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by Simtek 18 Jun 2018, 12:01
For the past while I've been putting together a list of commonly stated "facts" about motorsport that are either misleading or flat out wrong. I was going to throw it all into one post but the list has gotten rather lengthy and I've decided to only tackle them one post at a time. With the news of Fernando Alonso's suberb performance on the way to an otherwise "easy" (if that term's appropriate in the context of Le Mans) win yesterday, I'm going to do the first one:

The Triple Crown of Motorsport

Le Mans. Monaco. Indianapolis. Arguably the three most prestigious motor races on the planet, and slightly less arguably the most recognisable. It's become popular recently, thanks mainly to Alonso, to treat this as an "official" designation for the Triple Crown of Motorsport. The Triple Crown consists of the Indianapolis 500, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the Monaco Grand Prix, of which Graham Hill is the only winner in the whole history of motor racing.

Or does it? In this interview in 1975, Graham claims that it is not the Monaco Grand Prix, but the World Championship of Drivers that defines the "Grand Prix" segment of the Triple Crown. This makes a degree of sense, as at the time there was only one world championship for drivers in motor racing, that being of course the one analogous to the title currently held by Lewis Hamilton. And besides, for many years it could be argued that it was not Monaco, but the French Grand Prix that was the most prestigious of them all: It was by far the oldest and yielded the most prize money of any event on the Formula 1 calendar.

Even now I'm sure there are some reading who would argue: Why not the Daytona 500, or the Bathurst 1000, or the Nürburgring 24 Hours? And I would agree that they each have a perfectly valid claim. As ever, the Nostalgia Forum provides some good insights, particularly this one from none other than Doug Nye:

Doug Nye wrote:I wouldn't swear to it, but I've got a feeling that back in 1972 or whenever it was, I was one of the first blokes to waffle on about Graham Hill having achieved an unofficial 'triple crown' of motor racing's pinnacle achievements - at THAT TIME some things were unargued:

The most prestigious international title was the Formula 1 Drivers' World Championship -

The most prestigious, most charismatic and most universally well known individual open-wheeler race worldwide was the Indy 500 -

And the most prestigious, most charismatic and most universally well known sports car race worldwide (if that's not a clash with 'universally'?) was the Le Mans 24-Hours.

NASCAR at that time was no more than an earner for a bunch of red-necked deep south motor sporting dyslexics who didn't understand that good cars should also turn right.

Not a single solitary Grand Prix (not even Monaco) nor any other road race came even close in public perception to the contemporary stature of Le Mans. No rallies counted at all. The general public had never heard of the Targa Florio, nor of the Nurburgring, and the Carrera PanAmericana was another euphemism for the Mexican two-step wasn't it?...Montezuma's Revenge...

At the time when Graham completed his personal triple crown with his victory at Le Mans the accolade was indeed valid...

I suppose this demonstrates how things have changed since the seventies. Monaco has arguably become even more prestigious since then (especially with the French Grand Prix becoming just another round of the championship), NASCAR (and, therefore, the Daytona 500) is now treated as a perfectly legitimate form of world class competition (well, among people who don't fall back on the usual oval racing stereotypes...), and the Targa has been consigned to history.

I suppose what prompted me to write about this one in particular was seeing the prevalence of people very strictly clinging to the "Monaco" definition of the Triple Crown as opposed to the "World Championship" definition (particuarly when Jacques Villeneuve, who explicitly targeted the Triple Crown himself at Peugeot, is brought up), when both are equally valid, which is to say, it doesn't really matter too much. In truth, motor racing is so diverse it would be impossible to simply pick three events and call it a Triple Crown without omitting another highly prestigious event or even an entire discipline (I haven't even mentioned rallying yet!).

I am of course happy with the current generally accepted definition and it remains a unique achievement whichever way you slice it, but by no means should it ever be treated as "official" under any definition. I'm glad it's giving a top-class driver a reason to step out of his comfort zone and hope it encourages other F1 drivers to do the same. I feel that the sport's too provincial and elitist these days.

I will be back with more at some later date. If anyone has their own misconception they'd like to write about please do so. Hopefully I can check another one off my list that way. :lol:
by Rob Dylan 18 Jun 2018, 12:55
Well said, well said. For me, one of the most impressive feats I can think of is John Surtees in how he won the two-wheel and the four-wheel world championships. As far as I'm aware, he's the only person to do it, and for me that's an even bigger achievement. To go and do a completely different kind of motorsport, and I mean completely different kind, and win both series, is impeccable.

I find it a little sad that MotoGP doesn't have the same legendary status as Formula 1 in that regard, and doesn't get included on the "Triple Crown", or any other achievements every driver aims to win. But that's just my opinion.

Murray Walker at the 1997 Austrian Grand Prix wrote:The other [Stewart] driver, who nobody's been paying attention to, because he's disappointing, is Jan Magnussen.


Felipe Nasr - the least forgettable F1 driver!
by giraurd 18 Jun 2018, 14:33
Rob Dylan wrote:Well said, well said. For me, one of the most impressive feats I can think of is John Surtees in how he won the two-wheel and the four-wheel world championships. As far as I'm aware, he's the only person to do it, and for me that's an even bigger achievement. To go and do a completely different kind of motorsport, and I mean completely different kind, and win both series, is impeccable.

I find it a little sad that MotoGP doesn't have the same legendary status as Formula 1 in that regard, and doesn't get included on the "Triple Crown", or any other achievements every driver aims to win. But that's just my opinion.


Obviously what Surtees did was hyper impressive, nothing away from him - the amount of motorcycle championships he has speaks volumes, and in cars his solitary title doesn't really do him justice for he was arguably equally good, if not even better than his multi champion rivals of G Hill and Jack Brabham. So it's understandable that now, watching cars with insane amounts of aero grip, it might seem baffling how - especially seeing how none of the motorcycle riders who have tried to make the transition (Rossi, Stoner, Lawson, Cecotto sr, Agostini) lately, have managed to make any lasting impression whatsoever.

