Hooniverse Asks- What's Your Favorite Race Motor?

Tracks need cars to run on them, and drivers need cars to run on those tracks, and all those cars need motors to make them more than just stationary art objects. Out of all of those motivators, which one really gets your motor running?
I have a soft spot for the little Cosworths – specifically the BDA series, as it has always seemed to me to magically produce horsepower from nothing, like rabbits out of a hat.
But if you’re a NASCAR fan, those little four-bangers might look like they’re missing half the motor. You’d probably be more brand-oriented, and might be jonesing for something like Chevy’s RO7 as your dream motor.
Of course, F1 has seen its share of mind-melting motor, from the amazing BRM V16s, to the pneumatic-valve Renault V6s, it’s always been the gear-head geek’s playground.
So which engine sparks your plugs? Is it a high-strung WRC contender, or maybe a big, loping super speedway demon? Is there one that stands out above the rest?
Image sources: [Project917.com, Burtonpower.com]

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68 responses to “Hooniverse Asks- What's Your Favorite Race Motor?”

  1. BGW Avatar

    It's hard to go against the Cosworth DFV. A 20-year run in F1, 15 of which it was *THE* engine, plus another decade of F3000, a handful of LeMans wins and a decade of Indy Car dominance as a turbo variant.
    But I still marvel at the BMW M12. A 1.5L 4-cyl turbo unit kicking out over 1000HP in qualifying trim? Yes, please.

    1. joshuman Avatar

      I was going to say the exact same thing about the Cosworth DFV.
      <img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3166/2812376799_988d863002.jpg?v=0&quot; style="width: 500px; height: 332px; border: 0" alt="imgTag" />

  2. Syrax Avatar

    I wish I could think a better option but the Type 912 flat-12 owns everything. The flat-16 was something too.
    <img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2120/1590800376_f30e7ef089.jpg"/&gt;

  3. acarr260 Avatar

    I can't leave this out, found across town at the Porsche museum (Carerra GT motor). Just check out the header pr0n.
    <img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4049/4478685563_3f988c646e.jpg&quot; width="500" height="375" alt="P1010323" />

  4. c0de Avatar

    I don't have a favorite… I guess i'm not hoon enough for that.. but I have always admired Lancia Delta S4's engine.. Both Turbo and Supercharged producing 470 bhp from a 1.8, yes you read right they managed to create 1.8 in 1985 that produces 470 bhp.. i rest my case..

    1. muthalovin Avatar

      I have to agree. That is amazingly badass.

    2. dr zero Avatar

      Of course they had been making F1 engines that with 1.5L were producing so much power they were going over the maximum rating of their dynos, also in the 80s. Including that BMW M12 that BGW was writing about earlier.

  5. dmilligan Avatar

    The 5.4 liter flat 12 in the Porsche 917/30 gives me goosebumps. In a good way.

  6. James Avatar

    BMW F1 engine from '82-'87 – 2002 block debored to 1.5L, eight billion pounds of boost, 1400bhp in qualifying trim. That's almost 1000bhp/l, and the blocks were all 100,000+km used blocks from BMW road cars!

    1. James Avatar

      wish I knew the HTML code to embed an image, but I don't. Clicky for the pictar…

      1. Jeff Glucker Avatar
        Jeff Glucker

        use true HTML img code to get that photo to show
        <img src="http://img337.imageshack.us/img337/218/dsc073629766873.jpg"&gt;

    2. dustin_driver Avatar

      <img src="http://img337.imageshack.us/img337/218/dsc073629766873.jpg"&gt;
      There ya go.
      BTW, the code is: [ <img src="link"> ]

  7. damnelantra™[!] Avatar

    its hard not to love the cosworth 20k v8!

  8. Alan Avatar

    Porsche 917/30 Motor.
    5.4 Liter air-cooled twin-turbo flat 12. 1600HP @ 39 PSI boost for qualifying – 1967.36 bhp/ton!

  9. Alan Avatar

    Porsche 917/30 Motor.
    5.4 Liter air-cooled twin-turbo flat 12. 1600HP @ 39 PSI boost for qualifying – 1967.36 bhp/ton!

  10. dahm Avatar

    SOHC it to me!
    <img src=http://www.musclecarreport.com/article_images/Ford%27s%20Incredible%20427%20SOHC/427%20Engine.jpg />

  11. OA 5599 Avatar
    OA 5599

    426 Hemi. Telling Richard Petty he couldn't use it caused him to pull out of NASCAR, and nearly 50 years after its introduction, its decendants still rule the roost in NHRA.

  12. dustin_driver Avatar

    [youtube Go3Fgd1wgic http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Go3Fgd1wgic youtube]
    It's madness! Madness, I say!

    1. nofrillls Avatar

      My God, it sounds like a swarm of 1000 angry 10cc Cox engines!

