Since the early days of Grand Prix racing many attempts were made to enter the Formula One and pre-war Grand Prix era. The period 1885 – 2021 contains over 650 Unraced projects. Every now and then new projects appear on the surface. To share with you all the stories i decided to summarize the stories per year. Don’t you worry, all the stories will be researched and eventually published. This is the summarized overview of the 1976 season.
Alpine – Renault A500
The test hack for Renault to try out their brand new Turbo charged V6 engine. Andre Cortanze designed the Alpine A500. Renault already began on their Formula One adventure in 1972 with Elf. The Alpine A500 was constructed in all secrecy in Dieppe. Before the A500 was tested in 1976, Jean-Pierre Jabouille did several tests with the A441 prototype (fitted with the Turbo engine) in November 1975 at Paul-Ricard. Later the A500 would make it’s first “secret” test at Michelin’s test track Ladoux. The first “public” test with the A500 was in June 1976. Later in the season the A500 now in a yellow livery would be tested at Nogaro. Only one chassis was build.
Eventually Alpine and Gordini were merged in 1976 by Renault. It did not meant the end for the project. Renault continued developing the V6 Turbo engine. While continuing developing the engine and the A500 as well, Renault decided to rebrand the car to the RS (Renault Sport) 01.
This one is still under investigation, In 1976 the German engineer Egon Evertz was said to be working on a Formula One team. There are only a few clues for this one. Around the same time, Egon Evertz was working on a Two-stroke Formula One engine. While he was working on the engine the Formula one banned the use of a two-stroke engine by changing the rules.
Herausforderung means Challenge, and it is what the Herausforderung is if you look at the concept of it. The first thing that stands out are the eight wheels on the car. Four in front and four in the back. As well, the car has no rear wing and the engine is fitted in the front. Michael Stirm came with the concept, published in August 1976 in Sport-Auto. Created to show the possibilities with the current technological advantages and know how. The front wheels where in style of the Tyrrell P34, while the back has similarities with the March 2-4-0. The car, in the picture, is powered by some Porsche engine.
Maki – Cosworth F102A
Formula One team Maki Engineering is one of the rare examples in the history of Formula One that managed to DNQ at all races they attempt. Be aware with all the cars they created. Their last attempt in the Formula One was in 1976 with the Maki F102A. The Japanese team from Kenji Mimura made their debut in 1975 with the Maki F101. The F101 would be the base of the failed attempts to qualify for any race. After a shite season in 1975, the team only re-appeared on the track for the last Grand Prix in 1976. The Japanese Grand prix was their last gamble in the Formula One with Tony Trimmer behind the wheel. The F102A was oddly shaped in an attempt to ditch as much as possible weight.
Trivia: Maki did make one race start; this was in 1975 during the non-championship Swiss Grand Prix. Tony Trimmer manage to finish 13th, six laps behind the winner Clay Regazzoni.
Surtees – Cosworth TS18
The Surtees – Cosworth TS 18 is the unraced challenger for 1976. We have to go back to 1974 when Team Surtees introduced the TS16. This car was the successor of the TS14, though was not a big success at all. Only three points were scored in 1974, and zero in 1975. The TS18 was to be the evolution of the TS16. However, the TS18 never appeared on the tracks. While the design of the car was completed to start with. So what happened?
First, some side info, the Surtees TS17 was also an unraced car. The TS17 was a design for the F5000 in 1975. It’s probably why the team raced in 1975 as well with the TS16. However, the team abandoned their plans for the F5000 challenger. The car was based on the TS15 to be fitted with the 3,4L Cosworth GA engine.
Mike Pilbeam designed the Surtees TS18. However, the design eventually went down the shredder. Team Surtees ended up with the Ken Sears designed TS19. What Sears designed was simply the idea Murray had for the Brabham. Similar to their car the design was based on weight distribution. This is one party of the story, as far as I figured it out. There is another part regarding some sponsorship that did not continue, which resulted the team to abandon the design, as it would be more expensive. I’m not aware if the designs of the Surtees TS18 are still around.