But the thing is that back then, pre-wings, it was more common for racers to excel in both GP and motorcycle racing. Mike Hailwood, for example, was a quick man in F1 too - one can only wonder what might have happened had he not gotten injured in '74 and could have continued in the McLaren team for '76. Then there was Gary Hocking, the '61 500cc champ who after his title switched to car racing in the name of safety, proved himself phenomenally quick, and then got killed in his Lotus - not to forget about the "smaller" names of Bob Anderson, Bill Ivy et al. Yet, pre-WDC, it was even more common: Nuvolari's got European titles in both car and motorcycle racing, Varzi should have had if there were any championships for him to win, Taruffi came from a motorcycle background too, and Hermann Paul Müller can claim both GP European championship from 1939 and 250cc World Championship post war.

So, tl;dr Surtees was great but wasn't that unique in his bike-car versatility!

---

Regarding the "triple crown" debate, personally I am content with the publicity it gets Simtek. The argument that it doesn't recognize the other championships and shouldn't be valued as the be all and end all of versatility is fair enough, but then again I disagree that the very existence of triple crown as a "concept" would devalue Nascar, Motorcycle racing, Bathurst or rallying in any way. Regardless of how much media attention we've got on Triple Crown thanks to Alonso's exploits right now, the distinction hasn't discouraged the likes of Ricciardo and Hamilton from flirting with Nascar or Kimi and Kubica with rallying anyhow, and I'm sure it would also receive considerable attention should they go on to contest for those trophies in addition to their F1 achievements.

when you're dead people start listening
by Aguvazk 19 Jun 2018, 22:36
It's always interesting see drivers who breaks the mold and try something diferent, especially in this modern times when we have a tendency for the specialization (in all areas of the human knowledge)
Every race has it secrets... Mónaco, the Dakar, Indy 500, Le mans, etc.

I'm not a serious person
by This 20 Jun 2018, 04:28
The Dakar could've been huge too, if they stayed in Africa... So far the only one winning in F1, Dakar and Le Mans was Jacky Ickx, but of course he never tried Indy. He never won any triple crown but nevertheless he shone in 3 totally different types of racing (Grand Prix, Endurance, Rallly-Raid). I think he can surely be ranked high in an 'all time greats of versatility' list. Some fifties drivers have achieved similar results, as they tried their hands on rally too.

So what would be the triple crown of rejectdom?

Hail the Fox Queen.
by tBone 20 Jun 2018, 10:25
This wrote:The Dakar could've been huge too, if they stayed in Africa... So far the only one winning in F1, Dakar and Le Mans was Jacky Ickx, but of course he never tried Indy. He never won any triple crown but nevertheless he shone in 3 totally different types of racing (Grand Prix, Endurance, Rallly-Raid). I think he can surely be ranked high in an 'all time greats of versatility' list. Some fifties drivers have achieved similar results, as they tried their hands on rally too.

So what would be the triple crown of rejectdom?

Well I saw that BadgerGP had an article on the Triple Clown, which they defined as having a DNF or DNQ in Monaco, Indy 500 and Le Mans. That provided an interesting list of drivers.

YOUR
LOGO

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by Simtek 20 Jun 2018, 13:35
Apologies for the interruption, but here's my next one:

Avus was cut in half by the Berlin Wall

In 1921, the Automobil-Verkehrs-und Übungsstraße, or Avus, was opened in Berlin. It measured approximately 19.5km and the layout was simply two straights (with the odd kink) of roughly equal length, connected by two loops at either end. It hosted the first German Grand Prix in 1926, and thereafter hosted the Formula Libre (and later, Formula 3) Avusrennen for many years. In 1937, a new 43-degree banking was built to replace the original Nordkurve and make Avus the fastest circuit in the world; Fagioli set a lap average of 280 km/h and Hermann Lang made a race average of 276 km/h. These speed records would not be beaten at any circuit for about four decades.

All racing activities on the Avus were ceased, for obvious reasons, in 1939, and after the war the map of Germany was redrawn: Austria was liberated, all territory east of the River Oder was annexed by Poland and the USSR, while the remaining territory was occupied by the militaries of the four major victorious powers. Berlin itself, being the capital, was also divided into four occupation zones.

It is from this situation that a popular myth arose about Avus, one which is still perpetuated by figures like Joe Saward and Keith Collantine. By the time racing resumed at Avus in 1951, the track had been drastically cut from its original 19.5km to the 8.3km circuit that would eventually host the 1959 German Grand Prix. The reason that's usually given for this is that the circuit was now partially inside East Berlin, but any basic knowledge of the city's geography would demonstrate that this could not possibly be more wrong. Avus straddles Berlin's southwestern boroughs and comes nowhere near the city centre; the nearest point in the wall would have been about seven kilometres from the circuit.

The more plausible explanation is that perhaps they meant the border with the surrounding East German state, but this also doesn't hold true because the circuit was entirely within West Berlin, although the old Südkurve did come to within about a mile of Checkpoint Bravo outside the city. This of course leaves the question of why and when the circuit was shortened. The "when" was, in fact, not in 1951 but 1938. The "why" I will have to go into more detail about.

There were a number of factors that went into the shortening of the Avus circuit. One was the death of Bernd Rosemeyer in a speed record attempt on the Frankfurt-Darmstadt Autobahn. This naturally raised concerns over safety and was almost certainly also the main reason Grand Prix cars stopped racing at Avus after 1937. Two other factors were at play: One was to make the track better for spectators (more laps without having to alter race distance), but another major one was a plan to integrate the circuit with the Autobahn network. This resulted in the original Südkurve at Nikolassee being replaced by a junction and the need for a new one to be built further north.

Already in 1938, we would have seen sportscars negotiating a Südkurve that occupied the approximate site of the post-war bend, the difference being that this one, at least for the time being, was a tight hairpin, as opposed to the pre-1938 and post-war right-hander followed by a large-radius left (another factoid, at least about the 1959 circuit, is that it was "two straights and two hairpins". There were no hairpins!). The original plans for the new Südkurve would have entailed the construction of a new banking to complement the "Wall of Death" further north, but the war put a stop to that.

One part of the "border crossing" myth is true though. The pre-war circuit was indeed bisected by two occupation zones, but neither of the them was the Soviet one: They were the British and American sectors!
by dinizintheoven 20 Jun 2018, 17:10
There's a further reason why AVUS couldn't have been cut in half by the Berlin Wall, whether the circuit was shortened in 1938 or 1951...

