NA vs. 1000+hp Turbo Racecars
Monza (5.800 km) Records
1991 F1 McLaren MP4/6-Honda (NA) _ 1:21.114
1987 F1 Williams FW11B-Honda (Turbo) _ 1:23.460
1992 Group C Peugeot 905 Evo 1 (NA) _ 1:26.019
1990 Group C Sauber Mercedes C11 (Turbo) _ 1:29.165
Mexico City (4.421 km) Records
Altitude: 7500 ft.
1992 F1 Williams FW14B-Renault (NA) _ 1:16.346
1986 F1 Lotus 98T-Renault (Turbo) _ 1:16.990
1991 Group C Peugeot 905 Evo 1 (NA) _ 1:19.229
1990 Group C Jaguar XJR-11 (Turbo) _ 1:20.626
Donington (4.023 km) Records
1993 F1 Williams FW15C-Renault (NA) _ 1:10.458
1992 Group C Peugeot 905 Evo 1 (NA) _ 1:15.285
1990 Group C Sauber Mercedes C11 (Turbo) _ 1:16.952
Suzuka (5.86 km) Records
1991 F1 McLaren MP4/6-Honda (NA) _ 1:34.700
1987 F1 Ferrari F1-87 (Turbo) _ 1:40.042
1992 Group C Peugeot 905 Evo 1 (NA) _ 1: 43.957
1990 Group C Toyota 90C-V (Turbo) _ 1:48.716
Silverstone (4.778 km) Records
1987 F1 Williams FW11B-Honda (V6 Turbo 1100hp) _ 1:07.110
1990 F1 Ferrari F1-90-2 (V12 NA 700hp) _ 1:07.428
1990 Group C Sauber Mercedes C11 (V8 Turbo 1000hp) _ 1:12.073
Monaco (3.328 km) Records
1994 F1 Benetton B194-Ford (V8 NA 700hp) _ 1:18.560
1986 F1 McLaren MP4/2C-Porsche (V6 Turbo 1200hp) _ 1:22.627
1994 F1 Benetton B194-Ford
Indy Oval (2.5-mile) Records
1996 IRL Reynard 95I-Cosworth (V8 Turbo 800hp) _ 239.260 mph
1996 IRL Lola-Buick (V6 Turbo 1000hp) _ 237.336 mph
2003 IRL Dallara-Honda (V8 NA 700hp) _ 232.202 mph
I was on the Indy 500 pole three times and won that race twice, but everyone talks about 1996 because that was the year I got the track record.
As a driver, when you peak at Indy and you've got the car working really good and your laps are really solid, everything seems to quiet down, in a way, because everything is working fine. And so when you make a change and it makes even just a 1mph difference, you really notice that. You're used to the car being settled in, but you'll notice a few more revs coming off Turn 2 and Turn 4, and it just adds up to 1mph quicker round the whole lap. Every little increase is noticeable.
But the difference in '96 was that the track had been resurfaced, the Firestones were phenomenal – not just when brand-new, but durable and consistent – and the track had taken out the rumble strips. They had been a really bad idea in the first place, when they put them in back in 1993, and so they got a chance to take them out when they repaved it. That gave the track, compared to before, another three to four feet at the apex of the corners. It meant the trajectories we were going in at were shallower, so we scrubbed off less speed.
Looking at the data, we saw that we never got below 235mph at the apex where the car had scrubbed off most of its speed, and the straightaway speed I remember was 243. The difference between top speed and average speed should be around about 5mph if your car's working well. It wasn't like the Penskes in 1994 with that special Mercedes motor, where they were really fast down the straights but not that quick through the turns.
Tim Wardrup was my engineer and he was so good. His setups proved that when you have these high speeds, it doesn't really relate to difficulty level. When the IRL changed the rules and I came back in 1997 with the normally aspirated engines and they had 300 horsepower less, the car had this colossal heavy gearbox in the back and that car scared me almost every lap. I could never get it really right, and although I got pole, doing 218mph in that car took a lot more from me mentally than doing 238 in the proper car. It's like a lot of races: the ones you win are usually the easy ones, and sometimes you finish 10th and you've driven your butt off and had the longest day of your life.
