Le Mans has long been a breeding ground for innovative, forward-thinking race cars. This year Nissan ventured into battle with its front-wheel-drive GT-R LM Nismo, eschewing decades of rear- and four-wheel-drive dominance, while BMW is considering a return in 2018 with a hydrogen-powered fuel cell racer.

The 2015 Coventry Motofest, however, played host to a much older car that had strived to push the envelope in a similar fashion, both at Le Mans and in the field of automotive engineering as a whole. The Rover-BRM, which took part in Le Mans 52 years ago, was a car that took the dramatic approach of ditching the conventional piston engine for a gas turbine.

It wasn't the first turbine-powered car, being preceded by Rover's own JET1 and myriad other prototypes, but it was the first turbine-powered Le Mans car. Its twin-shaft gas turbine produced 145bhp, which was sent to the rear wheels via a single-speed gearbox. It was claimed capable of dispatching the 0-60mph sprint in around 11 seconds, and had a top speed of 142mph.

The car itself has long been part of the Gaydon-based Heritage Motor Centre's collection, and during its time there the museum's workshop team has restored it to running condition. During its exhibition at the Motofest it took to the road in the ring road-based sprints, its shrill howl echoing through Coventry's underpasses.