On display on Cummins’ stand at this weekend’s Goodwood Festival of Speed will be a recreation of John Cobb’s famous 1933 Napier Railton Special race car. Other than the Cummins’ 6.7-liter I-6, normally reserved for commercial and military vehicles in the U.K. as well as heavy duty Ram pickups in the U.S., the replica will be true to the original racer. The normally 300-hp turbodiesel will be tuned to an impressive 500-hp – just 30-hp shy of the gas-powered 24-liter 12-cylinder whch powered the original race car.
“When Terry Clarke and his colleague Paul Foulston approached us about this project we saw it as an excellent opportunity to promote diesel power in areas you would not normally associate it with,” said Neil Pattison, Cummins Automotive Sales Director for Europe, Middle East and Africa, "Not many people realize that Cummins has a strong history in racing, using it to test the durability of our products from as far back as the 1930s.”
Clessie Cummins organized a European tour where the diesel-powered 1931 No.8 Duesenberg Indianapolis 500 car also raced at Brooklands. The No. 8 Dusenberg will also be on display at Goodwood to commemorate the 100th anniversary of that event.
The original Railton Special was designed by Reid Railton and built by Thomson and Taylor on the Brooklands site. It was powered by a Napier Lion XI gasoline aero engine used in World War I. The 24-liter engine had 12 cylinders in three banks of four arranged in a “W” or” broad arrow configuration.” It was a DOHC design with four valves and two spark plugs per cylinder.
It was first raced by John Cobb in 1993 and is now on display in the Brooklands Museum. In 1935 it broke the Brooklands outer circuit lap record of 143.44mph and in 1936 it set the 24 hour record of 150.6mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats.
For the 2011 Goodwood Festival of Speed the chassis and engine are complete with the body work to be completed later.
"We have a number of potential plans for the car once it is complete,” said Terry Clarke, the creator of the project “We certainly hope to have the completed vehicle ready to run up the hill at Goodwood in 2012. Running it against the original Railton car would also be interesting, however we would need to find an alternative location as the Brooklands track is no longer complete".