With the debut of the BMW M3 Sport Evolution, Mercedes’ direct competitor, it became obvious that the 2.5-16 needed a boost for the circuit. In March 1989, the 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution debuted at the Geneva Auto Show. The Evo I, as it came to be called, had a new spoiler and wider wheel arches. Many changes were made to under-the-skin components such as brakes and suspension. There was a full SLS suspension allowing vehicle ride height to be adjusted from an interior switch. All were intended to allow the Evolution cars to be even more effective round a track.

The Evo I’s output is similar to the 202 bhp (151 kW) of the “regular” 2.5-16. However this car had a redesigned engine of similar capacity but, most importantly, a shorter stroke and bigger bore which would allow for a higher rev limit and improved top-end power capabilities. Additional changes stretch to “rotating masses lightened, lubrication improved and cam timing altered”. Cosworth also list a project code “WAC” for the development of the short-stroke Evolution engine.

Only 502 units of the Evolution model were produced for homologation in compliance with DTM rules. For those customers desiring even more performance, a PowerPack option engineered by AMG was available for DM 18,000. The PowerPack option included hotter camshafts, a larger diameter throttle body, more aggressive ignition and fuel management as well as optimization of the intake and exhaust systems. The net result was an additional 30 bhp (22 kW).

In March 1990, at the Geneva Auto Show, the 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II was shown. With the success of the first Evolution model, this model’s 502-unit production was already sold before it was unveiled. This car retailed in 1990 for USD $80,000.

The “Evo II” included the AMG PowerPack fitted to the same short-stroke 2.5 engine as the Evolution, as well as a full SLS suspension allowing vehicle ride height to be adjusted from an interior switch. An obvious modification to the Evolution II is a radical body kit (designed by Prof. Richard Eppler from the University of Stuttgart) with a large adjustable rear wing, rear window spoiler, and Evolution II 17-inch wheels. The kit served an aerodynamic purpose—it was wind tunnel tested to reduce drag to 0.29, while at the same time increasing downforce. Period anecdotes tell of BMW research and development chief, Wolfgang Reitzle, saying “the laws of aerodynamics must be different between Munich and Stuttgart; if that rear wing works, we’ll have to redesign our wind tunnel.” The anecdote claims that BMW did.

As mentioned 500 were made in “blauschwarz” blue/black metallic. But the last two, numbers 501 and 502 were made in astral silver.

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Nürburgring is a 150,000-capacity motorsports complex located in the town of Nürburg, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It features a Grand Prix race track built in 1984, and a much longer old “North loop” track which was built in the 1920s around the village and medieval castle of Nürburg in the Eifel mountains. The north loop is 20.8 km (12.9 mi) long and has more than 300 metres (1,000 feet) of elevation change from its lowest to highest points. Jackie Stewart nicknamed the old track “The Green Hell”.

Originally, the track featured four configurations: the 28.265 km (17.563 mi)-long Gesamtstrecke (“Whole Course”), which in turn consisted of the 22.810 km (14.173 mi) Nordschleife (“North Loop”), and the 7.747 km (4.814 mi) Südschleife (“South Loop”). There also was a 2.281 km (1.417 mi) warm-up loop called Zielschleife (“Finish Loop”) or Betonschleife (“Concrete Loop”), around the pit area.

Between 1982 and 1983 the start/finish area was demolished to create a new GP-Strecke, and this is used for all major and international racing events. However, the shortened Nordschleife is still in use for racing, testing and public access.

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The Tyrrell P34 (Project 34), commonly known as the “six-wheeler”, was a Formula One (F1) race car designed by Derek Gardner, Tyrrell’s chief designer. The car used four specially manufactured 10-inch-diameter (254 mm) wheels and tyres at the front, with two ordinary-sized wheels at the back. Along with the Brabham BT46B “fancar” developed in 1978, the six-wheeled Tyrrell was one of the most radical entries ever to succeed in F1 competition, and has been called the most recognizable design in the history of world motorsports.