I remember hearing that “if Arie's quicker than the Menards cars, they must be doing something” – bending the rules. But it was totally legit. I was showing the data to Tony George through that month. The car was just phenomenal. We actually got to the point where Tim Wardrup asked me – kind of politely but wondering if he was going too far – “What do you think about running without the rear wing?” I said, “Huh? Are you out of your ****ing mind?!” I think from that he could tell no, I didn't want to take the rear wing off. His idea was that we had gone to negative-7 degrees with the rear wing anyway, so we couldn't go any further, and all that was restricting us was horsepower. In CART, they were using the new Cosworth but we had the XB which had about 35hp less. If we could have gotten our hands on that, I think we could have done a 240mph lap.
What was also interesting about that car was that the moment we picked up 1mph on the straightaway by changing the aerodynamics, we would also pick up 1mph in the corner. It sort of went together, and we saw that as soon as we started hitting 232. We might change the wing settings or ride height or rake and every time we picked up speed on the straights, it worked for us in the corner as well.
That was the best car I ever drove around the Speedway; I never had a moment with the car. Looking at the steering traces, a driver can see that the moment you turn, immediately you see the revs drop because you're creating tire scrub in the corner. So my whole approach was to turn the wheel as little as I could, and I experimented with lines until I found one that felt like it was the sweet spot. But it was the fact that the car was so good that meant I could try those things out.
1998 F1 McLaren MP4/13-Mercedes (V10 NA 800hp) _ 41.6
1982 F1 Williams FW08D-Cosworth (V8 NA 500hp)
Patrick Head set about on a parallel design path. Williams would not only direct their resources to the regular FW08 follow-up, as the FW07 was finally reaching the end of its cycle. The team also embarked on a mysterious six-wheeler project, and by mixing the two projects, Head already accounted for the six-wheeled concept in the FW08 design. The FW08's wheelbase was purposely kept short to accommodate for the forthcoming addition of four-wheel rear drive.
This six-wheel set-up would again be four smaller wheels at the back, in a direct effort to improve straightline speed and traction out of corners due to the increased rubber contact, but also to allow the free flow of air along the sidepods all the way to the rear axle of the car. As ground effects were permitted within the wheelbase of the car, Head cunningly interpreted this rule as being from front axle to, well, the most rearward axle! In Head's mind, these would be ground effects almost to perfection. The leading rear axle was placed four inches ahead of its original place, with the driveshafts angled to cope. The most rearward axle was driven by an additional final drive added on the back of the transmission. Hewland provided assistance on the gearbox, using vital experience gained from the March 2-4-0.
In November 1981, at a cool but sunny Paul Ricard, Keke Rosberg climbed aboard the six-wheeled FW07 hack, which for reference purposes we shall call the FW07E, as its reported name "FW07D" later became the designation for the regular 1982 FW07. Reports in Autosprint magazine led everyone to believe that Keke's times at Ricard were unusually fast. However, Alain Prost's lap record of 1.04.5 had been set on October 26. Two weeks later, Keke and his FW07E lowered it to 1.04.3. Jonathan Palmer also tested the car at Croix-en-Ternois in the North of France to see what its performance would be like on a tight and twisty track, and matched the times set by the regular FW07C. Eventually though, the FW07E wasn't used in racing as the team found a major obstacle to its "perfect" ground effects – the lower wishbones of the rear suspension. So Head decided on incorporating this dilemma into the design of the FW08, which was designed to accommodate six wheels. The FW08 solution used fixed-length driveshafts that would be used as lateral lower location members as well, thus freeing the underwing tunnels from any obstruction.
The Williams team pressed on with its six-wheeler project and during the summer of 1982 a new car surfaced. This time an adapted FW08-01, codenamed FW08D, hit the Donington Park track. Its four-wheel driven times were stunning. In fact, they were so good that the FIA issued their 1983 regulations including a clause that outlawed six-wheelers and four-wheel drive.
At the 1994 Goodwood Festival of Speed, the Williams FW08D turned out one more time in the hands of Jonathan Palmer. On the hill at Goodwood it showed why it was outlawed before it got the chance to show it was a winner. The doctor comfortably set a record time that was only narrowly beaten by Nick Heidfeld, in a F1 McLaren-Mercedes (1999).