...the Berlin Wall was built in 1961.

James Allen, on his favourite F1 engine of all time:
"...the Life W12, I can't describe the noise to you, but imagine filling your dustbin with nuts and bolts, and then throwing it down the stairs, it was something akin to that!"
by Simtek 20 Jun 2018, 17:22
dinizintheoven wrote:There's a further reason why AVUS couldn't have been cut in half by the Berlin Wall, whether the circuit was shortened in 1938 or 1951...

...the Berlin Wall was built in 1961.

Also true. I admit the title is oversimplifying things a bit...
by Simtek 21 Jun 2018, 21:23
The next one's a simple and very easily disproven one, yet somehow even the official F1 website has bought into it. Then again, so has the central figure involved...

The 1977 Austrian GP organisers didn't have a copy of the Australian national anthem, so they played "Happy Birthday" instead to celebrate Alan Jones' win

On August 14, 1977 Alan Jones won his first Grand Prix for the Shadow team. It was seen as something of a shock: AJ was only 14th on the grid and the car hadn't looked like a winner all season, but he shone in the changeable conditions and took the chequered flag by some twenty seconds from championship leader Lauda. The only other Aussie on the grid was Vern Schuppan in an ageing Surtees, so it can be said that an Antipodean win was not completely expected.

As Alan himself puts it: “Well, certainly the organisers obviously didn’t expect it to happen because they didn’t have the Australian national anthem. So [instead] a drunk played ‘Happy Birthday’ on a trumpet - of which there were plenty in Austria...”

While the bit involving the trumpet is in fact true, the organisers did play "Advance Australia Fair" the moment they gave Jones his trophy and laurel wreath: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65680_3goqk

Then again, Alan is correct to an extent, as "God Save the Queen" was still officially the national anthem of Australia in 1977. Although, given the history of success of the nation more usually associated with that song, one would think the organisers were in possession of a copy of that as well...
by good_Ralf 24 Jun 2018, 12:45
Simtek wrote:I thought I'd be lazy this time and just repost one I already did in another thread. :deletraz:

Jean Alesi chose Ferrari over Williams in a heart-over-head decision

https://www.gprejects.com/forum/viewtop ... 20#p389398


I still feel silly for originally thinking that was the case :roll: :badoer:

Check out the position of the sun on 2 August at 20:08 in my garden

Allard Kalff in 1994 wrote:OH!! Schumacher in the wall! Right in front of us, Michael Schumacher is in the wall! He's hit the pitwall, he c... Ah, it's Jos Verstappen.
by Simtek 24 Jun 2018, 15:53
good_Ralf wrote:
Simtek wrote:I thought I'd be lazy this time and just repost one I already did in another thread. :deletraz:

Jean Alesi chose Ferrari over Williams in a heart-over-head decision

https://www.gprejects.com/forum/viewtop ... 20#p389398


I still feel silly for originally thinking that was the case :roll: :badoer:

Eh, I believed it as well for many years. It was only relatively recently (maybe two years ago) I learned that wasn't the case through reading about it on TNF (and later seeing it similarly debunked in Motor Sport Magazine).
by mario 24 Jun 2018, 19:18
Simtek wrote:
good_Ralf wrote:
Simtek wrote:I thought I'd be lazy this time and just repost one I already did in another thread. :deletraz:

Jean Alesi chose Ferrari over Williams in a heart-over-head decision

https://www.gprejects.com/forum/viewtop ... 20#p389398


I still feel silly for originally thinking that was the case :roll: :badoer:

Eh, I believed it as well for many years. It was only relatively recently (maybe two years ago) I learned that wasn't the case through reading about it on TNF (and later seeing it similarly debunked in Motor Sport Magazine).

Perhaps, somewhat appropriately, there is a phrase in Italian that perhaps best describes the situation - "Se non é vero, é ben trovato" - which can roughly be translated as "if it is not true, it would be better if it were".

Whilst it is not true, it is the sort of romantic myth that people want to be true - both in that it involves the team around which there is often so much mythology and which creates a strong emotional response in people, but also because it plays into the narrative of the tragic figure (i.e. the driver who could have been a great, but followed his heart instead of his head).

I wouldn't be surprised if there was a segment of those who, even after having the story debunked, might still want to believe in the myth because the heroic and tragic themes of that story are so much more inspiring and empathetic than the truth.

Martin Brundle, on watching a replay of Grosjean spinning:
"The problem with Grosjean is that he want to take a look back at the corner he's just exited"
by ibsey 30 Jun 2018, 18:20
That Frentzen was a placid calm man.

Frentzen's Williams mechanic from 1997 told me this story;

“I do recall in 1997 we had adjustable differentials, the reason I remember is that during the 1997 Monaco race, the one where we TOTALLY stuffed up our tyre selection, during the race Heinz Harald Frentzen was on the radio to our engineer because he wanted to soften off the differential for the conditions. Back then we only had so many buttons on the steering wheel and they all performed more than one task. So Tim Preston (Frentzen’s race engineer) got back to him and said something like; ‘On the straight you press the yellow button three times to bring up the diff mode and then you press the red button until you get the setting you want.’ Well Frentzen just goes off on the radio ‘On the [email protected]#king straight there is no [email protected]#KING STRAIGHT !! Which button to do what?’”



“This carried on for a few laps and then Frentzen, who was on intermediates, decides he wants the heavy grooved wets because someone passed him using them. Tim then said ‘no problem box…box’ well there was a problem because the only set we had mounted was on the spare car at the pit entry. Frentzen comes in, we change tyres and he sees that they are the same as we’ve taken off. He goes ballistic on the radio, totally mental. Tim tried to calm him down but the next lap or so he stuck it in the fence – game over! Funny thing is conditions were getting better, we always suspected he binned it on purpose because he was so mad. Oh and the reason for the tyre choice at the start, since the first European race we’d brought a guy from the Meteorological Office to do weather forecasting for us. The forecast for Monaco was missing page 2 which would have given us a heads up that the rain wasn’t going to clear as quickly as we thought. Very hi-tech this F1 stuff.”


