Your favourite 'cheats' in motorsport

Your favourite 'cheats' in motorsport

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MrKipling43

Original Poster:

5,788 posts

162 months

Sunday 15th June 2008
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What are your favourite cheats in motorsport?

I mean when teams manage to 'bend' the rules to their advantage - and let's not use this to lay into Ferrari again - I'm not referring to political bollacks, I mean engineers doing sneaky things to get a bit of 'ethically questionable' extra speed.

Things that got banned straight afterwards count.

Smokey Unich - an old US NASCAR team owner had some of the very best. One of my all time faves was a race during which his car was, mysteriously, able to run loads longer than anyone else's. The scrutineers called the car in for examination and could find nothing wrong or illegal with the tank, but it later transpired (after he drove the car all the way from Scrutineering back to his garage with no fuel tank) that he'd installed a 100 foot long fuel line, which was enough for about three gallons.

Another of his good ones was building a NASCAR that was exactly 7/8's scale. I think he got away with it for a while.

Oh yeah, and Toyota's 'variable' air restrictor was top drawer cheating. Regulation size when you were checking it, much less restrictive when it was covered up again - the Schrödinger's cat of motorsport!

My 'banned soon after' entry comes from the Isle of Man TT when some bright spark figured out that changing the fuel tank on a bike took A LOT less time than filling one up with petrol. Imagine chasing someone into the pits and seeing that happen ahead of you!

Edited by MrKipling43 on Sunday 15th June 19:12

FourWheelDrift

78,099 posts

230 months

Sunday 15th June 2008
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In 1982 the Lotus 91's water cooled brakes, a large plastic bag affair inside one of the side pods topped up with water before the race. This was to get around the scrutineering rule that says a car must be weighed before and after the race with it's normal quantity of lubricants and coolants, but without driver or fuel on board. The water would quickly be jettisoned during the race and allowed to be topped back up as per the above rule.

There was a similar jape with lead ballasted wings, 4 burly pit crew carrying out the rear wing for fitting for the scrutineers to weigh, then carry back to the garage. After weighing then one pit crew member brought out the race wing for fitting.

Athlon

3,787 posts

152 months

Sunday 15th June 2008
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NASCAR huh ! When Chrysler ran the aero cars (Superbird and Daytona) they were checked before the race for min ride height, they were cleared and raced, observers noted they were way lower than they should be and had a huge advantage, when they were checked post race they were found to be far to low and excluded, but they ran a fair number of races like this before getting caught. How did they do it? wedges in the suspension they would slip out as speed and downforce took hold of the chassis!

Petty was noted to be looking too low a few races later and dominated, the car was checked post race and found to be legal, many years later it was admitted they had a one shot gas pressure system for the shocks with a switch hidden in the door panel!

Top Fuel Digger

2,531 posts

182 months

Sunday 15th June 2008
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Not strictly cheating, but some gamesmanship from the early 1960's, in the infancy of US Drag Racing.

Tommy Ivo and Don Garlits did a lot of match racing all over the country. Most will know Garlits as being the king, the pioneer, the Schumacher of drag racing perhaps.

Ivo on the other hand, enjoyed a wind up, and was very handy when it came to mind games. Bear in mind back in those days, oil and fuel fires meant you couldn't see where you were going, and most likely, you'd end up in the oppositions lane.

So - Ivo goes upto Garlits before their event final, and says "I burnt a piston on the last run, so if I get out infront of you, can you just check I don't get any problems as I might end up in your lane".

Ivo's engine was ofcourse, perfectly healthy, with a tuneup set on 'kill'. For effect, he'd poured a large amount of oil into one of the headers, causing a huge amount of white smoke when it was fired up.

Garlits looks across, can clearly see the smoke and thinks "this'll be easy, don't redlight and I've got it won".

On the green, Ivo drills the Garlits off the lane and stomps down the track, taking the win, and leaving Garlits rather upset smile

Still lifelong friends though smile

The Hypno-Toad

9,690 posts

151 months

Sunday 15th June 2008
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FourWheelDrift said:
There was a similar jape with lead ballasted wings, 4 burly pit crew carrying out the rear wing for fitting for the scrutineers to weigh, then carry back to the garage. After weighing then one pit crew member brought out the race wing for fitting.
This was going on a lot later than the eighties....

[quote=Bonhams Williams F1 Reserve Collection Catalogue said]
Page 15, lot number 62:
A 2000 Williams-BMW FW22 Front Wing plane
heavy construction due to this being one of the parts in which ballast is carried in a F1 car in order to comply with the minimum weight limit regulations.
Whats the phrase I'm looking for? Hmmm.... I know....scratchchin

My favourite cheat is where one team was allowed to bigger capacity engines in its cars for qualifying to ensure pole position for the race, thus making lots of god-fearing people skip church and buy tickets for the race on Sunday only to watch their beloved cars slowly fall down the field.

Or the one where you put fuel developed by Nazi scientists during the WWII into your German powered cars to boost power.