Riverside (3.3-mile) Records
1982 IndyCar Penske PC10-Cosworth DFX (V8 Turbo 800hp) _ 1:30.365
1981 IndyCar Eagle 8103-Chevy (V8 NA 700hp) _ 1:31.696
1981 IndyCar Eagle-Chevy
The Pepsi Challenger Eagle-Chevrolet from 1981, a true-blue, made-in-America machine. Characteristically, it was a car that made two primary departures from the Indycar conventions of the day. First it tackled the then-fresh exploration of the ground effects phenomenon from the novel perspective of Boundary Layer Adhesion Technology (BLAT). Then it was powered by a naturally aspirated, single camshaft, pushrod-actuated Chevrolet engine rather than the widely adopted turbocharged multi-cam Cosworth DFX.
"We didn't know what to expect," offers Gurney, "We had included some new technology in both the chassis and the engine, all developed in-house at AAR."
With John Ward heading the design department, the '81 Eagle turned out to be exceptionally good in practice as well as theory. In Mike Mosley's capable hands the dart-shaped yellow and white machine qualified second fastest at Indianapolis 500, while earning the prestigious Louis Schwitzer Award for engineering excellence from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE).
On race day, however, the hope generated by that front-row starting position went unrealized when the engine broke a connecting rod early in the race. The following week at Milwaukee, however, Mosley started from 28th and last grid slot as a promoter's option after missing qualifications, then fought his way through the entire field to score a brilliant victory with the last car ever to win a National Championship race using a true stock-block engine.
Those small-block Chevies weren't just any engines, however. Dan and his engine men, Stump Davis and Jerry McGarrity, built them up from aftermarket components around Donovan aluminum blocks and Brodix aluminum heads. They featured fuel injection with the nozzles positioned to squirt their fuel charge directly onto the inlet valves, vastly increasing efficiency.
"The first time we ran it like that," says Gurney, "it made 665 horsepower, and after we got down to it we made 685 consistently. The most we ever saw was 696. All of a sudden we had something very good."
The top end wasn't the only area where AAR's attentions were applied, however, as the engine was also converted to a dry sump oiling system. "I designed the oil pan bottom and the scavenge system for that engine," Gurney explains. Chief machinist Jerry Whitfill created the oil pans, hand-machining them from solid blocks of 6061 aluminum.
On the aerodynamic side, rather than the sidepod tunnels being fitted to most Indycars at that time, the Eagle carried its low-pressure-creation apparatus in what was essentially a box built around the engine and rear suspension. With downforce from bodywork shaped specifically to generate powerful vortices beneath it, the '81 Eagle became one of those racecars that turns out greater than the sum of its parts. By building both chassis and engine under the same roof, a rare circumstance at the time, AAR could control every aspect of the car.
There were actually two Pepsi Challengers, chassis 8103 for oval tracks, and chassis 8105 that ran the road courses. After Mosley's heroics at Indy and Milwaukee, Geoff Brabham qualified the road-race car on the pole at Riverside, more than a second ahead of the field, then led the race handily until a wheel nut was cross-threaded during a planned pit stop and the euphoria of the moment evaporated. Rocky Moran led the Watkins Glen race, only to be derailed by a fuel hose problem.
"It was a very unique car," observes Gurney. "It was a great road race car, it was an equally good oval racecar. It was terrific, it was our car, we had pioneered it. It's something I'm awfully proud of."
BLAT (Boundary Layer Adhesion Technology) was pioneered by AAR with the 1981 Eagle-Chevy Indy car designed by Trevor Harris, John Ward and Dan Gurney.
Two very enjoyable days at the Goodwood Festival of Speed prompted me to think of our six-wheeler, the FW08D, which Jonathan Palmer drove up the hill in 1994, I believe achieving the fastest time in that year.
The thinking behind the car was entirely logical as we worked to keep up with the turbo-powered cars of Renault, Ferrari and the BMW-engined Brabhams, but had no turbo engine ourselves. We did conduct a programme with John Judd of Engine Developments and valve gear specialist Chris Walters, which resulted in our long-stroke 3-litre Cosworths being raised from about 480 to just over 540hp, which powered Keke Rosberg in his 1982 title year. But this power level was a long way shy of the turbo.
A parallel approach was to reduce the car's frontal area, dominated by two huge rear tyres on 20in-wide rims, so we settled on using four smaller fronts on the rear, hiding one behind the other to reduce drag. This in turn meant we could bring the inner face of the rear tyres a long way outboard and run flexible skirts all the way to the back of the car, between the rear wheels, which gave us huge expansion at the back and increased downforce.