The P34 was introduced in September 1974, and began racing in the 1976 season. It proved successful, and led other teams to begin design of six-wheeled platforms of their own. Changes to the design made for the 1977 season made it uncompetitive and the concept was abandoned for Tyrrell’s 1978 season. The other six-wheeled designs ended development, and F1 rules later stipulated that cars must have four wheels in total. The existing frames have since seen some success in various “classics” race events, but today are museum pieces.

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The most unusual Chaparral was the 2J. On the chassis’ sides bottom edges were articulated plastic skirts that sealed against the ground (a technology that would later appear in Formula One). At the rear of the 2J were housed two fans (sourced from a military tank engine) driven by a single two stroke twin cylinder engine. The car had a “skirt” made of Lexan extending to the ground on both sides, laterally on the back of the car, and laterally from just aft of the front wheels. It was integrated with the suspension system so the bottom of the skirt would maintain a distance of one inch from the ground regardless of G forces or anomalies in the road surface, thereby providing a zone within which the fans could create a partial vacuum which would provide a downforce on the order of 1.25–1.50 G of the car fully loaded (fuel, oil, coolant). This gave the car tremendous gripping power and enabled greater maneuverability at all speeds. Since it created the same levels of low pressure under the car at all speeds, down-force did not decrease at lower speeds. With other aerodynamic devices, down-force decreases as the car slows down or achieves too much of a slip angle, both of which were not problems for the “sucker car”.

The 2J competed in the Can-Am series and qualified at least two seconds quicker than the next fastest car, but was not a success as it was plagued with mechanical problems. It ran for only one racing season, in 1970, after which it was outlawed by the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA). Although originally approved by the SCCA, they succumbed to pressure from other teams, McLaren in particular, who argued that the fans constituted “movable aerodynamic devices”, outlawed by the international sanctioning body, the FIA, a rule first applied against the 2E’s adjustable wing. There were also complaints from other drivers saying that whenever they drove behind it the fans would throw stones at their cars. McLaren argued that if the 2J were not outlawed, it would likely kill the Can-Am series by totally dominating it — something McLaren had been doing since 1967. A similar suction fan was used in Formula One eight years later on the Brabham BT46B, which won the 1978 Swedish Grand Prix, but Brabham reverted to the non-fan BT46 soon afterwards due to complaints from other teams that the car violated the rules. The car was found to be within technical specifications allowing the victory to remain.

More detailed information:

Chaparral: Can-Am Racing Cars from Texas [English]

Chaparral 2a/2c/2d/2e/2f/2g/2h/2j Sportscar Profile Series Japan Book [Japanese]

Buy a Chaparral 2J model car

Named after the road from Tortona to Torino and made famous by Sandro Munari, Fulvia’s are notable for their role in motorsport history, including winning the International Rally Championship in 1972. On testing a Fulvia in 1967, Road & Track summed it up as “a precision motorcar, an engineering tour de force”. The car for […]

via Lancia Fulvia Rally Italian Ingenuity — Machines with a Mission

Ford GT40s finish 1-2-3 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1967. Photo courtesy Ford Motorsports History. A half-century after the Ford Motor Company shocked the world by sweeping the podium at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the International Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen, New York, will present a discussion on […]

via Ford GT40 history discussed at Watkins Glen — Michael Riley Blog

The Ferrari F40 is a mid-engine, rear-wheel drive, two-door coupé sports car built from 1987 to 1992, with the LM and GTE race car versions continuing production until 1994 and 1996 respectively. The successor to the Ferrari 288 GTO, it was designed to celebrate Ferrari’s 40th anniversary and was the last Ferrari automobile personally approved by Enzo Ferrari. At the time it was Ferrari’s fastest, most powerful, and most expensive car for sale.

The car debuted with a planned production total of 400 and a factory suggested retail price of approximately US$400,000 in 1987 ($840,000 today), although some buyers were reported to have paid as much as US$1.6 million in contrast to its 1999 value of £140,000. 1,311 F40s were manufactured in total.

Ferrari Hypercars: The Inside Story of Maranello’s Fastest, Rarest Road Cars