More like it can be found in my lastest blog here; http://www.1994f1.com/2018/06/29/funny- ... -mechanic/

Coming soon a new F1 book revisiting the 1994 Benetton/Schumacher cheating allegations & politics

Release date TBC.

Website; www.1994f1.com/

FB Page; www.facebook.com/ibrar.malik.58910049
by Wallio 10 Jul 2018, 15:29
Not F1, but the biggest Indycar misconception is that Roger Penske rocked up with a "secret, illegal" pushrod motor in 1994 that won the Indy 500 and then never raced again because it was illegal all along.

Fact is USAC knew all about the "Penske-Panzer", as Roger had dyno'd one for USAC as early as Fall 1993. Also THREE other teams were working on pushrod engines and one (the Greenfield) actually ran at Indy.....in 1995, as the design was never banned, but merely had the boost cut enough it wasn't competitive anymore, as the Greenfield's DNQ showed.

This one always annoys me.

The Unquestioned, Undisputed Holder of the Title of World's Fastest Historian

"What are you gonna say? The guy raced against two cars last year and finished second so I don't think I can say a lot about him" - Tony Kanaan about Lewis Hamilton
by mario 11 Jul 2018, 21:21
Wallio wrote:Not F1, but the biggest Indycar misconception is that Roger Penske rocked up with a "secret, illegal" pushrod motor in 1994 that won the Indy 500 and then never raced again because it was illegal all along.

Fact is USAC knew all about the "Penske-Panzer", as Roger had dyno'd one for USAC as early as Fall 1993. Also THREE other teams were working on pushrod engines and one (the Greenfield) actually ran at Indy.....in 1995, as the design was never banned, but merely had the boost cut enough it wasn't competitive anymore, as the Greenfield's DNQ showed.

This one always annoys me.

There is quite a good article on the Forix site that went into the development history of that engine and the other pushrod engines that were being developed at the time.

As you say, it wasn't illegal, more a case of Penske and Mercedes taking advantage of a set of regulations that was designed to allow smaller engine manufacturers to develop an engine cheaply, but which they realised could be used to their advantage as the organisers hadn't expected a major engine manufacturer would build such an engine.

The organisers at the time certainly had a history of not explicitly banning engines, such as turbines or diesel engines, but made sure that the regulations were rewritten in such a way that they made them uncompetitive (as was the case by cutting the boost pressure that the pushrod engines could operate at). It worked in that respect, but unfortunately had the side effect of catching out those other privateers that were building engines to those regulations.

I'm surprised that another topic hasn't been mentioned yet, which is the long list of myths about the BMW M12 turbo engines - there are loads of them out there:
1) That they used rocket fuel developed by the Nazi's in WW2: Paul Rosche is guilty of perpetuating this one, having spread claims about this mythical fuel they were using at the time, but a former industrial chemist at BASF has confirmed that is total rubbish.

He pointed out that most rocket fuels from that era were alcohol based, giving them very high octane ratings - far higher than permitted in F1 at the time - but, at the same time, were not very energy dense, making them a pretty poor choice when the regulations of the time limited the total fuel capacity. There may have been small traces of complex aromatic compounds that might have been shared with some of those rocket fuels, but the fuel was pretty much a bog standard toluene mixture - pretty similar to what most other teams migrated to over time.

2) That they used engine blocks from cars that had done more than 100,000km: This might have come from confusion with their Formula 2 engines, some of which might have been built around recycled engine blocks - but, even then, they probably were rebuilt engines that BMW had used in other motorsport series, particularly their GT cars, not from road cars.

The engine blocks might have come from their road car production line, but they were taken straight from the production line and then went through controlled tempering and localised modifications - they didn't come from used road car engines.

3) That they supposedly left the engine blocks outside the back door to "season" them by weathering them, or that they urinated onto them: Again, the claims of "seasoning" them outdoors only appeared many years later and usually from rather dodgy sources - as for urinating on them to season them, unless they were urinating at about 1000ºC to heat quench them, that also seems like a retrospective myth.

4) The claims about bower outputs of 1500bhp or higher: I remember seeing somebody once sarcastically quip about how amazing the turbo engines were - several decades after they stopped developing them, their power output somehow managed to keep growing...

Whilst that power output is cited here and there, the source of such claims seems to be extremely nebulous. I've seen a few individuals claim that it was supposedly based on a flash pressure reading from Berger's engine during qualifying for the 1986 Italian GP, which immediately throws up a very large red flag - flash pressure readings are notoriously inaccurate and tend to overpredict the power output of an engine. If, and it is a big if, that was the supposed source of those claims, it's almost certainly from a false reading.

From what I have seen, there are quite good metallurgical arguments that, based on what we know about the internals, such as the pistons, that they probably could not have operated at that power output. Similarly, there have been restorers such as Geoff Page who have said that, in their opinion, those engines just wouldn't have been capable of withstanding the boost pressures required to create that amount of power - I believe he reckoned 1300bhp maximum in qualifying trim was the limit.

In reality, it's an engine where there is probably a fair bit of unwarranted hype about it - the design of the engine gave them an edge in earlier years because they could increase the boost pressure more rapidly than their rivals, not to mention they were the first to spot the loopholes about octane limits and using more exotic fuel mixtures. Once their rivals caught up on that front, the limitations of their design started to show - it's why Rosche said that he wanted to design a V6 engine pretty early on, but BMW blocked it because they wanted to use their "road car" engine to maximise the publicity benefit from it.

Martin Brundle, on watching a replay of Grosjean spinning:
"The problem with Grosjean is that he want to take a look back at the corner he's just exited"
by Wallio 12 Jul 2018, 14:51
mario wrote:There is quite a good article on the Forix site that went into the development history of that engine and the other pushrod engines that were being developed at the time.



That piece on 8w got me through jury duty once. It's one of the best reads anywhere.


mario wrote:I'm surprised that another topic hasn't been mentioned yet, which is the long list of myths about the BMW M12 turbo engines - there are loads of them out there:
1) That they used rocket fuel developed by the Nazi's in WW2: Paul Rosche is guilty of perpetuating this one, having spread claims about this mythical fuel they were using at the time, but a former industrial chemist at BASF has confirmed that is total rubbish.

