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F1 turbo era top speeds


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#51 DogEarred

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 17:51

Honda were aiming to set an official record for an F1 car above 400 kph. They achieved 400.454 kph on one pass of the measured mile at Bonneville but weren't able to repeat it on the return leg. The official records they set were 397.360kph (246.908mph) for the flying mile and 397.481kph (246.983mph) for the flying kilometer.


Honda actually weren't too keen on the project and did not provide their tip top engine for fear of the embarassment of having it fail. The cars were developed to run with almost closed off side pods & many of the aero downforce elements removed in order to reduce drag. They also developed a hydraulically operated vertical fin to assist the stability at high speed, but I'm not sure if they used it. (Not strictly to F1 regs.) I believe it had to run on intermediate tyres because of lack of downforce & grip on the salt surface. The South African van de Merwe was the driver.

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#52 ralt12

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 14:49

I get 231mph.

I know the top speeds at Hockenheim used to be about 222mph



In the States, they weren't quoting KPH, just MPH, so the 241+ that de Ferran ran was legit. As was the 240+ that Big Mo ran (the record that de Ferran broke).

#53 ralt12

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 15:09

I hate rev limited Formula 1.


I hate mandating that everyone should use the same engine configuration (V8). If someone wants to run a V12 or a V10 or any other configuration, they should be able to.

#54 doc knutsen

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 15:28

I've driven Paddock Bend on a couple of Brand Hatch Experience days - and it certainly had my attention approaching it at less than half the speed! :eek:

I've seen Indycars, Touring Cars and Historic F1/Group C's race approaching Paddock Bend as a spectator - and they all looked pretty damn quick but I'm sure nowhere near 214mph. That must've been something to see...


In qualifying for the 1985 European GP at Brands, they had a digital readout well visible to the spectators on the outside of the approach to Paddock. The readout was put on top of the control tower. Fastest speed I saw during qualifying was the Williams-Honda of Keke, being clocked at 192mph...with the roller-coaster of Paddock looming. Vairy impressive, to say the least!

#55 Paul Hurdsfield

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 19:20

In qualifying for the 1985 European GP at Brands, they had a digital readout well visible to the spectators on the outside of the approach to Paddock. The readout was put on top of the control tower. Fastest speed I saw during qualifying was the Williams-Honda of Keke, being clocked at 192mph...with the roller-coaster of Paddock looming. Vairy impressive, to say the least!


You mean this one? only 179mph I'm afraid :)
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#56 Paul Hurdsfield

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 19:40

I may be having a senior moment, :confused: but, back in the late 70s, early 80s at Silverstone.
Longines had a little Fiat van parked 2/3 maybe 3/4 of the way down the Hanger straight
with a speed trap, they would print out top speeds and stick the sheets up on the side window
for us ordinary punters to see :D
Just dont ask me what the speeds were though :well:

#57 thomaskomm

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 12:13

I think you hit the nail on the head here. In 82 the cars had ground effect and produced more downforce with relatively little drag. Once the rules changed to mandate a flat bottom, in order to maintain the downforce they needed for the corners to achieve a fast laptime, they required large wings that produced a lot of drag compared to the more more efficient underbody aerodynamics of the pre '83 cars.

You don't actually need the highest top speed to be fast somewhere like Monza. With a higher downforce setup, the speed you carry through the corners and onto the straights compensates for your lack of top speed. There is relatively little in it in terms of laptime. However, the downside to it is that you can be a sitting duck on the straights. This probably influences a lot of drivers decision on whether to go high(er) or low downforce.

Interestingly, I wonder if with DRS the balance has maybe changed in the favour of a higher downforce setup, since in qualifying you get the best of both worlds with the wing opening on the straight, and also in the race you can at least use the DRS to aid overtaking.

Yes, if you look close to the race for a couple of weeks the duell between Hamilton and Schumacher, you see that Hamilton had more downforce wing than Schumacher, in straight line, Schuey was about 8-10 km/h faster then Hamilton, but in the turns Hamilton was faster, but it was very difficult for Hamilton to past Schumacher, he droves in the straight to fast, Hamilton used drs and was not faster than Schumacher, than he could use KERS up the next lap, and this was on the main straight (about 80 HP more). It´s not all the top speed. The highest top speed in race was the Renault-Lotus with almost 350 km/h on the trap speed.


#58 stevewf1

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 13:55

I have to chime in here, even though it's a little off-topic...

On SPEED's Monza coverage this year, Bob Varsha said that in 2004, Antonio Pizzonia "touched" 230mph in his Williams-BMW and that was the fastest top speed ever recorded in an official FIA session.

Just from what I've read so, sorry, no links or other confirmation: Andre Ribiero clocked 251mph on the back straight at Michgan in a CART car one year (handford device perhaps?) and Al Unser Jr hit 248mph on the back straight at Indy in 1994 with that Penske-Mercedes.

But the "top speed" that still impresses me the most was Arie Lyendyk's unofficial practice lap at Indy in 1996. He did the 2.5 miles in 37.616 seconds for an average speed of 239.260mph. If anyone has ever been to IMS and taken the tour bus around the place... I just can't imagine how sharp and flat turn 1 (or turn 3) must look when it's approaching at over 240mph.



#59 thiscocks

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 14:11

I hate mandating that everyone should use the same engine configuration (V8). If someone wants to run a V12 or a V10 or any other configuration, they should be able to.


+1