Cosworth at 60

We meet Cosworth.

In 2018, Cosworth turns 60. In celebration, Influx was granted behind-the-scenes access at the company’s engineering base in Northampton, England, to meet some of the men and women who make Cosworth what it is today – and what it will be tomorrow.

There are few names which both evoke and define the history of motorsport more than that of Cosworth.

Without Cosworth engineering, many famous racing victories may never have happened; without Cosworth magic, some of the world’s most iconic road cars may never have been born.

In F1 alone, Cosworth victories have been chalked up by famous names such as Michael Schumacher, Keke Rosberg, Graham Hill, Jackie Stewart and James Hunt; the company’s DFV engine alone was used by more than 55 teams, including McLaren, Williams, Brabham and Tyrrell. (In fact, the company can boast 176 race victories in F1 in total, second only to Ferrari.)

Outside F1, other famous names powered by Cosworth include Colin McRae, while Cosworth propulsion won the Indy 500 race 10 times in a row between 1978 and 1987, adding two further back-to-back victories later in the 1990s.

On the road, performance cars such as the Mercedes 190E, Ford Escort RS Cosworth and Ford Sierra RS Cosworth gave the company an accessible legacy. That continues today, with the Honda NSX supercar powered by a Cosworth lump.

What began in a small workshop in London in 1958 is now a design and manufacturing powerhouse employing hundreds of staff and making everything from engine blocks to electronics – for road cars, racing cars old and new, military drones and much more that is too secret to detail here.

The company has always been known for its racing engines but today’s group makes so much more, such as carbon fibre racing transmissions, performance data logging equipment for supercars and electronics for the entire current crop of IndyCar racing machines.

This is not a business that is stuck in the past – and Cosworth already has expertise in the battery management systems and associated intelligence which are needed to underpin the surge in producing new and ever more sophisticated electric cars.

At the company’s advanced manufacturing centre in Northampton, housed behind the orangey-red brick office buildings, robots whirr away, fetching, ferrying and machining raw materials and components in various stages of completion and in staggering levels of complexity. Human counterparts oversee the work; engine blocks for exotic cars are still finished and assembled by hand. It’s the sort of cavernous space you’d expect of such a well-known brand, with secretive space-age tech and links to cutting-edge technology such as the Aston Martin Valkyrie hypercar.

Cosworth header

Elsewhere, we get a peek at a facility where technicians restore and maintain historic racing engines, some of the technology being employed in operational unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) and more computing power than NASA could have dreamed possible in the days of sending spaceships to the moon.

Cosworth is a fascinating British business, steeped in history and stepping boldly into the future.