Tag Archives: Wright

Goodwood Favourites – Formula One

Today’s post features a few of my favourite Formula One ’74 to present day cars that appeared at Goodwood last week.

McLaren M23, Fittipaldi, Goodwood Festival of Speed

First up Emerson Fittipaldi gives GALPOT a wave coming back down the hill in his 1974 McLaren M23 chassis #5.

Maki Cosworth F101A, Goodwood Festival of Speed

After Honda’s disappearance from the Formula One grid at the end of the 1968 season there was no Japanese presence in Formula One until the 1976 Japanese Grand Prix. However this was not for the want of trying, Kenji Mimura founded the Maki Team in 1974 and their futuristic F101, which bore a passing resemblance to the experimental 1972 Ferrari 312 Snowplough attempted to unsuccessfully to qualify for the 1974 British and German Grand Prix. After Howden Ganley broke his legs at the Nurburgring the team retired to Japan to rework their ideas for 1975.

LEC CRP1, Wright, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Mike Pilbeam’s portfolio of attractive Formula One cars includes the LEC CRP1 seen above which was driven by David Purley in 1977 to a season high 13th place in Belgium shortly before surviving a 178 g deceleration from 108 mph to 0 in 25 inches / 66 cm against the sleepers during practice for the 1977 British GP. This particular car driven by Gary Wright had not been seen in action for 35 years.

Toleman Hart TG184, Davidson, Goodwood Festival of Speed

There were numerous vehicles which Ayrton Senna had driven present at Goodwood, and the Toleman TG184 above driven by Alistair Davidson may be one of them, an acquaintance who has spent twelve months researching the TG184 chassis tells me each of the five TG184’s has a slightly different rivet pattern where the roll bar connects to the top of the monocoque and is currently looking for body off photo’s of the TG184’s to confirm which car is which.

Jordan Ford 191, Sirgue, Goodwood Festival of Speed

In 1991 Eddie Jordan graduated to Formula One with one of the most attractive Formula One cars ever seen, designed by Gary Anderson, a fist full of Pepsico dollars, works supplied Ford Cosworth engines and Andrea de Cesaris as his lead driver. The team finished a highly creditable 5th in the constructors championship and Andrea 9th in the drivers championship. The team will also be remembered for introducing Micheal Schumacher to the top table of the sport in Belgium. Owner Didier Sirgue is seen at the wheel above.

Williams Mercedes FW36, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

Finally with Mercedes Benz motors and Martini money the Williams team is back on the ascendent this year with Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas at the wheel. The FW36 above unfortunately had to remain silent to avoid contravening the no testing agreement currently in operation amongst Formula One teams.

Thanks for joining me on this “Goodwood Favourites” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be celebrating the 120 Anniversary of Motorsport participation with Mercedes Benz at Goodwood. Don’t forget to come back now !


Chassis or Aerodynamic Aid – Lotus Ford 88

The Lotus 88 was a development from the ideas tested with the twin chassis Lotus 86. It differed, and was developed, in two crucial respects from the Lotus 86 it was designed to run with out skirts to seal the flow of air and would meet the 6 cm minimum ride height mandated by rules around late in 1980 for the 1981 season.

By having a secondary independently sprung chassis Lotus hoped to avoid the need to run their car with solid suspension which aided the road holding of ground effects pioneered by the Lotus Ford 79 which were sucked to the road surface as they moved through the air.

Lotus Ford 88B, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Gordon Murray designer at Brabham also came up with a solution to the 6 cm ride height rule which involved using hydraulic rams to raise the car above the minimum ride height in the pits, the only place the measurement could be checked, and lowering the ride height out once out on the track. This left the Brabham running effectively solid suspension once out of pit road.

All of the teams protested that the second Lotus chassis was in fact an independently aerodynamic aid and eventually the ruling body changed it’s mind having accepted the idea of a twin chassis car before the season started.

Lotus Ford 88B, Goodwood Festival of Speed

As a consequence after being protested during practice for the the United States West, Brazilian and British Grand Prix Lotus withdrew the 88 bodies with out ever having raced and used the more conventional Lotus 87 which used inner Lotus 88 chassis but with conventional side pods to generate ground effect and a similar hydraulic ram system for the suspension as used by Brabham.

Colin Chapman is said to have been disappointed that the twin chassis Formula One cars developed with Peter Wright, Tony Rudd and Martin Ogilvie were never allowed to compete believing that Formula One was supposed to be a proving ground for new innovation.

Thanks for joining me on this “Chassis or Aerodynamic Aid” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t for get to come back now !


