The FIA is trying to convince everyone that ‘technology transfer’ is the future for Formula 1. F1 cars should use Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems just like the ultra-efficient road cars of the future.
Maybe. But the kind of technology transfer I like to see is where mechanics get mischievous and bolt howling F1 race engines into road-going cars.
Here’s three of my favourites.
Alfa-Romeo 164 Procar
Bernie Ecclestone pulled his Brabham team out of Formula 1 at the end of the 1987 season. He had masterminded F1’s commercial operations for many years while combining the role as Brabham team manager, but finally elected to drop the latter and concentrate on the former.
He kept the Brabham mechanics busy with work on a new project for 1988. Ecclestone had dreamt up a new racing series he called the Production Car World Championship – ‘Procar’ – that would begin in 1989.
The cars would be built as silhouettes of ordinary road cars but fitted with 3.5 litre normally aspirated engines (as was used in F1 from 1989) or 2.8-litre turbocharged units. As a preview of the technology, Brabham built an Alfa Romeo 164 fitted with an F1-spec V10 engine. It was shown off at the 1988 Italian Grand Prix:
More video of the Alfa Romeo 164 Procar:
Ford Transit Supervan 3
Ford’s workhorse the Transit is more often seen in the paddock than on the race track. The company first put a racing engine in the van in 1971 to create the Transit Supervan. The 400bhp unit came from the company’s GT40 Le Mans-winning sports car.
They put an F1 engine in the van 13 years later – a Cosworth DFL, based on the classic DFV engine but with a longer stroke. – to create Supervan 2.
Supervan 3 followed in 1995, packing a 650bhp Ford-Cosworth ‘HB’ F1 engine. It could blast past 150mph and required a large rear spoiler to keep it stable at high speeds. The chassis came from a Ford C100 sports-prototype.
The van is still in use today but the F1 engine has since been replaced with a V6 unit. Here it is at Knockhill in Scotland:
High res images:
Renault Espace F1
People carriers are not sexy. Nothing says ‘I’ve given up on my youth’ like a seven-seater.
But Renault, who popularised the vehicle with the Espace in the ’80s, created a genuinely desirable MPV when they dropped their championship-winning V10 engine into a specially modified Espace.
As this (French) video explains, the car also incorporated the rear suspension from a Williams-Renault FW14, and four-times champion Alain Prost drove the car at Paul Ricard:
Here’s some more video of the car (commentary in English) featuring Frank Williams talking about the car:
High res images:
Anyone know of any other road cars with F1 engines?
Photos copyright: Williams | Ford | Ford | Williams | Renault
More on F1 and road cars
- The supercars that make F1 look slow
- ‘F1 road car’ goes into production
- First Caparo T1 hits the road
More F1 video