  13. dustin_driver Avatar

    [youtube Go3Fgd1wgic http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Go3Fgd1wgic youtube]
    It's madness! Madness, I say!

  14. engineerd Avatar

    <img src="http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/attachments/engine-conversions/102711d1210801853-8v-2l-twin-charged-my-little-project-lancia-delta-s4-engine.jpg&quot; style="width: 220px; height: 168px; border: 0" alt="imgTag" />
    Which goes in this
    <img src="http://homepage.virgin.net/shalco.com/images/lancia_delta_s4_san_remo.jpg&quot; style="width: 457px; height: 391px; border: 0" alt="imgTag" />
    <img src="http://www.racecar-engineering.com/imageBank/a/audi_motorsport-090728-1715_p.jpg&quot; style="width: 440px; height: 293px; border: 0" alt="imgTag" />
    Which goes in this
    <img src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_Z-eYRIyTo08/SbW_u2eYdrI/AAAAAAAAe6Q/XeYDMioR5Aw/s400/audi-r15-tdi_7.jpg&quot; style="width: 400px; height: 267px; border: 0" alt="imgTag" />
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7d/Rolls-Royce_Merlin.jpg&quot; style="width: 500px; height: 322px; border: 0" alt="imgTag" />
    Which goes in this
    <img src="http://reviews.cnet.com/i/bto/20080807/Spitfire_Stephen_Browser_med_270x313.jpg&quot; style="width: 270px; height: 313px; border: 0" alt="imgTag" />
    The Swandean Spitfire Special

    1. thomasmac Avatar

      Jay Leno is rebuilding a Merlin for a race car he built, If I was fortunate enough to have one of those motors I would find myself smiling like an idiot when I started it then proceeded to disturbing all my neighbours with 5 miles

      1. engineerd Avatar

        Jay Leno is the effing man.

    2. dustin_driver Avatar

      Ah yes, I prefer my forced induction with a sprinkle of forced induction on top.

    3. dmilligan Avatar


  15. scroggzilla Avatar

    So much to choose from…..
    The Mercedes straight 8 that powered the W196 F1 car and the 300 SLR
    <img src="http://photos.webridestv.com/datastore/images/user/1d138e2d6657250f90491b1014c8ef72/Mercedes_Benz_300_SLR_115414_20080806_l.jpg"&gt;

    1. scroggzilla Avatar

      The Novi V8 (with McCullough supercharger)
      <img src="http://modelenginenews.org/gallery/images/novi_v8_3.jpg"&gt;

        1. scroggzilla Avatar

          And, of course, there's the BRM H-16….which makes it's V-16 seem rational
          [youtube tV-9A6UP1xo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tV-9A6UP1xo youtube]

    2. skitter Avatar

      I love all the direct injected cars in ALMS: the old R8s, the RS Spyders, and now some of the GT cars. No starter needed, just spray fuel, hit spark, PAH! and it's running. I love the contrast between the modern, silent prototype diesels and the shriek of super-high revs, from 20kRPM F1 motors to 13kRPM Can-Am small blocks. But desmodromic always wins it.

      1. scroggzilla Avatar

        And direct injection…in 1954!

  16. lilwillie Avatar

    Just give me a Small Block Chevy and I'll win just about everywhere. A Big Block if needed.

  17. thomasmac Avatar

    Super Corsair
    <img src="http://www.warbirddepot.com/dbimages/174/174-a-1280.jpg&quot; style="width: 1020px; height: 816px; border: 0" alt="imgTag" />
    which has the 4360 cubic inch 4 row radial "corn cob", 28 cylinders FTW
    <img src="http://www.trentonrcflyers.com/r4360waspmajor.jpg&quot; style="width: 1088px; height: 816px; border: 0" alt="imgTag" />

    1. dmilligan Avatar

      Ye gods….! Aircraft radial engines are cool but this one is amazing.

      1. thomasmac Avatar

        I have read these motors never needed oil changes as they got burned off so much and then got topped up it just kept adding fresh oil to the old stuff, and when spark plugs need to be done they would bring buckets out change them (56 a engine) which must have been exciting on a B-36 that had 6 of these engines

    2. citroen67 Avatar

      OMFG! That thing is SICK! You win.

    3. nofrillls Avatar

      They have a cutaway of one of these "quadruple WASPs" at the Boston Museum of Science. It took me year of staring at it as a kid before I was able to make sense of it. Probably the most bewildering engine configuration I've seen in person.