Torrey Canyon – Lotus Ford T86

On March 18th 1967 Shipmaster Pastrengo Rugiati elected to take his charge the 974 ft Torrey Canyon carrying 120,000 tons of crude oil on a disastrous short cut between the Scilly Isles and the Cornish mainland on his way to Milford Haven and ended up causing the worlds largest ship wreck when the boat grounded on the Seven Stones Reef. As the consequent environmental disaster unfolded the ship was bombed sending it 98ft below and the oil spill was repeatedly bombed in a vain effort to keep the oil off the beached of England, France and surrounding islands.

In 1969 Peter Wright was working on the ground breaking BRM P142 which would have introduced aerodynamically induced ground effects to racing car design when John Surtees joined BRM and insisted on opting for a conservative approach and developing the existing BRM P138 and P139 chassis with which Big John scored a season best 3rd place driving the P 139 at the 1969 US Grand Prix before quitting BRM to start his own team.

Peter left BRM and some years later started work for Technocraft to develop a vacuum assisted resin injection composite process which was to be used for the manufacture of body shells for the Lotus Elite, Eclat and Esprit road cars and Colin Chapman’s boat companies.

After the failure of the Lotus 76 in 1975 Colin Chapman asked another ex BRM employee Tony Rudd, now group engineering director at Lotus, to re-think how a Formula One car might be made to make proper use of the front tyres.

Rudd drafted his former colleague Peter Wright in to run the wind tunnel “in his spare time” after his commitments at Technocraft. The fruit of this collaboration was the successful Lotus 78 and world championship winning Lotus 79.

Lotus Ford 86, Goodwood Festival of Speed

The team were not so lucky with the Lotus 80, from which they took a step back with the Lotus 81 before regrouping with their next innovation the twin chassis Lotus 86 seen here.

What Peter had found out was that the Lotus 80 and to a lesser extent the Lotus 81 were suffering from aero flutter causing the cars to porpoise as a result of having springs that were too soft for the aerodynamic loads being put through the wheels and suspension.

By having a twin chassis Peter hoped to use a conventional monocoque chassis in which the driver sat and a separate independently sprung ground effect chassis attached to the first at the outboard ends of the lower suspension. The suspension for the outer ground effect chassis was much stiffer than for the inner monocoque chassis and as a result in theory should not be quite so sensitive to flutter or likely to porpoise.

In order for the car to work not only would the science have to be proven but the rule book scrutinised to ensure the car remained legal. By having the outer ground effect chassis suspended from the bottom suspension links using very stiff rubber bump stops the criteria for having all parts of the car with an aerodynamic influence entirely sprung, was met.

To check the science the team took a 1980 Lotus 81 added a spacer between the engine and the fuel tank through which the central cross member of the outer chassis would pass, made provision for the front cross member of the outer chassis to pass under the driver legs and had had the third rear cross member of the outer chassis pass over the gearbox.

The weight of the outer chassis was kept low using the in house developed carbon fibre process that Peter had been developing for the Lotus road cars and Champman’s boats.

Lotus Ford 86, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Amid much secrecy the Lotus 86 was built and then taken to Jarama for a private test, thanks to the motors heavily revised oil pumps, that were required by the second chassis, a lot of oil was spilled, hence the Torrey Canyon nick name for the car.

Once the leaks had been fixed the Lotus 86 proved that the aerodynamic outer chassis worked providing plenty of down force while the inner monocoque chassis, in which the driver sat, remained free of the porpoising effect that made the car difficult to control.

Upon completion of the test the Lotus 86 which was never subsequently raced was put aside and work started on the Lotus 88 using the same principles.

Thanks for joining me on this “Torry Canyon” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow for a look at an old Rolls Royce. Don’t forget to come back now !


Definetly Not The Right One – Lotus Ford 80 #R1

Colin Chapman described the Lotus Ford 80 at it’s launch in the Kentagon at Brands Hatch in 1979 as the best looking Lotus he had ever built. Reigning World Champion Mario Andretti said it would make the Lotus Ford 79 with which he won the 1978 World Championship look like a London Bus.

Lotus Ford 80, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Unfortunately the car with the revolutionary venturi under the nose and a second under the rest of the body and with out the usual wings front and rear proved to be a bit of a handful with unpredictable handling once it started running on the track and it was only a matter of time before Colin Chapman and his engineers were removing the skirts that sealed the airflow beneath the nose and fitting conventional front wings to aid the aerodynamic poise and balance of the car.

Lotus Ford 80, Silverstone Classic

The whole point of the design was to make the Lotus 80 faster down the straights than the Lotus 79 by not having any wings fitted at all. However all was not lost at Brands Hatch, as seen in Sven Platts photo below, the car was only used as a spare, but in the next race the Spanish Grand Prix Mario Andretti qualified a respectable forth behind the two hitherto dominant Ligiers that were the most effective copies of the previous seasons Lotus 79 and the more powerful Ferrari 312 T4 of Gilles Villeneuve.