He pointed out that most rocket fuels from that era were alcohol based, giving them very high octane ratings - far higher than permitted in F1 at the time - but, at the same time, were not very energy dense, making them a pretty poor choice when the regulations of the time limited the total fuel capacity. There may have been small traces of complex aromatic compounds that might have been shared with some of those rocket fuels, but the fuel was pretty much a bog standard toluene mixture - pretty similar to what most other teams migrated to over time.


3) That they supposedly left the engine blocks outside the back door to "season" them by weathering them, or that they urinated onto them: Again, the claims of "seasoning" them outdoors only appeared many years later and usually from rather dodgy sources - as for urinating on them to season them, unless they were urinating at about 1000ºC to heat quench them, that also seems like a retrospective myth.

4) The claims about bower outputs of 1500bhp or higher: I remember seeing somebody once sarcastically quip about how amazing the turbo engines were - several decades after they stopped developing them, their power output somehow managed to keep growing...

Whilst that power output is cited here and there, the source of such claims seems to be extremely nebulous. I've seen a few individuals claim that it was supposedly based on a flash pressure reading from Berger's engine during qualifying for the 1986 Italian GP, which immediately throws up a very large red flag - flash pressure readings are notoriously inaccurate and tend to overpredict the power output of an engine. If, and it is a big if, that was the supposed source of those claims, it's almost certainly from a false reading.

From what I have seen, there are quite good metallurgical arguments that, based on what we know about the internals, such as the pistons, that they probably could not have operated at that power output. Similarly, there have been restorers such as Geoff Page who have said that, in their opinion, those engines just wouldn't have been capable of withstanding the boost pressures required to create that amount of power - I believe he reckoned 1300bhp maximum in qualifying trim was the limit.



A lot of the stories about the BMW come from people who should really know better. In one of his books Steve Matchett talks about Brabham (and Ferrari) still mixing exotic fuels when he started with Bennetton. He then repeats the myth. Likewise, many of the horsepower claims come from quotes taken out of context. Detroit 1987 saw Warick say after qualifying "The power of the BMW is simply incredible. Well over 1000."

Even if that is true, what's "well over?" 1200? 1500?

The urinating on the engine blocks comes from another quasi-true legend of Dark Ages blacksmiths urinating on swords they made. That one has slightly more basis in truth.

The Unquestioned, Undisputed Holder of the Title of World's Fastest Historian

"What are you gonna say? The guy raced against two cars last year and finished second so I don't think I can say a lot about him" - Tony Kanaan about Lewis Hamilton
by Turbogirl 13 Jul 2018, 17:12
mario wrote:1) That they used rocket fuel developed by the Nazi's in WW2
2) That they used engine blocks from cars that had done more than 100,000km
3) That they supposedly left the engine blocks outside the back door to "season" them by weathering them, or that they urinated onto them
4) The claims about bower outputs of 1500bhp or higher

Wow, seriously? Gotta admit that I've never heard most of these claims - especially the one about them urinating on the engines to artificially age them. How could anyone ever believe that? :?

Well, the only things I can add to this interesting topic is a variation of the road car engine claim I once heard: I don't know who brought it up, but someone claimed that the reason why BMW had so many engine failures in 1984 was due to the fact that their engine was designed and produced specifically for road cars and therefore unable to withstand the power it gained from its two turboloaders.

I know that's BS, simply because BMW would have never used such an engine without testing and/or tuning and just slap a bunch of turboloaders onto it. Plus, the true reason BMW had so many engine failures was their unreliable KKK turboloader, and in Brabham's case the bad oil cooling system on top of that.

My other addition is about the power output in qualifying: I wish I knew where I read it, but I recall an interview with Gerhard Berger in which he stated that 1200 bhp was the maximum the BMW engine could muster in 1986. It was in a german F1 season review from that year, but I can't remember where I put that book... or if I even owned it to begin with...

WTCC Season 01 | Season 02
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Women's GT Masters Season 03
by mario 13 Jul 2018, 20:12
Wallio wrote:A lot of the stories about the BMW come from people who should really know better. In one of his books Steve Matchett talks about Brabham (and Ferrari) still mixing exotic fuels when he started with Bennetton. He then repeats the myth. Likewise, many of the horsepower claims come from quotes taken out of context. Detroit 1987 saw Warick say after qualifying "The power of the BMW is simply incredible. Well over 1000."

Even if that is true, what's "well over?" 1200? 1500?

The urinating on the engine blocks comes from another quasi-true legend of Dark Ages blacksmiths urinating on swords they made. That one has slightly more basis in truth.

It is one of those things where you suspect that it is in part an element of wanting to brag about how you tamed such a wild and unruly beast, as well as making it sound more exotic by then putting in all sorts of weird and wild legends. As Simtek notes, memories can also be a rather strange and malleable thing - over time, the myths have been so often repeated that even those people who were directly involved at the time now remember the myth instead of the truth, as with his case of Alan Jones's mistaken memories.

Turbogirl wrote:
mario wrote:1) That they used rocket fuel developed by the Nazi's in WW2
2) That they used engine blocks from cars that had done more than 100,000km
3) That they supposedly left the engine blocks outside the back door to "season" them by weathering them, or that they urinated onto them
4) The claims about bower outputs of 1500bhp or higher

Wow, seriously? Gotta admit that I've never heard most of these claims - especially the one about them urinating on the engines to artificially age them. How could anyone ever believe that? :?

Well, the only things I can add to this interesting topic is a variation of the road car engine claim I once heard: I don't know who brought it up, but someone claimed that the reason why BMW had so many engine failures in 1984 was due to the fact that their engine was designed and produced specifically for road cars and therefore unable to withstand the power it gained from its two turboloaders.

I know that's BS, simply because BMW would have never used such an engine without testing and/or tuning and just slap a bunch of turboloaders onto it. Plus, the true reason BMW had so many engine failures was their unreliable KKK turboloader, and in Brabham's case the bad oil cooling system on top of that.

My other addition is about the power output in qualifying: I wish I knew where I read it, but I recall an interview with Gerhard Berger in which he stated that 1200 bhp was the maximum the BMW engine could muster in 1986. It was in a german F1 season review from that year, but I can't remember where I put that book... or if I even owned it to begin with...

