Race Retro to pay tribute to F1’s turbocharged era

11 December 2018

Next year’s Race Retro is set to pay tribute to Formula 1’s first turbocharged era in its Hall of Fame Live exhibition at Stoneleigh Park.

In acknowledgment of the 40thanniversary of the first victory clinched by a turbocharged racer of the era, the 2019 show will exhibit a range of exciting turbocharged racers, including the Williams FW11, which was driven to championship victory by Nelson Piquet and powered by a Honda 1.5 litre turbocharged V6. The car not only secured race victories but also took the 1986 constructor’s crown for Williams.

The first turbocharged car to enter Formula 1 was the Renault RS01 which made its debut at the 1977 British Grand Prix. Two years later its successor, the RS10, made it a first win for the turbo era when Jean-Pierre Jabouille took the chequered flag at the 1979 French Grand Prix. His team mate, Rene Arnoux, finished third.

The RS10 was powered by a twin-turbocharged V6 engine and featured a 6-speed manual gearbox and ground effect chassis. That car was so successful, it claimed pole position five times from nine races during that 1979 season.

Following Renault’s lead, Ferrari was the second team to enter a turbocharged car before other makers saw the potential and made the switch. The last Formula 1 world title for a turbocharged car was claimed by Ayrton Senna at the wheel of the McLaren MP4 before the technology was outlawed the following year, not returning to the series 1 until 2014.

Turbocharging had already been used elsewhere in racing, and also on show will be the Porsche 917/10 used Jody Scheckter in the 1973 American Can-Am Championship. Developed for the 917 that had dominated sportscars, the 917/30 used a turbocharged version of Porsche flat -12 five litre engine, and was ultimately developed into the mighty 917/30.

“The turbo era was an amazing time for race fans” says Lee Masters, Race Retro’s acting show director. “We are thrilled to be able to celebrate it at this year’s Race Retro 40 years on from that first win in Formula 1. We can promise visitors a very special display in celebration.”


Photo credit: Roger Dixon


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