Classic Ferrari F1 cars are among the attractions at the CSMA Brands Hatch Classic Festival on 14 to 15 May 2005. Specifically, the ex-Alesi Ferrari Formula 1 Grand Prix car from 1993 (F93A) will be driven by owner Paul Osborn.
The two Ferrari F1 team drivers for 1993 were Jean Alesi and Gerhard Berger and the F93A achieved its best season placing when Alesi finished second in the Italian GP at Monza.
Osborn reckoned that, "The 3.5-litre V12 engines have their own sound, and I think the 1993 model is probably the loudest of them all. Even with earplugs it gives me a headache!"
The tight Indy circuit at Brands will give spectators a fantastic view of this car at speed, but will prove a challenge for the driver.
"Once I’ve warmed the engine and tyres up thoroughly, I’ll be concentrating on coming out of Clearways as quickly as possible, to help achieve a high speed down the main straight. If I get it right, I should be able to take it to 13,500rpm in fourth or maybe fifth gear by the end of the straight – that should be about 140-150mph. When you’re in a car that fast, and that close to the ground, you find bumps everywhere. I wouldn’t be surprised if we get a shower of sparks coming off the bottom of the car."
But before they can even start the engine, it will take Paul and the team from Fred Goddard Racing a good hour’s work "The main task is to raise the engine temperature before we turn it over," said Osborn. "With somewhere between 675bhp and 700bhp, the engine tolerances are so tight that it simply won’t turn when cold: everything needs to warm up and expand. So we begin by pumping near-boiling water through the cooling system to pre-heat the engine. This takes about an hour and during this time the car is rigged up like a patient in intensive care, with drips everywhere. We feed the hot water into the various access points and, as the cooler water exits, we re-heat it and pump it back in.
"The next task is to raise the oil pressure. Unlike an ordinary car, you don’t leave the oil and fuel in when it’s not being used, and both oil and fuel pressures must be raised before firing the engine. Without oil pressure it would blow itself to smithereens in an instant." Even so, the engine has to be rebuilt every 500km, at a cost of about £50,000. "Oh, and of course we use tyre-warmers to put a bit of stickiness into the tyres.
"When we’re finally ready to start the engine, the car will be up off the ground. The gearbox is an electrohydraulically-operated semi-automatic, and the hydraulics need to be pumped up by the engine. So we start the engine and build up the pressure by running through the six gears – all the way up through the gearbox, and all the way back down. At this point the wheels, up in the air, are spinning and the engine is making its fantastic banshee wail."
This is the sound you’ll hear from the pits, echoing round the circuit, just before the car comes out onto the track. "It all sounds like a long process, but there’s no short cut – all these things would have been done by the Ferrari team in its day."
Last year, the festival was action-packed with up to 60,000 spectators enjoying two days of classic car and motorcycle racing, air shows, exhibits and day-long family entertainment.
The price £14 for adults (in advance), with children under 16 admitted free.
For tickets call 01273 744682, or go here. www.classicfestival.co.uk
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