Or "Sub Menu 13: Traction Control"

Or even the one where you find a bypass system for a 'pop off' valve so that you can run higher boost than whole field and therefore ensure that you win nearly all the rac......

I've said too much....getmecoat



Edited by The Hypno-Toad on Sunday 15th June 19:57

flemke

22,151 posts

183 months

Sunday 15th June 2008
quotequote all
MrKipling43 said:
Smokey Unich - an old US NASCAR team owner had some of the very best. One of my all time faves was a race during which his car was, mysteriously, able to run loads longer than anyone else's. The scrutineers called the car in for examination and could find nothing wrong or illegal with the tank, but it later transpired (after he drove the car all the way from Scrutineering back to his garage with no fuel tank) that he'd installed a 100 foot long fuel line, which was enough for about three gallons.

Another of his good ones was building a NASCAR that was exactly 7/8's scale. I think he got away with it for a while.
There's been enough cheating in NASCAR to fill a book. Indeed,an entire book has been written on the subject:
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_b?url=search-ali...

My favourite came in the time when the cars were weighed before a race, but not afterwards.
One chief mechanic got his car up to the weight minimum by adding ballast - in this case, by filling one of the chassis tubes with buckshot. The ideas was that, at a carefully selected moment during the race, the driver would pull a wire that would release the buckshot, which would roll harmlessly down the banking into the infield, thus lightening the car.
The slight problem was that the driver got confused. Instead of waiting for the right moment to release the buckshot, he released it as soon as the race began. This happened to be whilst there was a load of cars directly behind him, and whilst he occupied the high line on the banking. Cue thousands of BBs spewed straight in front of two dozen speeding race cars.

LocoBlade

5,443 posts

202 months

Sunday 15th June 2008
quotequote all
The Hypno-Toad said:
This was going on a lot later than the eighties....

Bonhams Williams F1 Reserve Collection Catalogue said:
Page 15, lot number 62:
A 2000 Williams-BMW FW22 Front Wing plane
heavy construction due to this being one of the parts in which ballast is carried in a F1 car in order to comply with the minimum weight limit regulations.
Whats the phrase I'm looking for? Hmmm.... I know....scratchchin
Nowt wrong there that I can see though? Theyre allowed to ballast up components to meet the weight regs whilst placing the weight where they most need it for handling balance etc, the cars are weighed before and after quali/race though so unless you change from heavy to light nosecone during a pitstop then back again to a heavy one before the race, I can't see how this could be used to cheat in the race?



Edited by LocoBlade on Sunday 15th June 22:02

FourWheelDrift

78,099 posts

230 months

Sunday 15th June 2008
quotequote all
Yes but my story was about using heavier wings to meet minimum weight during the pre-race scrutineering, then putting the lightweight wings on for the race be underweight and faster, then replace the heavier wings for post race scrutineering citing "race damage" as a reason for replacing them.

smile

LocoBlade

5,443 posts

202 months

Sunday 15th June 2008
quotequote all
Yep I understood your bit FWD, its was Hypno Toad's suggestion that Williams were bending the rules in 2000 that I didn't get.

Just edited my original quote to take your sub-quote out smile

Edited by LocoBlade on Sunday 15th June 22:04

Nick_F

9,132 posts

192 months

Sunday 15th June 2008
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Smokey Yunick - owner of the 'best damn garage in town' if I recall correctly.

Acid-dipping to thin the steel in bodyshells for TransAm is one that springs to mind, and I rather like Nelson Piquet's alleged lightweight qualifying crash helmet.

belleair302

6,135 posts

153 months

Sunday 15th June 2008
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Brabham fan car...so far ahead of the competition that it was banned after one race!

flemke

22,151 posts

183 months

Sunday 15th June 2008
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belleair302 said:
Brabham fan car...so far ahead of the competition that it was banned after one race!
Not trying in the least to be disputatious, but wasn't the OP referring to examples of cheating that was always cheating, but the regulators decided after its discovery that they should clarify the regs? An example of this would be the flexi-floor.
I had thought that the fan car was agreed to be legal (its function was pretty obvious at its first tech inspection), but it was so effective that it spoiled the competition. Bernie volunteered to withdraw it, allegedly "for the sake of the competition" (which probably meant "before they rewrite the rules to ban it"). The same would apply to the Chaparral fan car, which was also legal when it was made, but then the rules were rewritten to maintain "level" competition.

Cheers.

forsure

1,829 posts

214 months

Sunday 15th June 2008
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flemke said:
belleair302 said:
Brabham fan car...so far ahead of the competition that it was banned after one race!
I had thought that the fan car was agreed to be legal (its function was pretty obvious at its first tech inspection), but it was so effective that it spoiled the competition.
Cheers.
But didn't the team deny that it was a suction device, and claim that it was a 'cooling fan'?

Ahonen

4,365 posts

225 months

Sunday 15th June 2008
quotequote all
The Hypno-Toad said:
My favourite cheat is where one team was allowed to bigger capacity engines in its cars for qualifying to ensure pole position for the race, thus making lots of god-fearing people skip church and buy tickets for the race on Sunday only to watch their beloved cars slowly fall down the field.
Ferrari at Imola, I guess.

