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Country of origin:Italy
Produced in:1982
Numbers built:7
Designed by:Dr. Harvey Postlethwaite
Predecessor:Ferrari 126 CK
Successor:Ferrari 126 C2B
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:November 13, 2015
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Click here to download printer friendly versionFollowing the disastrous 1980 season, which saw the team score just 11 points in their title defence, Ferrari desperately needed to get their act together. All hopes were pinned on the brand new, twin-turbo V6, which was due to replace the flat 12 engine used since 1970. The new engine was first seen during the practice of the 1980 Italian Grand Prix but not raced due to mechanical issues. With the V6 better sorted, Ferrari gradually returned to form in 1981, when two wins were scored.

In addition to the continued reliability issues, the 126 CK used in 1981 also suffered from the emphasis on the engine at the expense of chassis and aerodynamics development. This was addressed ahead of the 1982 season by the team headed by Dr. Harvey Postlethwaite. He was faced by revised regulations, which now banned the lateral sliding skirts used to seal the underbody, which helped increase the ground effect generated downforce.

The new-for-1982 Ferrari 126 C2 broke new ground by utilising a monocoque constructed from aluminium honeycomb sheets for the firs time. This considerably increased the chassis' rigidity, which was crucial to cope with the massive force generated by the ground-effect aerodynamics. This was more important than ever before as the solution to deal with the ban on sliding skirts was to reduce suspension travel to a minimum. As a result of the stiffly sprung chassis, the skirts could be kept attached to the track under most conditions.

To keep as many components out of the airflow through the ground-effect tunnels on either side of cockpit, the 126 C2 featured in-board springs and dampers. At the front, these were actuated by pull-rods connected to the top of the uprights, while at the rear the top wishbones doubled as rockers. The ventilated and cross-drilled discs were mounted outboard on all four corners. During the season, Ferrari experimented with a longitudinal and transverse gearbox, which affected the wheelbase. As a vast majority of the 126 C2's downforce was generated by the ground-effect aerodynamics, the front and rear wing served mainly for balance purposes.

Over the winter, the 1.5-litre engine was also further developed. Like the naturally aspirated V6s used successfully during the 1960s, the engine featured a relatively wide 120° cylinder angle. Ferrari used the space between the cylinder banks to mount the KKK turbos. To ensure the V6 could cope with the formidable forces inside the engine, the block was constructed from cast-iron. By contrast, the twin-cam, four-valve per cylinder head was cast in aluminium. By the start of the 1982 season, the engine produced 650 bhp in qualifying trim and around 600 bhp during the races.

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  Article Image gallery (28) 061 Specifications User Comments (1)