Former BRM designer Mike Pilbeam is making a return to the international racing scene with a brand new Formula Two “wing car”, constructed in his Bourne workshop. Of late, Pilbeam has been closely involved with the British hill-climbing scene, and has constructed DFV-powered cars for leading runners Alister Douglas-Osborn and Peter Kaye (Motor Sport June ’78). It therefore comes as no great surprise that the first Pilbeam F2 chassis, the MP40, should be destined for the hills. The Hart powered car, an interim design, has been built for Kidderminster Company Director Martyn Griffiths, who last season lost the RAC title by one point, using the same engine.
The MP40 is the first ground effect machine to be introduced to British hill-climbing, but no exceptional performance gain is predicted as most tracks are bumpy and extremely tight and twisty. Last season’s monocoque has been retained, and stubby sidepods incorporated in the bodywork. These house the water radiators and are shaped underneath so as to give some measure of “ground effect”.
The new European F2 car will have a revised, much slimmer monocoque to allow wider, more effective sidepods. It will also feature a front radiator and inboard front suspension to clean up the air flow. The drivers for the European season have not yet been announced, but are known to include an up and coming British competitor with F2 experience. Two cars will be run for the works by an established F2 entrant. – I. M. B.