Hillclimb Engine Technology – The Future

The conclusion to our tour of the topline hillclimb powerplants will be somewhat speculative. We will look at what might or might not be the next motor of choice at the top end of the British Hillclimb Championship.

Scott Moran Gould GR61X NME V8

What will come along to topple the NME domination? (thanks to Steve Wilkinson)


The Future

What is next in the engines stakes for British Hillclimbing? Well, most trends in motor racing tend to be cyclical, there is plenty of truth in the old addage ‘what comes around, goes around’.

Currently we are in a period where knowledgable observers are predicting that the blown-motorcycle engines will become the dominant force on the hills over coming seasons.

Looking back to the 80s however, and we can see that big V8s overcame the nimble Hart-engined cars. In the early noughties Graeme Wight Jnr with his Cosworth V6 seemed unbeatable, until that NME V8 arrived. So what can we expect from the early-mid ‘teens’? I think that a new generation of big-banger V8 will come along.

What might the next generation be though? Where is the current engine development taking place in motor racing?

F1 is an obvious place to start, but development has all but ceased here in recent years. Also, as Graeme Wight Jnr discovered with his wonderful GWR Predator V10, the massively high-revving F1 engines are a nightmare to run, silence, keep cool and also to find a suitable gearbox for. I am not sure that this is where the next step will come from.

Graeme Wight Jnr GWR Predator V10

TWR V10 in GWR Predator won a BHC Run Off in 2008

One-make racing seems to dominate the motorsport world currently, but the inherant lack of concern about weight, power or future development means that this may well be an ultimate blind alley. Will Hall will be bringing a World Series by Renault/Nissan 3.5 litre V6 to the hills in 2012, so that may well give us a clue as to what the potential is.

Le Mans & endurance racing must surely be the place where the right kind of development is going on? The LMP2 regulations were re-written for 2011 and this change made the purpose built 3.4 litre V8s/2.0 litre turbo engines obsolete over night. Acura, Judd, Zytek, Porsche, Mazda, AER & Lehman all have existing engines built to this spec and without restrictors they could produce 600bhp at 10,500 revs and will weight around 115-120kgs. Now, they sound like the right sort of numbers to me….

So there we have it, a crash course in hillclimb engine technology over the past 25-30 years. Please don’t forget to let us have your thoughts on what has or hasn’t, might or might not happen!



  1. Andy Barton says:

    Other related areas for speculation are:
    How long will it be [if ever] before examples of the next class of F1 engines become available, and will they develop, as in the last F1 turbo era, into installations where the block itself is dwarfed by the pressurising machinery, or will the FIA legislate against this in some way?
    If these next generation F1 engines are light and compact enough [and available], and given further tyre development, then could we see hillclimb cars with much smaller section tyres, and hence less drag generated by the wheel/tyre. Further, if diffuser aero development progresses again, then might we then see very much smaller rear wings, and perhaps the driver’s head enclosed, like top gun, in some kind of bubble? So imagine a GWR Raptor with say 600bhp and very sticky bicycle tyres. Suspension design would need to develop to accommodate the tyres lessened absorbtion effect. Active ride anyone? None of this sounds cheap, but was it ever inexpensive to win the BHC?

  2. Graeme Wight says:

    electric is the future

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