Porsche???s Formula One Engines

For one of motorsport???s most successful marques, Porsche hasn???t spent very much time playing at the pinnacle of the sport.

They entered Formula One in the early sixties with a competitive, if not blisteringly fast, car. Dan Gurney put it to good use, securing their only Grand Prix win at the French Grand Prix in 1962, along with a Porsche a one-two at the non-championship Solitude Grand Prix with Jo Bonnier in second place.

Porsche???s real success in Formula One came, like everything truly awesome, in the eighties. Formula One in the early eighties was beginning to rely on turbocharging, a method of forced induction in which Porsche was both pioneer and expert. The McLaren team and Porsche struck an accord and, in 1983, Porsche began supplying TAG-branded engines to the McLaren??team.

Those motors were pretty good. Porsche engines powered McLaren??to two constructors??? championships in ???84 and ???85, and three drivers??? championships; one for Niki Lauda in ???84 and two for Alain Prost in ???85 and ??6. The Porsche powered McLarens??won a spectacular twelve of the sixteen races of the 1984 season. By this point Williams??? Honda powered machines were taking over the performance crown, and Porsche left the sport for the second time, having powered those two constructors??? and three drivers??? championships in just over four years.

The motor that Porsche supplied was a 1499cc twin-turbo, water-cooled V6 that would operate as a fully-stressed member of the McLaren’s carbon-fibre monocoque chassis. It was reliable, efficient and consistent. The motor aged like a fine wine; growing to produce 900 horsepower at 12, 600 revs by its final season. This would power the McLaren, regulated to a minimum weight of 540kg in 1983, to 350km/hr.

Image via Porsche