At the Heart
Engine Developments Limited is the racing engine manufacturing company of John Judd, and, like many first generation firms, the imprint of the founder is very much present on the cornpany and its products. John Judd is an Englishman, and few firms are more English in character than Engine Developments. The products of the firm also display English virtues: Judd’s engines embody years of racing experience and his approach to design is empirical: proven features and methods take precedence over theory when Judd sets out to make a new racing engine.
John Judd is also a very happy man these days — and with good reason. He is doing exactly what he wants to do, i.e. making top class, straight racing engines, and these engines have been performing extremely well, both in Grand Prix racing and on the CART/Indy circuit. At the San Marino GP this year, for example, Judd engines filled three of the first six places. He also has a modern, spacious (15,000 sq ft) new factory — twice the size of his old premises — a few miles outside Rugby and a new V10 called the GV, which has shown considerable promise from the very first.
Indeed, the first test run of the GV tells you as much about the man as about the engine he has built. By chance, when this engine was put on the test-stand for the very first time, some engineers from Toyota appeared unannounced at the factory. The Japanese team have slowly been developing a V10 of their own for Group C racing. With characteristic openness, Judd greeted his visitors and invited them to accompany him to the control panel while he brought to life his latest creation. In most firms a wall of secrecy would have descended at the very approach of engineers from a potentially rival company.
Normally the first few test runs of a racing engine are fraught with difficulty. Numerous adjustments have to be made to get an engine to run at all, let alone smoothly or at power. Consequently, new engines are run cautiously and at slow speeds during early tests; only gradually are rpm increased over a series of tests. The test run of the GV started off this way; John took it up to about 4000 rpm. All seemed well, so he pulled the throttle lever back a bit more; 4500 then 5000; then 6, 7, 8, 9, 10,000 rpm. After reaching 11,500 rpm, he paused a moment. A somewhat alien sense of caution began to intrude, though his face displayed a characteristic grin, and he let the GV wind down slowly to idle speed, leaving visitors muttering in disbelief that this really could be the first test run of Judd’s V10.
John Judd is a Midlander; both man and place are at the heart of the British motor engineering industry. Engineering is in his blood. His grandfather was a toolmaker and his father a production engineer and works manager. After school in Coventry, where he achieved eight O-levels, he began an apprenticeship at Coventry Climax, a manufacturer of fire pump motors, but, more importantly during the late Fifties and early Sixties, a maker of Grand Prix engines as well. After Climax quit racing in 1965, Judd went to work for World Champion Sir Jack Brabham on his Repco engine project. During the first two years of the 3-litre formula, the Repco engine was very successful; Brabham and partner Dennis Hulme won two World Championships in succession, but later developments of the engine were not sufficiently powerful or reliable enough to compete with the all-conquering Cosworth DFV. Nevertheless, this experience would be useful to Judd; if Coventry Climax may be seen as John Judd’s first university degree in racing engine development, then the Brabham/Repco days were a valuable post-graduate course. Not only did he learn about racing engine design and development, he made useful contacts during these years which later on were to help him.
In 1970 John and his father set up Engine Developments in new premises in Rugby. Through Jack Brabham, the firm secured a contract from Ford Australia for the design of a new cylinder head. This commission was worth about £20,000, not much these days, but just enough to keep the firm in business. Thereafter, most work came from the sale of Formula Super Vee and later Formula Three engines based on VW motors. Judd also began rebuilding Cosworth DFV engines for, amongst others, Amon, Token, Shadow, Surtees, Lotus, Tyrrell, Ensign, Arrows, and the Williams team. For Williams, Judd also undertook further development of the DFV engine. Eventually these specials produced 20-30 bhp more than stock units and were used by Keke Rosberg to win the World Championship in 1982.
The Brabham connection and this familiarity with DFVs led to the next step in Judd’s career. At the end of the 1970s, Honda started to think about returning to international racing. For over ten years the Japanese engineers had been busy with work on production cars and consequently felt the need to catch up on the latest in racing engine technology before building their own engines. They had worked successfully with Sir Jack Brabham in the early 1960s, so turned to him for advice. Brabham recommended Honda to get in touch with John Judd whose broad experience in Formula One racing in the 1970s had put him in the forefront of engine development.
Honda did not return straightaway at the top level of racing but cautiously began by entering Formula Two with a 2-litre V6 engine. Judd not only assisted them in its development but also made his company’s facilities available as Honda’s European base.
As a next step the Japanese company intended to develop jointly with Judd an engine for CART/Indy racing. Work had already commenced on this project when the racing priorities of Honda changed, and they decided to drop the Indy engine project in favour of the development of a 1.5-litre turbo-supercharged engine for Grand Prix racing. In recognition of the help given by Judd on the F2 engine, however, Honda let Engine Developments continue the V8 engine project on its own.
At this juncture, Judd was already involved in Indy/CART racing rebuilding Cosworth DFX engines. This work provided the company with a practical experience of turbos and with a knowledge of what would be required of an engine suitable for Indy/CART racing. With Judd’s expanding engineering staff, included Neil Walker formerly of BRM, a 2.65-litre engine was developed and put into production. Initially this engine carried the name Brabham-Honda, but it was not long before they came out of the Rugby factory with Judd’s name on the cam covers. It was the first complete engine made by Engine Developments Limited.
In the nomenclature of the company, this motor is referred to as the Judd AV. It is a four-cam 90° V8 with a bore of 92mm and a stroke of 49.7mm; currently it produces between 710 and 720 bhp. So far, 49 AV engines have been built, in several versions, and another five are being constructed this year. The revitalised Truesports team are relying on the latest AVs for their new cars which are being driven by Scott Pruett and Geoff Brabham. The Lolas of Scott Goodyear, Ted Pappas, and Dominic Dobson are also using Judd engines on the American circuits in 1991.
