5 Race Cars That Were Banned for Being Too Good

race cars

Motor racing is the ultimate ground for automobile engineering. It confines you to a few rules and dares you to push the boundaries of efficiency. However, there are times when engineering is so innovative and powerful that cars are banned from racing entirely. There are examples of this throughout history. Let’s take a look at the 5 race cars that were banned for being too good:


Brabham BT46B



Motorsport was at its peak in the 1970s. It was a time of constant innovation. The best evidence of this is that Formula 1 rules were relaxed for designers in that time. Absolutely crazy designs came out then that are illegal today.

Team Brabham’s legendary designer Gordon Murray produced something truly magnificent and deadly. He was trying to outdo the Lotus team and that was extremely tricky. He decided to use a very awkwardly shaped flat-12 engine. This meant that he didn’t have space to use an inverted aerofoil design. This was because Murray had found a workaround in the rulebook. He used a huge fan driven off the gearbox and used it to create a low pressure zone underneath the car.

The Brabham BT46B made track legend Nikki Lauda the winner of the 1978 Swedish Grand Prix. However, the constructors association withdrew the car after the race for its dangerous design. Today, it goes down in history as a truly innovative and powerful car.


Toyota Team Europe Celica GT-Four

toyota team euro


Toyota Team Europe broke the rules in 1995 when they made this demon. In the 90s, the FIA required top tier cars to run restrictor plates on their turbos. This meant that the air intake was reduced by a fourth. The team bypassed these rules by designing a moving restrictor. The restrictor would be forced back into place once the car was at rest through springs. The car passed technical inspections with flying colors until it was caught. The ingenuity was appreciated, but the team was banned for the season.


Chaparral 2J

Chaparral 2J
image credit: https://www.reddit.com/r/WeirdWheels/comments/9yqpho/the_chaparral_2j_the_first_vacuum_cleaner_car/


This one predates the Brabham BT46B. It was designed in the late 60s. It used a separate engine taken from a snowmobile to drive the cooling fans. The combination allowed for the car to go as fast as 130 mph and still have the same downforce. The car had other problems though, and they kept showing through the 1970s. The Sports Car Club of America eventually banned the car.


Lotus 56

Lotus 56
image credit: https://rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/MO16/Monterey/lots/r138-1968-lotus-56-indianapolis/363417


This was probably the craziest car design of all time. It was built from the ground up as a new race car. It used the 500 bhp Pratt and Whitney turbine engine. The power was sent to all four wheels instead of the rear two. However, the car didn’t demonstrate very brilliant results. At the 500, two broke down and one crashed. However, one set a track record of 171.58 mph.


Williams FW14



This car had it all, a semi-automatic transmission, and traction control system as well as the leading class V10 Renault Engine. However, by 1993, the FIA had grown suspicious by the costs incurred by the team. The huge corner speeds that the active suspension systems were generating brought this all crashing down, literally. Alex Zanardi crashed his Williams FW14 and the FIA banned the systems on the grounds that they were too expensive.

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