New season countdown : 14

14

Mike Huddart began his racing career in 1965 and finally called it a day in 1979. In that time he went through a few different racing numbers and a whole range of cars, including the one shown, famous for the key mounted on the roof to make it look as though it ran on clockwork.

It’s fair to say that he wasn’t the most successful of drivers, but Mike’s contribution to F1 stock car racing came in a different area.

Between the late 1970s and the early 1990s, most of the people doing most of the winning were using a big block Chevy prepared by Mike Huddart.

Initially, a well prepared but fairly standard 454 would be enough of an advantage but as the rest of the opposition caught up, the more-or-less standard units gave way to increasingly tricked up and bored out motors, before the bigger block and higher displacement 510 appeared on the scene.

The super-big block Chevy 510 engine was never fitted as standard to any production road going vehicle as it was as a marine engine. Mike Huddart was one of the main men behind taking an engine designed for a boat and adapting it to good effect in an F1 stock car.

The most successful driver to use power units from Huddart Racing Engines was John Lund. In the early 1990s, the number 53 shale car was fitted with a Huddart 510, while the tarmac car was powered by a monster Huddart 540.

But the 1990s saw a sea-change in the technical aspects of F1 stock cars, specifically on tarmac. The big block engines gave way to the lower displacement small blocks. Although not as powerful, the much lighter overall weight, combined with a lower rotating mass, meant that the cars could be made more nimble around the bends, and would accelerate quicker than a car fitted with a big block.

The Mike Huddart name faded from the F1 scene, but the Huddart Engine Company continues to this day supplying high performance engines to enthusiasts and racers.

14a

Roger Bromiley has raced on and off for the last 20 years or so. His most recent outing was at the wheel of a Rob Cowley car. This photo shows him at Coventry in 1992.

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