I wonder if perhaps there is an element of cultural bias here, since those myths may be more common in English speaking publications than they might be in other nations.

Some of those old legends are maybe dying out in more recent years, perhaps because the general focus of the more nostalgic fans is now shifting into the 1990's instead of the 1980's and therefore some of the old legends about the old turbo engines are being gradually forgotten.

As Wallio notes, a lot of it seems to come from the fact that there were all sorts of weird and wonderful rumours being spread around in the years after the turbos were phased out and legends started to emerge about how powerful they supposedly were - and, with the BMW M12 supposedly being the most powerful, it had a tendency to pick up some of the stranger myths. It doesn't help that you had figures like Paul Rosche who, being closely associated with that engine, giving credence to some of those myths, making them seem more reliable than they actually were.

I would be interested if you could find that article with the quotes from Berger, since it would sound more in line with what is generally reckoned to be a more credible estimate of the peak power output of those engines.

Martin Brundle, on watching a replay of Grosjean spinning:
"The problem with Grosjean is that he want to take a look back at the corner he's just exited"
by Turbogirl 14 Jul 2018, 09:56
mario wrote:I wonder if perhaps there is an element of cultural bias here, since those myths may be more common in English speaking publications than they might be in other nations.
Probably. Especially the claim about the nazi rocket fuel sounds like it's from an english source (no offense), simply because we Germans tend to not mention our dark past too often. While I have seen comments in german publications of the 80's about the Porsche and BMW engines inheriting the glorious engineering that the Silberpfeile and the Auto Unions showed during the 1930's, mentioning the nazi regime at all in such a context was a no-go at that time (and still is to a certain extent). Though it's common knowledge nowadays, both Audi and Mercedes-Benz are still rather vague about the money they received from the nazi party which enabled them to build the Silberpfeile in the first place.


mario wrote:It doesn't help that you had figures like Paul Rosche who, being closely associated with that engine, giving credence to some of those myths, making them seem more reliable than they actually were.
The high bhp output, for example. Rosche once claimed that his M12/M13 was capable of at least 1400 bhp, but the dynometer couldn't register anyhing higher than 1280 bhp.


mario wrote:I would be interested if you could find that article with the quotes from Berger, since it would sound more in line with what is generally reckoned to be a more credible estimate of the peak power output of those engines.
Already on it, if only to prove to myself that I'm not imagining things. ;)

I went through my own collection of F1 books this morning, but as expected, they're all from 1990 to 2014. The only exception is "Grand Prix 84" from renowned german motorsports journalist Ulrich Schwab, which I bought at a second-hand bookstore years ago. But the interview can't be in there...

While it is possible that it could be in one of Heinz Prüller's Grand Prix Stories I own, I'll need some time to go through them - they're a wealth of information, and Prüller (as a fellow Austrian) has put a lot of interviews with Berger in them. Especially in the 1990 book about Berger's maiden year at McLaren. Maybe it's there where Berger reminisces about the turbo era... as I've stated: I'm not entirely sure if I really read said interview in a book about the 1986 season.

Another possible place to look would be the attic of my parents' home, where my dad keeps all his older books that are not related to his favourite hobby "fishing". I know he has some F1 books from the 70's and 80's, so when I next visit my parents, I'll try to find what I'm looking for.

A third possibility would be the research about 80's F1 turbo engines I did myself in 2013/14. I wanted to do a management series on this forum similar to the one BioBiro has done, but it never came to fruition thanks to the cancer. Anyways, during this research I found some rather interesting articles from old AutoMotorSport magazines in a local library.

Unfortunately, the laptop I stored my research on died two years ago. So, my only hope is to find a physical copy of the research I did on either CD-ROM or USB-Stick. That, or find the xeroxed copies of the articles I was able to make in the library.

I'll get back to you when I've found something. :)

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by Turbogirl 15 Jul 2018, 19:49
I've found the article I was looking for! It wasn't in a book, though, I only had it printed out, that's why I remembered a physical copy!

But my memory was faulty nonetheless: It was no interview with Gerhard Berger - he was only mentioned in the article right above the bhp output of the engine. (It is a season review of 1986, though.) That's how my mind works. If I see a written line that's of interest to me, my memory tends to remember the line itself plus one or two other lines above and below it, so I can always identify the text in question via context. I never claimed that my memory is 100 % accurate, however! ;)

Anyways, here's the link: http://www.more.racing-history.de/bmw_turbos.html

It's a german website, and I've double-checked various engine data listed here (especially the BMW's from 1983 and 1984, which I could through the books I own). They're all correct. So I assume the data on the BMW Turbo from 1986 is correct as well.

Here's the part I mean (scroll down to 1986):

Mit rund 170 Kilo Gesamtgewicht leistet der BMW Turbo bei hohem Ladedruck inzwischen unglaubliche 1250 PS. Ein neuer Garrett-Lader ersetzt das bewährte Modell des deutschen Herstellers KKK.
Translation: With a total weight of around 170 kilogramm, the BMW Turbo now generates an incredible 1250 bhp at high boost pressure. A new Garrett-turboloader replaces the proven model from german manufacturer KKK.

Other articles I've read on his website are also quite detailed and very accurate.

Yes, I know that this is a single source against a dozen others who wrote about 1400 or even 1500 bhp. Still, 1250 bhp sounds more believable to me than the other numbers I just mentioned. So, make of it what you will. :)

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by Turbogirl 17 Jul 2018, 16:18
Okay, now it's getting interesting. While I still can't produce an interview with any of the drivers who at one point in their career had the BMW M12/13 in the back of their car, I'm nonetheless able to produce an official source claiming that the output of the engine in question was most likely 1250 bhp.

I re-read this article called "Deutsche Autos in der Formel 1" (German Cars in Formula 1), which can be found in the book called "Grand Prix 96 live miterlebt", published by Willy Knupp for Motorbuch Verlag, Zeitgeist Verlag and RTL Television in 1996. It details the german forays into F1 up to that point. The article starts on page 186.