Early season results have given the Rugby firm reason to be pleased. In most races so far, Judd-powered cars have qualified near the front of the grid, and there have been several finishes in the top six, a very considerable accomplishment since most of the big-name teams/drivers are using Chevrolets.
With the AV as a basis, Judd early on began to develop (initially for Honda) a 3-litre engine for use in Formula 3000. This new engine was logically called the BV, and it was successful almost immediately winning the third race it entered at Pau in 1986. The configuration is the same and the same basic castings are used for both AV and BV. The Formula 3000 engine also has the same bore, but the stroke was enlarged to 56.4mm to bring it up to capacity. The BV is a naturally aspirated engine designed to operate on pump petrol. To date about 30 BV engines have been made.
1988 was an important year in the history of Engine Developments Limited for it was then that the company built its first Grand Prix engine. Designated the Judd CV, this engine initially performed well in the cars of the Williams team, even though it was up against far more powerful turbo-engined cars still eligible that year. The CV was based on the company’s earlier designs, but the bore and stroke were enlarged to 94mm x 63mm. Early versions produced between 595 and 605 bhp. Minor changes in the following year brought maximum power up to 610/615 bhp. When production of the CV ended, 63 of these engines had been built.
The CV was followed naturally enough by the DV. This was a 90° V8 like its predecessors, but in fact it was a completely new engine with wider cylinder spacing; it had only a few parts in common with preceding Judd V8s. Only one example of the DV was built before it was rapidly superseded by the EV which is essentially a narrow angle (76°) version of the earlier engine. Both the DV and the EV are highly oversquare engines having bore and stroke dimensions of approximately 99mm x 56.75mm. As well as being a compact unit the EV is commendably light, weighing no more than 127 kg. The EV produces 620 + horsepower on standard fuel with a rev limit of 12,500 rpm. So far 38 EV engines have been built. Last year it was used exclusively by Leyton House. This year Lotus have been using an updated version of the unit in their type 102B car. Thus far, the Lotus/Judd combination has achieved considerably more than some other teams have managed with allegedly more powerful V10 or V12 engines. Both Mika Hakkinen and Julian Bailey have put their cars in the points.
After the EV had been put into production, Judd felt that the V8 line of Grand Prix engines was reaching the end of its development potential. The company’s engineers recognized that more power would be needed to compete in Formula One and decided to start with a clean sheet of paper. The result is the GV, currently being raced by Dallara. In case you are wondering, there was an FV project, but the name was not used for the new Grand Prix engine mainly because it sounded too much like DFV, a Cosworth designation. The new GV is a V10 engine with the cylinder banks set at an angle of 72°. Major components like the block and head of the engine are cast in aluminium alloy by Kent Aerospace. Most machining, however, is done in-house at Judd’s new Rugby plant. As on the Honda V10, the camshaft drive of the GV is at the back, but accessories, like oil scavenging pumps, are driven from the front of the crankshaft. The 3.5-litre GV is a compact engine (length: 624mm; width: 555mm; height: 420mm, exclusive of inlet trumpets) and a very light one as well; it weighs only 124 kg, is 3 kg less than the EV, even though it has two more cylinders!
In general design terms, it follows the Judd philosophy of seeking power through generous bore size for high rpm and relatively large valves for deep breathing. Cylinder dimensions of the GV have not yet been released by the company, but the bore is probably in the range of 92-94mm. Like most racing engines these days, the cylinder heads are equipped with dual overhead camshafts which operate the usual four valves per cylinder; a single spark plug is located in the centre of each combustion chamber. The valve included angle is less than the customary 32°. By my estimate the angle is probably between 25-27°. Initial testing of the GV went well; to the delight of Judd race engineer Stan Hall, Emanuele Pirro reported that its power band was as broad as the Honda V10 he tested for McLaren-Honda. From very early on, this engine has shown itself capable of revving above 13,000 rpm. I can confirm its rev limit having witnessed a test run at the beginning of March during which the engine was able to pull 13,100 rpm; now 13,600 rpm is being used regularly in qualifying.
John Judd has been around racing too long to be unrealistic about the prospects of his company’s new engine. He does not expect a GV-powered car to win this year. Compared to the Hondas, Renaults, and Ferraris of this world, his company is tiny (about 56 employees), and its resources are relatively slender. The GV has been built without the technical support of a major manufacturer and without the financial support of a generous sponsor. Judd does not expect to sweep away the opposition, but he believes that he now has a truly competitive engine and a good team of engineers to develop its considerable potential. So far this season, the GV has performed far above expectation; it is proving extremely reliable for a new engine and already both Pirro and his partner JJ Lehto have scored championship points on a number of occasions. Judd’s vast experience is paying off. Only time will tell if the GV will become a winner. Victory in Grand Prix racing is the product of many factors, such as tyres, driver, chassis, etc, most of which are beyond the control of a company of Judd’s size.
For Engine Developments Limited, the GV is more than just another new engine, the latest in a series of six built by the company to date. It marks the beginning of a new line and will be used in a number of forms, not only in Grand Prix but also for the World Sportscar series, and possibly in much modified form in CART/Indy racing in the years to come. It is a new departure in terms of design differing in many ways from its predecessors but incorporating all of the experience accumulated by the Judd team from thirty or more years racing. Though one cannot predict the future, one can forecast with confidence that Judd will be deeply involved in racing at the highest levels over the next few years and that developments of the GV will be raced around the world and that the basic design will be improved and altered as further racing experience suggests. — DDH