the debut of Alister and the McRae Enduro car.
2009 saw Alister back behind the wheel of a Manufacturer entered car driving Team Proton’s new Satria S2000 in the IRC and APRC. 2nd Place on the IRC Scotland Rally cemented the relationship.
As if that wasn’t enough, Alister decided that it was time to give residence in his new home of Western Australia the benefits of a long career behind the wheel. Not only in the Motorsport arena but helping develop better drivers in general. September 2009 saw the commencement of SpeedAware, a Registered Training organisation that now provides Nationally Accredited Driver Training (Australia), Youth Driver Training for pre-licence and new drivers, as well as 4x4 driver training for Western Australia’s thousands of four wheel drive owners ( www.speedaware.com.au) The Proton relationship continued into
010 with Alister continuing to drive for Team Proton ending the year on a high with a Win on the APRC Rally of China.
Alister then set his hand to giving the public and corporate sectors a taste of what he does best “Rally Driving” and what they really want through McRae Motorsport.