GRR

7 cars with huge engines at 81MM

10th April 2024
Ethan Jupp

This year’s Members’ Meeting presented by Audrain Motorsport is all about the big bangers. From the Can-Am demo, to a race dedicated to V8 Mustangs, to the wild S.F. Edge Trophy, raw displacement is the unofficial theme. So we thought we’d count down some of the biggest of the big bangers at this year’s event.

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McLaren M8F – 7.5-8.8 litre V8

Starting with the McLaren M8F, which only on this list can be considered weedy-of-engine, when in its 7.5-litre configuration. As with many Can-Am challengers of the era, it packed big-block Chevy V8 power to varying displacements. Almost all fed by a spectacular and elaborate array of inlet trumpets sat over the driver’s shoulder. It’s a proper monster.

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Lola T222 – 8-litre V8

As is the Lola T222, which we are fairly sure is packing no less than an 8-litre version of the Chevy big-block. It’s very similar to the McLaren in that it’s a big angry wedge with some big shiny trumpets poking out the middle, feeding a very big V8. Like the McLaren, said V8 should make a monstrous amount of noise.

Image courtesy of Motorsport Images

Image courtesy of Motorsport Images

Shadow DN4 – 8.1-11-litre V8

When it comes to Can-Am, it’s with Shadow that things get weird. Meet the DN4, a racing car seemingly inspired by the hair-brained wheeled schemes of a certain D. Dastardly. This car wasn’t all show, though. Jackie Oliver deployed its humongous Chevy V8 to take the 1974 Can-Am Driver’s Championship via victory at four of the five races that season.

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81MM entry list

04th April

Image by Jayson Fong

Image by Jayson Fong

Oakland Romano Demon special – 8.2-litre V8

Now we get to the weird stuff. Racing in the S.F. Edge Trophy and sitting at some 60 years older than the Can-Am cars, are the aero-engined specials. Some of which make the Can-Am cars’ massive V8s look like food blenders. This Oakland Romano isn’t quite one of them but it is considerably sizable, with a WW1 8.2-litre Curtis V8. This car won the first ever Pikes Peak hillclimb, in 1915. Hopefully this year it doesn’t relieve itself of one of its tyres early into the race.

Image by James Lynch

Image by James Lynch

Theophile Schneider Aero – 10-litre i4

In the 1913 Theophile Schneider Aero, we graduate into the double figures of displacement. It packs a 10-litre aero engine under that elongated bonnet. Big-of-block though it is, it’s plenty nimble enough, as was demonstrated in 2021 when it positively dances around the Motor Circuit in the pouring rain.

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81MM timetable announced

02nd April

Image by Peter Summers

Image by Peter Summers

Darracq 200hp – 25.4-litre V8

Truthfully at this point, things do get a bit silly. But racing is silly and in the early days of racing, you had to do silly things to make your car powerful. Like fit a 25.4-litre V8 engine made out of two four-pots joined at the crank. As such, it is one of the world’s first V8 engines, which is interesting in itself, never mind the size.  Such size means low revs but it also means big power. We say big, the output of a Mk5 VW Golf GTI was considered fairly stratospheric in 1905. To look at, this thing really is just an engine with a couple of rails, wheels and a steering wheel attached.

Image by James Lynch

Image by James Lynch

Fiat S76 – 28.4-litre i4

Finally, a car in need of very little introduction, is the Fiat S76. Lovingly dubbed the Beast of Turin, this car is a legend of Goodwood well over a century on from its contemporary racing era. Why? Of course it looks incredible, of course it’s a wild old thing. But the centre of attention is always that engine. It’s a 28-litre – yes you read that right – four-cylinder. Talk about buckets for combustion chambers, hey? Owner Duncan often likes to run with headers only, with billowing flames belching from the square exits at all times. We’ll never tire of seeing it here at Goodwood and indeed, it does confidently take the title of largest engine at 81MM.

Lead image by Jayson Fong

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