Lotus Ford 80, Race of Chapions, Brands Hatch

Patrick Depaillier won the Spanish Grand Prix in his Ligier from Carlos Reutemann, in the Lotus Teams older Lotus 79, who finished ahead of Mario in the Lotus 80. The Spanish Grand Prix turned out to be the highlight of the Lotus 80’s short life, at Monaco Mario could only qualify 13th and at the French GP where a heavily revised second Lotus 80 was tested Mario qualified 12th but he retired with suspension and brake issues from each of these races respectively.

Lotus Ford 80, Silverstone Classic

The final appearance of the Lotus 80 was at the British Grand Prix at Silvestone where I took the photograph below. Mario practised in the car but decided he was better off with his year old Lotus 79 which by now was swamped by new designs which emulated it and the more powerful, ultimately 1979 championship winning, Ferrari T4s.

Lotus Ford 80, British Grand Prix, Silverstone

I believe these photographs all show the same chassis namely Lotus Ford 80 R1 which today appears to be owned by Manfredo Rossi a member of the Martini Rossi family that sponsored team Lotus in 1979.

Lotus Ford 80, Silverstone Classic

Thanks for joining me on this “Definitely Not The Right One” edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’ I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Mario & Ronnie Show – Lotus Ford 79 #79/2 & #79/3

John Player Team Lotus hit the track running in 1978 with Mario Andretti winning the opening race of the season in Argentina and his team mate Ronnie Peterson winning the third race of the season after a thrilling last couple of laps in South Africa. Both of these victories were achieved with the previous seasons Lotus Ford 78 ‘wing car design’ for 1978 Colin Chapman and his engineers came up with something even more refined in the shape of today’s featured car the ‘ground effect’ Lotus Ford 79.

Lotus Ford 79, Goodwood, Festival of Speed

The Mario Andretti first raced a Lotus 79 in the non championship International Trophy race at Silverstone a race well remembered because the front row qualifiers Ronnie Peterson and Niki Lauda both spun of on the warm up lap leaving Andretti and James Hunt to start at the front of the grid despite qualifying 3rd and 4th. Andretti only lasted two laps before he spun out with Hunt spinning out one lap earlier at the same spot.

Lotus Ford 79, Goodwood, Festival of Speed

However for the Belgium Grand Prix there were no mistakes Mario qualified on pole and won, driving I believe from Ronnie who started 7th in the older Lotus Ford 78. At the Spanish Grand Prix Mario was I believe given the #79/3 seen above while Ronnie took over Mario’s Belgium winning #79/2 seen below. Mario qualified on pole and Ronnie 2nd and that is how the Spanish Grand Prix finished.

Lotus Ford 79, Goodwood, Festival of Speed

Mario retired from the Swedish Grand Prix after qualifying on pole leaving Ronnie to finish 3rd behind the controversial Brabham fan cars of Lauda and Watson. Bernie Ecclestone chose to withdraw the Brabham BT46 fan cars after just one race. At the following French Grand Prix Mario qualified 2nd and Ronnie 5th, however they finished 1st and 2nd respectively for the 3rd time in the 1978 season.

Lotus Ford 79, Goodwood, Festival of Speed

For the British Grand Prix it was Ronnie and pole and Mario next to him but both cars retired. In Germany Mario qualified on pole with Ronnie sat next to him on the grid and by now unsurprisingly that is how they finished the race. In Austria Ronnie was again on pole with Mario starting second however Mario retired leaving Ronnie to take an unchallenged win which would prove to be his last.

Lotus Ford 79, Goodwood, Festival of Speed

At the Dutch Grand Prix Mario qualified on pole in #79/3 with Ronnie beside him in #79/2 and the pair duly took their fifth and final 1-2 result of the season. This would prove to be Mario’s last Grand Prix win and indeed the last for any American driver and Ronnie’s last ever finish too. Ronnie crashed #79/2 during practice for the Italian GP and started the race from fifth in an older Lotus 78 while Andretti started from pole in the latest #79/4. Ronnie was involved in a start line accident which broke his legs, unfortunately during the night bone marrow from his injuries got into his blood stream and he died the following morning. The race was restarted and a subdued Mario finished sixth which was enough to claim the championship, but in truth Mario was far more concerned for Ronnie with whom he had been good friends since there time as team mates driving Ferrari sports cars in the early 1970’s. Ronnie for the second time in his career finished second in the World Drivers Championship.