I've scanned and uploaded part of the article here: https://ibb.co/etu3id

The interesting part is marked red. Translation: In its prime - before the performance is reduced following a pop-off valve regulation - the BMW has an output of more than 1.250 (!) bhp.

Yes, it says "more than", but quoting the exact number of 1.250 bhp is rather surprising, since the author could have just written "more than 1.200 bhp" or quote any of the numbers that were well on record by that point thanks to Rosche himself. Btw, the author in question is Achim Schlang, a well-known german motorsports journalist, who works on F1 publications for over 30 years now. The Motorbuch Verlag, founded by Paul Pietsch, counts as one of the most reliable, if not THE most reliable source in german motorsports journalism.

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by mario 19 Jul 2018, 19:32
Turbogirl wrote:Okay, now it's getting interesting. While I still can't produce an interview with any of the drivers who at one point in their career had the BMW M12/13 in the back of their car, I'm nonetheless able to produce an official source claiming that the output of the engine in question was most likely 1250 bhp.

I re-read this article called "Deutsche Autos in der Formel 1" (German Cars in Formula 1), which can be found in the book called "Grand Prix 96 live miterlebt", published by Willy Knupp for Motorbuch Verlag, Zeitgeist Verlag and RTL Television in 1996. It details the german forays into F1 up to that point. The article starts on page 186.

I've scanned and uploaded part of the article here: https://ibb.co/etu3id

The interesting part is marked red. Translation: In its prime - before the performance is reduced following a pop-off valve regulation - the BMW has an output of more than 1.250 (!) bhp.

Yes, it says "more than", but quoting the exact number of 1.250 bhp is rather surprising, since the author could have just written "more than 1.200 bhp" or quote any of the numbers that were well on record by that point thanks to Rosche himself. Btw, the author in question is Achim Schlang, a well-known german motorsports journalist, who works on F1 publications for over 30 years now. The Motorbuch Verlag, founded by Paul Pietsch, counts as one of the most reliable, if not THE most reliable source in german motorsports journalism.

It's good work of you to be able to nail down the source of those figures, and I do agree that those values do sound more credible, not to mention tying in to what some restorers have also suggested.

As for former driver quotes, it seems that Ricciardo Patrese made comments in the past that would support a figure of that engine peaking at about 1200-1250bhp. On the gurneyflap website, they quote an interview with Patrese which had the following statement:
Q: The BMW engines were very powerful, what was it like to drive?
A: We had around 1200bhp, certainly more than 1000bhp [...].
http://gurneyflap.com/bt52photos.html

The quote from Patrese does tie in a bit better when you consider that the figures quoted in those articles are metric horsepower units (PS). A metric horsepower unit is slightly smaller than imperial brake horsepower units, so 1250 PS would be about 1230 bhp - a value that would tie in with Patrese's assessment of "about 1200bhp".

Martin Brundle, on watching a replay of Grosjean spinning:
"The problem with Grosjean is that he want to take a look back at the corner he's just exited"
by Turbogirl 20 Jul 2018, 15:59
mario wrote:It's good work of you to be able to nail down the source of those figures, and I do agree that those values do sound more credible, not to mention tying in to what some restorers have also suggested.

The quote from Patrese does tie in a bit better when you consider that the figures quoted in those articles are metric horsepower units (PS). A metric horsepower unit is slightly smaller than imperial brake horsepower units, so 1250 PS would be about 1230 bhp - a value that would tie in with Patrese's assessment of "about 1200bhp".
Thank you for your kind words. :)

I must admit that I didn't know that PS and BHP are not the same until you just told me. I never bothered to check, I just assumed they were identical... That's why I made those translation errors. My bad.

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by dr-baker 21 Jul 2018, 09:27
Turbogirl wrote:
I must admit that I didn't know that PS and BHP are not the same until you just told me. I never bothered to check, I just assumed they were identical... That's why I made those translation errors. My bad.

To be fair, they are very similar in value.

watka wrote:I find it amusing that whilst you're one of the more openly Christian guys here, you are still first and foremost associated with an eye for the ladies!
dinizintheoven wrote:GOOD CHRISTIANS do not go to jail. EVERYONE ON FORMULA ONE REJECTS should be in jail.
MCard LOLA
by Nuppiz 21 Jul 2018, 11:00
dr-baker wrote:
Turbogirl wrote:
I must admit that I didn't know that PS and BHP are not the same until you just told me. I never bothered to check, I just assumed they were identical... That's why I made those translation errors. My bad.

To be fair, they are very similar in value.

Indeed. The difference is so minor that in most road cars it doesn't really matter, and only gets relevant in very large power figures.

Take the Porsche 356B Super 90 for example. The "90" stood for the engine's maximum output of 90 PS, which was... 89 BHP.

Image
by mario 21 Jul 2018, 21:41
dr-baker wrote:
Turbogirl wrote:
I must admit that I didn't know that PS and BHP are not the same until you just told me. I never bothered to check, I just assumed they were identical... That's why I made those translation errors. My bad.

To be fair, they are very similar in value.

Exactly - as Nuppiz notes, in most instances the difference is effectively negligible.

To be honest, I was aware of the slight difference because, a few years ago, I came across a document published by Forghieri on the development of Ferrari's engines during the 1970s that included engine torque curves and found that it was measured in cavallo vapore (CV), which is the Italian term for metric horsepower.

Martin Brundle, on watching a replay of Grosjean spinning:
"The problem with Grosjean is that he want to take a look back at the corner he's just exited"
by dr-baker 22 Jul 2018, 16:26
mario wrote:
To be honest, I was aware of the slight difference because, a few years ago, I came across a document published by Forghieri on the development of Ferrari's engines during the 1970s that included engine torque curves and found that it was measured in cavallo vapore (CV), which is the Italian term for metric horsepower.

Does that explain the naming of the Citroen 2CV?

watka wrote:I find it amusing that whilst you're one of the more openly Christian guys here, you are still first and foremost associated with an eye for the ladies!
dinizintheoven wrote:GOOD CHRISTIANS do not go to jail. EVERYONE ON FORMULA ONE REJECTS should be in jail.
MCard LOLA
by mario 22 Jul 2018, 18:17
dr-baker wrote:
mario wrote:
To be honest, I was aware of the slight difference because, a few years ago, I came across a document published by Forghieri on the development of Ferrari's engines during the 1970s that included engine torque curves and found that it was measured in cavallo vapore (CV), which is the Italian term for metric horsepower.

