Volkswagen Almost Entered F1 in the 1980s With a VR8 Turbo Engine

Volkswagen Almost Entered F1 in the 1980s With a VR8 Turbo Engine

The Brabham BT55 at Interlagos during the 1986 Brazilian Grand Prix

The very low-back again Brabham that the Volkswagen F1 cars would have resembled.
Image: Michael King (Getty Illustrations or photos)

Two of the largest tales of this year’s Method 1 year have revolved new producers getting into the globe championship for the 2026 time. Audi announced its entry, partnering with Sauber for its manufacturing facility group. Porsche came near to finalizing a deal to companion with Crimson Bull Racing in advance of negotiations collapsed. Equally Volkswagen Group maker has gone Grand Prix racing in advance of. On the other hand, neither automaker was less than Volkswagen possession when they very last appeared on racing’s most prestigious phase.

Motor Sport has a tale about Volkswagen’s canceled 1980s F1 challenge in its December 2022 concern. For the duration of the development of the VR6 engine, VW seriously viewed as upscaling the idea to eight cylinders for a Formulation 1 car or truck. The story is largely recalled by Peter Hofbauer, Volkswagen’s then-head of powertrain advancement. The 1.5-liter turbocharged VR8 engine strategy was shopped to Judd, as a prospective technical husband or wife, and a couple probable customer groups. Like several stories all-around secretive F1 initiatives, there are lots of discussions in paddocks, upscale eating places and boardrooms.

Hofbauer believes that the slender-angle vee engine conceived for a transverse software in a hatchback could have been successfully applied to F1.

“The output of a superior-electrical power motor comes from the velocity at which you can run it — and the smaller sized the cylinder the quicker you can operate it,” he claims. “This VR8, an 8 cylinder with only one head with these stacked cylinders, would give you an enormously compact and light-weight device, so the energy-weight ratio would be outstanding. The power density is the crucial range here.”

A VR8 F1 motor would have experienced a substantial centre of gravity had it been mounted upright in the motor vehicle. Hofbauer points out that this was never the intention. It would have been canted more than in the way that BMW did with its straight four in a line of Brabham Formulation 1 cars. He also hints at a extra serious arrangement that would most probable have pre-dated Brabham’s very low-line BT55 of 1986.

Regrettably, Volkswagen’s finalized VR8 F1 motor in no way even attained the dyno. The undertaking was scrapped since the output VR method was delayed. The VR6 would be used in VW’s road autos starting off in 1991 following Method 1 banned turbocharged engines. Like a whole lot of prospects in Components 1, in some cases it just arrives down to timing.

Be guaranteed to examine the whole story of Volkswagen’s very first endeavor to be a part of the F1 grid listed here.