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Race Retro to celebrate 40th anniversary of ground-effects era

20 December 2017

The international historic motorsport show, Race Retro, will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Formula 1’s ground-effect era in the Motor Sport Hall of Fame at Stoneleigh Park in February.

Although the use of aerodynamic influence can be traced back more than a century in motor racing – Gustave Eiffel of Parisian tower fame had a wind tunnel that Peugeot used to help shape its Grand Prix cars in the 1910s – it was Team Lotus’ Colin Chapman who first fully capitalised on the notion of the racing car as an inverted wing, pressed to the track by the air that passed over its bodywork’s contours.

Chapman’s landmark design was the Lotus 79, which was introduced during the 1978 season. Mario Andretti gave the car a winning debut in the Belgian Grand Prix before scoring four further victories on his way to winning that season’s world title.

Building on Chapman’s concept, Williams took the concept a stage further with the Patrick Head-inspired FW07, which gave the team its maiden F1 success in the 1979 British Grand Prix and carried Australian Alan Jones to the world championship in 1980. Race Retro’s Motor Sport Hall of Fame Live will have an FW07 on display from the Williams Heritage collection, and it is hoped that a 79 will also be present.

“The ground-effect philosophy filtered down from the top of the sport and the 2018 Hall of Fame Live display will showcase a stunning range of cars that symbolises one of the most innovative periods in racing history,” explained event director Lee Masters.

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