  18. Tomsk Avatar

    No Audi straight-five love? Really?
    <img src="http://homepage.virgin.net/shalco.com/images/audi_9.jpg&quot; width="400" height="300" />
    My other pick would be the Ilmor/Mercedes I500, the lump that helped Team Penske break everyone's back in '94 and the last real piece of "WTF?!" technology to run at the Speedway in the Month of May.
    <img src="http://forix.autosport.com/8w/pc23-500i/500i-cutaway.png&quot; width="500" height="375" />

    1. P161911 Avatar

      I came here to say the Ilmor/Mercedes I500. I heard that Ilmor built a bunch of motors for the 95 season for several other teams. Due to rules changes the motors were never used. I would love to get a hold of one for a project of some sort. I was at the Indy time trials in 94 when that came out NOBODY was expecting it. that was when Penske was at the top of their game, without question.

      1. BGW Avatar

        I don't believe they ever intended to run it in 1995. CART never approved it for use as Penske presented it, so it was only ever legal at Indy, since that was a USAC-sanctioned race. Even then, it was a only legal due to a loophole that was intended to help the aging Buick-based Menard V6 hand-grenades. As I recall, USAC dropped the boost levels for the Ilmor (and only the Ilmor) almost immediately after the race, rendering it uncompetitive.

        1. P161911 Avatar

          Maybe they just built them for more teams to use at Indy.

    2. dr zero Avatar

      Looking at the stats, it doesn't seem that remarkable, 2 valves/cylinder, 10500 prm limit. And then you look at the outputs, and think, after all, that it's not bad.

      1. P161911 Avatar

        Almost 27PSI of boost to 3.4L will do that.

      2. Tomsk Avatar

        And the sound! So unlike everything else running that year.

    3. nofrillls Avatar

      I'm with ya on the Audi I-5, primarily because of the otherworldly sound it made in Group B form. That and the radically different performance of it in Group B form when compared to the naturally-aspirated everyman slug it was in street form.

  19. rovingardener Avatar

    Baker Racing Engine SBC's, winning since the 70's and still reliable. I'll be having one of these with a street build.
    Also, there is this: http://www.bakerengineeringinc.com/PEDrag.html , with a white whale on the page.

    1. CptSevere Avatar

      There's something about a wagon smoking its tires that just warms my heart.

      1. buy MBT Shoes Avatar

        these words made me stronger. i really loves this a lot! 😀

  20. CptSevere Avatar

    How about a full-race Iron Duke? How many perverse sleeper ideas does this give you?

    1. bill Avatar

      site needs more pictures. also, I want one.

  21. Slow Joe Crow Avatar
    Slow Joe Crow

    Coventry Climax FWA, the world's fastest fire pump, plus Lady Godiva on the cam cover

  22. dustin_driver Avatar

    Some seriously good engine porn in this thread. Seriously good.

  23. dragon951 Avatar

    Oh come on. How impossible is that. I am going to go with every engine EVER! With special love for anything Horizontally opposed, or just anything from Stuttgart.
    Also not seeing a lot of love for the most ridiculously, unnecessarily complicated V8: the 928.
    <img src="http://cache.gawker.com/assets/images/jalopnik/2009/03/928_Relay_Panel.jpg"/&gt;
    With a pig-back EMS, people easily see 100+hp/L, which isn't bad for a 25 y.o. design.

  24. acarr260 Avatar

    I just saw this the last time I was in Germany – 2002 Mercedes Formula 1 motor. It's so pretty.
    <img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4059/4479297824_9c873c23f9.jpg&quot; width="500" height="375" alt="P1010165" />

    1. Peter_Dushenski Avatar

      That’s not the only amazing Mercedes F1 engine. Consider another…
      <img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2411/2383852197_2792891d47.jpg&quot; width="500" height="334" alt="1937 Mercedes Benz W125" />
      The year: 1937
      The car: Mercedes-Benz W125 Formula 1
      The engine: 5.7L supercharged straight-8
      The power: 646hp
      It was so dominant at the hands of Rudolf Caracciola and Manfred von Brauchitsch that the rules were changed for 1938 to limit engine size to 3.0L. This was but one of Mercedes-Benz’s great F1 engines, a short history of which can be found here:

    1. Black Steelies Avatar

      Damn i thought maybe someone forgot the Mazda Rotary. A motor so good it won and was promptly outlawed. Good choice

  25. smokyburnout Avatar

    Nobody has mentioned the Pratt & Whitney ST6 from the Andy Granatelli Turbine Car yet?
    <img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v648/smokyburnout/STP_Turbine-1.jpg"&gt;

  26. BЯдΖǐL-ЯЄРΘЯΤЄЯ Avatar

    Kreidler Van Veen, 50 cc two-stroke with 20.5 hp (410 hp per litre) <img src="http://www.kreidler.nl/artikelen/tuning/vanveenblok.jpg"&gt;
    <img src="http://www.bikeexif.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/kreidler_van_veen.jpg"&gt;

  27. nofrillls Avatar

    Hahaha. Sweet.

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