Does that explain the naming of the Citroen 2CV?

I will freely admit that I've looked this up on the Wiki article for the 2CV, but it turns out that it's related to the taxable power output of the engine that the French devised in the post WW2 era - and that, frankly, is about as much of a damn as I can summon over arcane French taxation.

Martin Brundle, on watching a replay of Grosjean spinning:
"The problem with Grosjean is that he want to take a look back at the corner he's just exited"
by dinizintheoven 22 Jul 2018, 18:32
mario wrote:
dr-baker wrote:
mario wrote:To be honest, I was aware of the slight difference because, a few years ago, I came across a document published by Forghieri on the development of Ferrari's engines during the 1970s that included engine torque curves and found that it was measured in cavallo vapore (CV), which is the Italian term for metric horsepower.

Does that explain the naming of the Citroen 2CV?

I will freely admit that I've looked this up on the Wiki article for the 2CV, but it turns out that it's related to the taxable power output of the engine that the French devised in the post WW2 era - and that, frankly, is about as much of a damn as I can summon over arcane French taxation.

I'll summon up more of a damn and also mention the Renault 4CV of days of yore, and the Simca 1307 and 1308 - strangely named for us (not least because this side of the Channel the car was called the Chrysler Alpine) but not to the French as the 7 and 8 on the same car referred to the engines fitting into the 7CV and 8CV tax brackets.

James Allen, on his favourite F1 engine of all time:
"...the Life W12, I can't describe the noise to you, but imagine filling your dustbin with nuts and bolts, and then throwing it down the stairs, it was something akin to that!"
by dr-baker 22 Jul 2018, 18:33
mario wrote:
dr-baker wrote:
mario wrote:
To be honest, I was aware of the slight difference because, a few years ago, I came across a document published by Forghieri on the development of Ferrari's engines during the 1970s that included engine torque curves and found that it was measured in cavallo vapore (CV), which is the Italian term for metric horsepower.

Does that explain the naming of the Citroen 2CV?

I will freely admit that I've looked this up on the Wiki article for the 2CV, but it turns out that it's related to the taxable power output of the engine that the French devised in the post WW2 era - and that, frankly, is about as much of a damn as I can summon over arcane French taxation.

Fair enough. I always wanted to assume that that was the reason, but it can be assumed not then. Another misconception busted.

watka wrote:I find it amusing that whilst you're one of the more openly Christian guys here, you are still first and foremost associated with an eye for the ladies!
dinizintheoven wrote:GOOD CHRISTIANS do not go to jail. EVERYONE ON FORMULA ONE REJECTS should be in jail.
MCard LOLA
by Simtek 03 Aug 2018, 19:46
I had intended to get back on this (my drafts folder looks like this and, yes, most of those is a different misconception), and a certain video game released in the year 2000 that I discovered I cannot "play" (if that's the right word. "Research" might be more appropriate) got me thinking of the cars of this era, and one in particular that appeared in a different driving game:

The Auto Union streamliner from Gran Turismo 4 is an accurate representation of how 1930s Grand Prix cars handled

GT4 had one mightily impressive roster of cars, especially after a drastic scaling back on this front from its immediate predecessor in the series. Tons of new and new-ish road cars, LMP1s and Group C cars, Group A and B rally cars, DTM cars, Super GTs and so on featured in what is still popularly considered the best entry in the series. There were also some "quirky" additions like that weird Nike car, the Benz and Daimler motor carriages, the Model T Ford and, of course, the 1937 Auto Union streamliner.

Image

Is there a common misconception here? I don't really know if it is very widespread among players, but I have run across people in the past who took this car as an example of the insanity of 1930s Grand Prix racing, a time when all the factory teams' resources went into extracting maximum power from the engine because nobody had discovered aerodynamics yet (although the very design of this particular car thoroughly disproves that notion, and that's another misconception on my list). Needless to say, while it can easily do 200 mph+, the long wheelbase, streamlined design and narrow tyres contribute to some of the worst handling you will find on any car in these games. Can you believe this thing raced on the Nürburgring?

I can't, and I trust a lot of you reading this can't either, because it didn't. Basically, this car does not paint a very accurate picture of what 1930s Grand Prix cars were like. While it is indeed based on the "Typ C" Auto Union that raced in the 1936 and 1937 seasons, it was rarely driven in this specification, because it was only really useful on a track that was almost entirely full throttle:

Image

Avus, which in 1937 was basically a stretched oval whose slowest corner was a large-radius left-hander at the southern end. While there were plenty of other high-speed circuits on the Grand Prix calendar in those days like Reims, Monza or Tripoli, Avus was really the only one where drivers went several minutes without touching the brake pedal. As such, engineers could afford to make some sacrifices to reduce drag, the results of which can be seen above. For a better approximation of what a Grand Prix car of the 1930s was like, it's better to look into the rFactor modding scene. The cars were difficult to drive, at least compared to their modern-day descendants, but they didn't quite handle like a cruise ship.
by mario 07 Aug 2018, 21:14
I think that, to some extent, Gran Turismo 4 isn't the best in terms of vehicle dynamics to begin with, such that it's not surprising that it handled quite poorly in that game.

I would say that it does bring me to something that is perhaps more of a popular misconception, which is that designers seem to have been thought of as being ignorant about aerodynamics in the 1950s: after all, there were numerous figures in the world of motorsport at the time who had gained experience in the aeronautics industry in WW2 .

Rather, one of the major blockers was the inability of teams to test cars because the main facility in the UK which had a wind tunnel fitted with a rolling road, the Transport and Road Research Laboratory (TRRL), was a government owned body which officially banned it from being used for racing. There were a few unofficial tests though - Cooper seemed to have managed to call in a few favours and got a few sessions in their wind tunnel in the late 1950s, which was part of the reason why they were so competitive at the end of that decade.

Martin Brundle, on watching a replay of Grosjean spinning:
"The problem with Grosjean is that he want to take a look back at the corner he's just exited"

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