Around and about, May 1991

Donington Formula 1 Extravaganza

The Bank holiday weekend of May 5/6 is one to mark in your diary. Commencing on Sunday, but with the main day being the Monday, the HSCC are organising a meeting at Donington to celebrate 25th anniversary of the 3-litre Formula One.

At the time of going to press, 26 Formula 1 cars have been accepted into race for 3-litre Grand Prix cars while there are a total of 41 cars so far accepted for the couple of Formula 1 demonstrations planned.

Jack Brabham, Denis Hulme, Jody Scheckter, John Surtees, Brian Redmond, Guy Edwards, Dickie Attwood, Jean-Pierre Jarier, Jean-Pierre Beltoise, Jacques Laffitte, David Charlton, Brett Lunger, Howden Ganley, Brian Henton, Tony Trimmer, Mike Wilds, Vern Schuppan, Rupert Keegan and Loris Kessell are the named ex-Formula 1 drivers turning up while Paul Stewart will be demonstrating Tyrrell 003. It is also hoped that Damon Hill will drive his father’s Brabham BT34.

Apart from the cars racing and those participating in demonstrations, there will also be a static display in the paddock which the organisers have promised should present good photo opportunities.

The rest of the programme is made up of the usual HSCC championships, such as the QED Classic Formula 3, the pre ’65 saloons, and there is also a Historic GT race which sees cars as delectable as Chevron B19s, McLaren M8Cs, Lola T70s and Lola T212s taking to the track.


New Formula 1 Engine

As reported in the February 1991 issue of Motor Sport Scott Russell Race Engine Design of Rochdale has acted primarily as a consultancy service for the world’s racing engine industry for over twenty years. Consequently, much of its work has remained hidden because of confidentiality agreements. Though the company will continue to undertake consultancy work, it has recently decided to take its light from under the bushel and produce racing engines with its own name on the cam covers. In fact, the company is producing not one, but a whole family of engines designed for use in Formula One, Group C, and Indy/CART racing.

Ultimately, Chief Designer Al Melling would like to make a wide-angle V12 of the sort that they designed originally for GM a couple of years ago. However, as an initial and more practical step, his company has opted for an engine of V8 configuration which can be adapted more easily for use in a wide range of racing applications. Also, the V8 layout had been chosen because Melling, like Geoff Goddard of Cosworth, believes that V8s are inherently more compact and torquey.

The first new Scott Russell engine family to be produced is a 3.5-litre motor. The cylinder banks of this engine are set at the relatively wide angle 90° so that it could fit in cars designed originally around Cosworth, Judd, or Mugen engines, all of which are 90 V8s.

In design terms, it is a relatively straightforward four-cam, 32-valve engine with the camshafts being driven by a train of gears from the rear of the crankshaft and the oil pumps from the front. The engine follows the basic tenets of Melling’s design philosophy. Naturally, it is an oversquare engine, but the bore/stroke ratios are lower than one finds, for example, on the latest Judd V8s. The valve included angle at 18 degrees is also relatively narrow, and the combustion chambers are very compact and of regular shape. The pistons are virtually flat with only the slightest indentations for valve clearance. The engine has been designed to operate at the exceptionally high compression ratio of 13.5:1 on pump fuel.

By March the first engine had been on the dynomometer for many hours operating under a racing type programme with over 12,500 rpm used on occasion. The maximum power is 635 bhp at 11,600 rpm, but, more significantly, the engine’s power band is very wide with over 500 bhp available from as low as 10,200 rpm. The torque curve is equally broad; more than 300 ft lb are available over a band of 2500 rpm, with a maximum of 304 lbs ft achieved at 8600 rpm.

The cylinder block and heads are made of aluminium alloy while most other castings are magnesium alloy. Some machining is done in-house, but most is contracted out to engineering firms in the Rochdale area. Scott Russell’s new engine is a robust motor, weighing 149 kg complete, including exhaust headers. Strength and reliability were primary design considerations. The present engine is very short, shorter than any other now used in Grand Prix racing, but fairly wide and tall; its dimensions are length 526mm; width 700mm and height 540mm.

The second engine in the family will be similar, but has been designed to a more advanced specification and is intended to fit current and future Formula One cars. The angle of the cylinder banks has been narrowed to 72 degrees, consequently, the width of the engine is reduced to only 540mm. Weight will also be slightly less. This engine will introduce carbonfibre composite materials for pistons, cylinder liners, and, possibly, connecting rods. A more obvious change will be the first use of Scott Russell’s unique bifurcated port design. Single-cylinder tests of bifurcated ports have shown that the volumetric efficiency increases by 10-15% over ports of conventional design.

So many projects all of a sudden may seem a bit much for a small company, but one must remember that Scott Russell is essentially a design firm. The company has facilities to do assembly, test, and development work, and a computerised and fully instrumented test-bed was recently installed to help with some of these tasks. Assembly, testing and development will be done at the Rochdale factory. Re-building can be done there as well or subcontracted to the many specialist firms in Britain and on the Continent which form yet another layer of the racing engine industry. — DDH


VSCC Derbyshire Trial

Held on 6 April, this got off to a good start, with only five non-starters, two A7s, two 30/98s and a Model-A Ford, to even things up out of an entry of 80, yet another shining example of the popularity of VSCC competitions. The winner of the Dick Bartho Trophy was Rodney Felton in his 1932 Brescia Bugatti and the other 1st Class Award winners were: P Blakeney-Edwards (Frazer Nash Super Sports), B Thwaites (A7), both only a point away from Felton’s score, and R Winder (A7), only two points behind these two. 2nd Class Awards went to B Clarke (A7-GN), J McEwen (Riley), S Diffey (A7), P Longhurst (Riley), F Giles (navigated by his wife, in the Boulogne Frazer Nash), R Scaldwell (Riley) and D Johnson (Colemore Frazer Nash) in Class 1. The Class 2 1st Class Award scorers were: C Rides (Invicta) who took the Patrick Marsh Trophy, H Monro (30/98), R Collings (1903 Mercedes) and S Baxter (Chrysler 75), the 2nd Class Awards going to P Longdon (Ford-A), P Tebbett (Riley), E Peppercorn (1914 Renault), T Threlfall (Ford-A) and the President, Bruce Spollon (30/98). The joint 3rd Class Award takers were: A Carlisle (Trojan), R Low (A7), J Gunn (A7), D Rolfe (MG-M), M Holt (Ford-A), G Rankin (30/98)and D Marsh (30/98). — WB


Following the Historic Grand Prix Cars Association’s deal with British Aerospace for sponsorship of its Fifties sports car races, the club has now secured backing for two more of its major races. Ralph Lauren, the clothing company, will sponsor the Association’s Grand Prix car races at Spa-Francorchamps (May 18/19) and at the Nürburgring Oldtimers meeting (August 10/11). Ralph Lauren himself is of course a keen car collector.

With the introduction of a new event in the Christies’ Historic Festival at Silverstone (July 27/28), the Association will now be running four of the eight races; the new Christies Cup will be for four-seater Le Mans cars, and should pack the grid with Bentleys, Alfa Romeos, Lagondas and Invictas. But will they be made to run some laps with the hood up?