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Tony Southgate talk

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#1 mariner

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Posted 08 October 2013 - 13:44

I have mentioned that I am part of the 750 motor club in the UK . This month we have just had the great pleasure of our President, Tony Southgate coming to speak. I think Tony can claim to be, along with Adrian Newey and Gordon Murray etc. one of the great living racing car designers, not that he would ever agree, being a very humble guy.


In case you don’t know it Tony started working for Eric Broadly on the Lola GT, the Ford GT40 and the Lola T 70 as well as the 1966 Indy 500 wining Lola. That led to his first Chief Designer job, for Dan Gurney’s Eagles in LA. His first design won the 1968 Indy 500 and another of his Eagles won the US Formula A championship. Tony returned to the UK to do the Monaco winning BRM. He began his long work on Aero wind tunnel studies with the Shadows designing their CanAm winning car before a brief (“mad” his words ) spell engineering the Lotus 78 and 79 ground effects cars. Then Tony turned to two seaters again , designing the Le Mans winning Jaguar for TWR and in his final design job acting as senior consultant on the Le Mans winning Audi’s. If that isn’t breadth enough he also designed the Ford RS200 group B rally car – his most interesting job he said.


As you may guess from that Tony is a mine of race design info. I think his most interesting comment was when he said he had calculated that he has spent three entire years of his life in   wind tunnels developing aero packages. It was all pre- CFD but that gives some indication of how important aero was even in the 1980,s.


The other thing was how power shifting was the key to Audi’s first Le Mans win. By tony’s estimate 50% of Le Mans retirements were transmission related as tired drivers ground away the dog clutch rings until the car lost too many gears. Even the winning 1988 Le Mans Jag was in serious gearbox trouble in its last hour to the flag.


It was great chance to meet and chat to one, of motor racing best and most adaptable designers who is also such nice guy.

Edited by mariner, 08 October 2013 - 13:47.