Onboard In Formula One's Old School Turbo Era

Current Formula One cars supposedly produce around 900 horsepower with 1.6-liter turbo V6s assisted by hybrid drive. Back in 1983 Renault made similar power with a turbocharged 1.5 liter V6 alone.

This is future four-time world champion Alain Prost in a Renault RE40. It has an 880 horsepower evolution of the very first race-winning turbo engine in F1 history.


Also of interest is that this was the first F1 car that routed hot exhaust into the car’s diffuser. This blown diffuser added a significant amount of downforce to the car, as ScarbsF1 explains when speaking with the system’s original designer, but only when the driver was on the gas. Couple that with the engine’s turbo lag, and there was a lot for Prost to manage with the throttle pedal.

Old school indeed.

(Hat tip to Axis of Oversteer for reminding me of this thing!)

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Raphael Orlove

Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.