January 2, 2011

Turbo in the Tron Era

"I think that in a racing engine, the closer it is to disintegrating, in general the better its performance will be "
Keith Duckworth

Big hair, big turbos and Tron state of the art electronics, in this classic mid 1980s documentary chronicling Cosworth's development of its first turbo formula1 engine.

At the time it was thought to be a great idea to run $1200/ gallon toluene based fuel in 1.5 liter turbo engines that would last 500 km or less. BMW was the first to come up with the exotic fuel to power their 1500 hp four pots. All controlled, of course with state of the art onboard computers the size of a ...VCR!

The Cosworth-Ford GBA 1.5 liter v6 had no success, despite being relatively reliable it was given to the hopeless Beatrice-Hass team first and late for one season to the new Benetton team.

You can find an extensive article on the GBA here

It's a long two part, detailed documentary so make some time for it. Oh and keep an eye out for a young Ross Brawn working the wind tunnel at Lola. So much has changed since then but so much about Formula 1 has not changed at all!

Part II is after the jump. Many thanks to those who take the time to preserve and share these old gems.


  1. f...ing awesome video

  2. Ditto above! Yes the project turned out to be a dog.... but you won't get a look into development like that from Honda or Ferrari. Love the part where they are filing off parts of the calipers on pit lane. It was like club racing with cubic dollars!

  3. Fantastic stuff! Got any more?

  4. Do need moar! ;)

    As part 2 seems to end without conclusion :(

  5. Hey, it's Ross Brawn in part 2 (26:37)!

  6. Thank you for sharing that. So many things we take for granted today. ie writing down data points when the engine is on the dyno. It is funny that today even a regular guy like me can buy a Motec, and data log and tune like they are, effortlessly.

    I watched both vids over 2 evenings and thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks again!

  7. Where can I find a mirror of this?


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