Page 1 of 1 Introduced during the 1979 season, the RT3 was Ralt's first ground-effect Formula 3 racer. Designed by Ron Tauranac, it replaced the highly successful RT1 but was relatively late to arrive as rivals Chevron, March and Martini had their ground-effect racers ready before the start of the year. So very few teams switched to the RT3 and only four examples were built in 1979. However, it would not take long before the ground-effect Ralt carried on where the RT1 had left off.
To cope with the substantially increased loads created by the ground-effect aerodynamics, Tauranac ensured the RT3 aluminium monocoque chassis was up to the task by reinforcing the bulkheads with aluminium honeycomb. The chassis itself was very narrow and the suspension was mounted inboard, creating room for very wide side-pods, which, thanks to their wing-shaped floors, generated the ground-effect aerodynamics. Mainly for balance reasons, the very elegant RT3 also featured a front and rear wing.
Equipped with a Hewland gearbox, the RT3 could accommodate a choice of engines. Alfa Romeo, Toyota and Volkswagen four cylinder engines proved particularly popular. Although very strong, the RT3 was also relatively heavy in its original guise, which also accounted for the lack of success in 1979. Tauranac addressed these issues and due to continuous development the RT3 remained very competitive well into the mid 1980s. Among the many successes were the British F3 Championship win for Ayrton Senna with a Toyota engined car and Pierluigi Martini's European Championship title with an Alfa Romeo powered RT3, both in 1983.
A change in regulations, effectively banning ground-effect aerodynamics, rendered the RT3 obsolete at the start of the 1985 season. It was replaced by the RT30, which was to some extent a flat-bottom evolution of the RT3. Between 1979 and 1984, Ralt built a total of 168 examples of what was one of the day's most successful Formula 3 racers. Page 1 of 1