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  Chevron B36      

  Article Image gallery (124) Chassis (4) Specifications  
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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced from:1976 - 1978
Numbers built:21
Designed by:Derek Bennett
Predecessor:Chevron B31 Hart
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:May 12, 2016
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Click here to download printer friendly versionFor someone who strongly believed in the gradual evolution of his designs, Derek Bennett could develop a brand new car in a remarkably short time. It would however usually take quite a bit of effort from others to convince him that a fresh design was really necessary. This was certainly the case in the middle of the 1973 season when the latest Chevron B23 was no match for the Lolas and Osellas. Bennett was busy working on Formula 2 and Formula 5000 cars and no one seemed able to get his interest back on the ailing sports car. When he finally did set his sights on the B23, Bennett reworked the suspension and fitted a rear wing. During tests this evolution clearly made a considerable difference. Much to everybody's surprise Bennett nevertheless decided that a clean sheet design was needed to regain competitiveness. Shortly after he was found testing the brand new Chevron B26, which was another three seconds faster than the revised B23.

What set the B26 apart from its predecessors was the aluminium monocoque. Previous Chevron sports racers had used a reinforced spaceframe design that was first used in the B6 of 1967. The new monocoque type chassis offered similar rigidity but weighed less. Just as on the earlier cars a separate front subframe was used for ease of maintenance or replacement in case of accident damage. Adapted to the latest low profile tires, the front suspension was carried over from the final evolution of the B23. The rear suspension was derived from the B25 Formula 2 single seater. Although partly cured with the new rear wing, the B23 lacked rear-end downforce and stability compared to the competition. For the B26 continued along the same lines with a simple wedge-shaped body and an integrated rear wing. While various two-litre, four cylinder engines were available, the first B26 was fitted with the Brian Hart modified all-alloy Cosworth BDA.

The initial testing and setup work was completed in time to fly the new sports racer to South Africa for the Kyalami 9 Hours race and popular Springbok Cup. Piloted by John Watson and Ian Scheckter, the B26 looked set to score debut victory (like so many other Chevrons) until an overheating problem brought a premature end to the 9 Hours race for the B26. The ever growing oil crisis forced the South African government to ban all racing. An exception was made for the first of the Springbok races, which was duly won by Watson and Scheckter in the B26 despite having had to start at the back of the grid. The oil crisis was felt even worse in England where the coil miners were on a strike. Buying a new racing car really was not a top priority even for Chevron's most loyal customers. Despite being such a major step forward only 9 B26s were sold for the 1974 season compared to 26 B23s a year earlier.

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  Article Image gallery (124) Chassis (4) Specifications