The Hypno-Toad said:
Or the one where you put fuel developed by Nazi scientists during the WWII into your German powered cars to boost power.
Mercedes in the '50s or Brabham in the '80s? You meant German scientists, I suspect, and typed 'Nazi' in error.

The Hypno-Toad said:
Or even the one where you find a bypass system for a 'pop off' valve so that you can run higher boost than whole field and therefore ensure that you win nearly all the rac......
McLaren in '88?

The Hypno-Toad said:
I've said too much....getmecoat
No you haven't - you seem to lose your bottle before the end of each story.

I always loved the ride height fun in the early '80s, the water-cooled brakes that all the DFV runners used and, of course, the fan car.

The thing about working in motorsport is that we all know there's hardly a straight car out there. As Noel Coward's character, Mr Bridger, said in The Italian Job: "Camp Freddy, everyone in the world is bent".


flemke

22,151 posts

183 months

Sunday 15th June 2008
quotequote all
forsure said:
flemke said:
belleair302 said:
Brabham fan car...so far ahead of the competition that it was banned after one race!
I had thought that the fan car was agreed to be legal (its function was pretty obvious at its first tech inspection), but it was so effective that it spoiled the competition.
Cheers.
But didn't the team deny that it was a suction device, and claim that it was a 'cooling fan'?
Yes, and its designer still does. Maybe a year ago, Gordon Murray was interviewed and asserted that >50% of the fan's output was consumed by the extent to which it cooled the engine.

Ahonen

4,365 posts

225 months

Sunday 15th June 2008
quotequote all
flemke said:
Maybe a year ago, Gordon Murray was interviewed and asserted that >50% of the fan's output was consumed by the extent to which it cooled the engine.
I suspect the engine ran rather cool then...hehe

MrKipling43

Original Poster:

5,788 posts

162 months

Sunday 15th June 2008
quotequote all
flemke said:
Not trying in the least to be disputatious, but wasn't the OP referring to examples of cheating that was always cheating, but the regulators decided after its discovery that they should clarify the regs? An example of this would be the flexi-floor.
I was kind of including things that were banned straight afterwards, but that were introduced by teams in a crafty fashion because they knew that whatever it was would be deemed illegal straight away.

Like the McLaren's fiddle brakes, or that TT tank swap thing I mentioned.

Nick_F said:
I rather like Nelson Piquet's alleged lightweight qualifying crash helmet.
rofl

That's brilliant!

Edited by MrKipling43 on Sunday 15th June 23:46

flemke

22,151 posts

183 months

Sunday 15th June 2008
quotequote all
Ahonen said:
The thing about working in motorsport is that we all know there's hardly a straight car out there.
During a race a few years ago, I was standing alongside a team manager. There were a number of other cars in the same class as his car's.
As his car came down the long pit straight, a rival car in the same class came from behind it and then overtook it.
He calmly commented to me, "That car (the rival) is not legal."
Surprised that he could be so confident of such a thing, I replied, "How do you know?"
"Because", he answered, "It is faster than my car, and my car is not legal either."

jagdpanther

19,633 posts

165 months

Sunday 15th June 2008
quotequote all
flemke said:
Ahonen said:
The thing about working in motorsport is that we all know there's hardly a straight car out there.
During a race a few years ago, I was standing alongside a team manager. There were a number of other cars in the same class as his car's.
As his car came down the long pit straight, a rival car in the same class came from behind it and then overtook it.
He calmly commented to me, "That car (the rival) is not legal."
Surprised that he could be so confident of such a thing, I replied, "How do you know?"
"Because", he answered, "It is faster than my car, and my car is not legal either."
rofl


T'is true! I know of a few cars (fair enough, not in F1 or GT or anything) that are nowhere NEAR in compliance with the rules and they never get pulled in for it...even for fairly obvious stuffwink

flemke

22,151 posts

183 months

Monday 16th June 2008
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MrKipling43 said:
flemke said:
Not trying in the least to be disputatious, but wasn't the OP referring to examples of cheating that was always cheating, but the regulators decided after its discovery that they should clarify the regs? An example of this would be the flexi-floor.
I was kind of including things that were banned straight afterwards, but that were introduced by teams in a crafty fashion because they knew that whatever it was would be deemed illegal straight away.

Like the McLaren's fiddle brakes, or that TT tank swap thing I mentioned.
Fair enough, although I'm not sure how often we punters, or even the protagonists, would know when a team was certain in advance that their invention would be banned, rather than its being quickly copied.

You do think, do you not, that there is an important difference between an invention such as - at least - the Chaparral fan car, which plowed entirely new ground which was never covered by the rules, and a gimmick such as the flexi-floor, that relied on twisting the language of established rules, the spirit and intent of which was clear all along?
Both can result in rapid rewriting or clarification of the rules, but the reasons for that rewriting are chalk and cheese.