Lotus Ford 79, Goodwood, Festival of Speed

The success of the Lotus 79 was largely due to what was happening to the airflow beneath the bodywork, by building the monocoque just wide enough to hold the driver with fuel tank behind him and the motor behind that, Colin Chapman and his engineers Peter Wright, Geoff Aldridge, Martin Ogilvie and Tony Rudd used the side pods to create venturi by using a low wide neck at the front entrance to the side pods and tall wide exit, with side skirts sealing airflow under the car. When the car was moving air was guided into a partial vacuum created between the venturi side pods under surface and the surface of the road and this had the effect of sucking the car to road which allowed the car to negotiate corners at higher speeds than their competitors, most of whom had still not got to grips with the wing car aerodynamics advanced by the previous years Lotus 78.

For the last two races of the 1979 season perennial Formula One under achiever Jean Pierre Jarrier joined Mario in the team Mario qualified on pole in the USA with J-PJ 8th but neither car finished in the US Grand Prix. The final race of the season was held in Canada where Mario could only qualify 9th and Jean Pierre sat on pole. During the race Jean Pierre looked set for a win until he retired with an oil leak.

Mario finished tenth. The Lotus 79’s were set to be replaced by even more radical Lotus 80’s in 1979 but everything did not go to plan and so the 79’s were pressed into service again for most of the season but were out classed by their competitors who were getting to grips with ground effects aerodynamics.

A little post script courtesy Barry Boor, Mario Andretti was invited to drive the inauguration lap of the next home of the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the America’s on October 21st, the car he drove was naturally a Lotus Ford 79 with which he won his world Championship, you can see how he got on in this linked youtube clip.

Thanks for joining me on this “Mario & Ronnie Show” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Original Wing Car – Lotus Ford 78 #78/R2

After the mixed fortunes of the Lotus 76 with it’s twin wings and electric clutch and the Lotus 77 with it’s fully adjustable suspension Colin Chapman introduced an aerodynamic innovation for the Lotus 78 featured today.

Lotus Ford 78, National Motor Museum, Beaulieu

Like the ’77 the Lotus 78 was built around a narrow monocoque with an oil radiator in the nose,

Lotus Ford 78, National Motor Museum, Beaulieu

but with much larger sidepods than any Grand Prix car seen before.

Lotus Ford 78, National Motor Museum, Beaulieu

The front wings were used, in conjunction with the rear wing, to trim the aerodynamic balance of the car.

Lotus Ford 78, National Motor Museum, Beaulieu

Using an idea first modeled at BRM by Tony Rudd and Peter Wright the side pods closely resembled the upturned inner wing of a de Havilland Mosquito which Chapman had studied and written a detailed account of.

Lotus Ford 78, National Motor Museum, Beaulieu

Tony Rudd and Peter Wright joined Ralph Bellamy and Martin Ogilvie at Lotus to design the car and its side pods which produced prodigious down force to increase the speed at which it could go around corners without loosing grip.

While conducting wind tunnel tests for the Lotus 78 design at Imperial College London Peter Wright found that as predicted by Bernoulli’s principle of fluid dynamics which states that the flow speed of an ideal fluid with no friction will increase simultaneously with a decrease in pressure. Meaning in the case of the Lotus 78 the faster it went the more down force was generated by the side pods and so the better the car stuck to the road.

Lotus Ford 78, National Motor Museum, Beaulieu

The Lotus 78’s, known as John Player Special III’s by Lotus and their sponsors, were ready to race midway through 1976, but Chapman wisely vetoed their use until 1977 so as not to give rival teams the chance to figure out what Chapman and his team had come up with and copy during the off season.

Lotus Ford 78, National Motor Museum, Beaulieu

Starting the 1977 season Lotus had a huge advantage with the 78’s affording Mario Andretti 5 victories and his team mate Gunnar Nilsson with one more. However the unreliability of the Nicholson McLaren built motors played into the hands of Niki Lauda who, having more or less fully recovered from his near fatal accident in 1976, took only three victories and a string of podium places to claim the championship.

The car seen here at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu is chassis #78/R2 which Mario Andretti used to start the 1977 season before it was entrusted to Gunnar Nilsson who won the Belgian Grand Prix driving it. In 1978 before the even more radical Lotus 79 was introduced, Lotus returnee, Ronnie Peterson drove the car and snatched a thrilling victory with one lap to go in South Africa.

Mexican Hector Rebaque acquired the car at the end of 1978 season and used it along Lotus 78/R1 which he had been using since the beginning of the 1978 season.

Sadly Ronnie Peterson lost his life after an accident at the start of the 1978 Italian GP where he was driving the back up Lotus #78/R3.

Thanks for joining me on this “Original Wing Car” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow when, thanks to some photographs from Geoffrey Horton, I’ll be looking at some of the vehicles in attendance at the Marin Samoma Concour’s d’Elegance. Don’t forget to come back now !