Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Key To Cosworth - Keith Duckworth

by Mike - 

The Double Four Valve (DFV) engine developed by Keith Duckworth (August 10, 1933 – December 19, 2005) at Cosworth is one of the most successful engines in racing history. The DFV engine revolutionized Formula One racing.

Keith Duckworth in 1969.

The Cosworth DFV, and other engines based on this design, became the standard in Formula One and other racing venues.

Cosworth's 176 wins make it one of the most successful engine manufacturers to race in Formula One, second only to Ferrari engines in race wins.

Graham Hill driving at the Nürburgring in 1969 in a Lotus 49, photo by Lothar Spurzem.

In 1955 Duckworth began working for Lotus but after three years Duckworth, along with fellow Lotus employee Mike Costin, founded Cosworth in 1958.

From the beginning Cosworth was associated with Ford and Lotus, and the two companies found early success in the newly formed Formula Junior in the early 1960s. This success motivated Lotus founder Colin Chapman to persuade Ford to finance the production of Duckworth's DFV engine.

Lotus 49 photo by Mikaël Restoux.

Chapman's idea was to reduce the cars weight by using the engine as a stressed part of the chassis attaching it directly to the front monocoque tub. This has been standard in Formula One ever since.

The DFV made its debut in the third race of the 1967 season, at the Dutch Grand Prix. Powering a Lotus 49 it was the winner with Jim Clark driving.

The Cosworth engine then went on to power the winner of 15 out of the next 21 Formula One races.

Lotus 49 photo by Mikaël Restoux.

Cosworth was a subsidiary of Ford between 1998 and 2004 when Cosworth was sold to the Cosworth Group owned by Gerald Forsythe and Kevin Kalkhoven.

“The chance of things breaking is fairly proportional to the number of bits there are in the engine. The fewer the bits the less likelihood of one breaking” said Keith Duckworth in Road & Track, May 1969.

Click on the images for a larger view.

Cosworth V8 Engine - Champ Car 2004 photo by Jcordle.

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