We produced a 'mule' vehicle to see if it would go round corners and if we could get it balanced. We'd tried to design it so that the exact centre of the two rear axles was where our normal single axle would be – which in turn meant that the forward axle had to be angled well forward from the output.
We took it to Croix-en-Ternois in northern France, with Jacques Laffite and Palmer driving, and discovered that it had no problems in tight corners and extremely good traction, particularly in the wet. But it was at least 100 kilos overweight and we knew we'd have to build a new gearbox and design a new rear suspension layout, which would have been a major task.
We did know that it had huge potential, running near-identical times to a conventional car despite being over the weight limit.
Alan Jones had initially run the car, on the back of an FW07 chassis, at Donington at the end of 1981 – and perhaps that's why he decided to retire on the spot….. Or, more likely, it was the English winters that prompted the decision! You may recall that in 1982 FW08 was a short and stubby car with a high fuel tank behind the driver, and that's because it was designed to be the front end of the six-wheeler.
Frank Dernie was developing the car in our wind tunnel and had a specification well in advance of the mule test car. He ran the figures, downforce, drag etc in our simulation programme using the Paul Ricard circuit and the car was something like 12sec faster than the conventional car. Mind you, he didn't add the 100 kilos of extra weight, he said that was my problem, so it was optimistic.
I think it would have been possible with a complete redesign to get to the weight limit but we just didn't have the resources. So you could say it was lucky for us that we never had to build a new car following the ban on six-wheelers and ground-effect aerodynamics.
FW08/1 was converted to 6 wheel form in Autumn 1982 using fixed length drive shafts as lower location members (a la Lotus 18, except 'upside down') to clean the airflow through the under-wing tunnels. It showed phenomenal straight line speed and 30% more downforce than the 4-wheeler. In fact the Williams lap simulator predicted a lap round Paul Ricard 6 seconds quicker than Arnoux's pole time of 1:34.4!
Unlike March, Williams had the engineering resources to develop the FW08D properly. The additional weight involved with the extra parts needed was not a huge handicap as their usual cars without ballast were significantly below the minimum weight limit. The same advantages of extra traction, better airflow to the rear wing, less drag over smaller rear-wheels, less lift from those wheels, and being able to use what would normally be front tyres with their continued development all applied as (at least in theory) for the 2-4-0. The hugely significant difference was that this was the era of full ground effects. There were no flat bottoms with diffusers at the rear doing the best they could to pull air from under the car. As much as possible, the whole underside of the car acted as a gigantic diffuser with skirts along the bottom outer edges of the sidepods to contain the low pressure under the floor with the main body of the chassis effectively being a huge wing.
The skirts were only allowed to run back to the rear axle so the six-wheeler enabled greater exploitation in this aspect, as well as the skirts not having to awkwardly deviate inside the conventional rear wheels with the new arrangement giving wider airflow out the back of the car. The main and acceptable disadvantages seemed to be an increase in mechanical complexity and higher friction losses in the transmission to four wheels.
Pikes Peak Hillclimb (12.42 miles)
2013 Peugeot 208 T16 (V6 Turbo 875hp) _ 8:13.878
2013 Monster Sport E-Runner (electric 670hp) _ 9:46.530
Nine-time World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb of France obliterated the overall race record in the 91st running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. In his first appearance in the "Race to the Clouds," Loeb maneuvered through the 12.42-mile course in 8:13.878, more than a minute-and-a-half faster than the previous race record of 9:46.181 set by Rhys Millen last year.
"I felt really good in the car, and I pushed it hard from the start to the finish," Loeb said. "I made no mistakes, and I felt the race was really good. To drive a car like this and race up here (to the top) is what makes this special. It's amazing."
Driving a Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak in the Unlimited class, Loeb averaged 87 miles per hour while setting the record. Millen was a distant second with a time of 9:02.192 in his 2013 Hyundai PM580T, and Jean-Philippe Dayraut of France also topped the previous record with a time of 9:42.740 while driving a 2011 Mini Countryman.
Paul Dallenbach finished in 9:46.001 in his 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe to also eclipse last year's record and win the Time Attack class.
As expected, with the entire course now being a paved track, numerous records fell at the historic race.
Carlin Dunne of Santa Barbara, Calif. – who owns the race's overall record for the motorcycles at 9:52.819 – again was the fastest motorcycle, clocking a time of 10:00.694 on his 2013 Lightning Electric SuperBike in the Exhibition Powersports class.
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