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  Ferrari 126 C3
 

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Country of origin:Italy
Produced in:1983
Internal name:632
Predecessor:Ferrari 126 C2B
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:February 10, 2020
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Click here to download printer friendly versionFor Formula 1 in general and Ferrari in particular, the 1982 season was a tragic one with a fatal accident of Gilles Villeneuve and a career ending crash for his team-mate Didier Pironi shortly thereafter. Ferrari were nevertheless crowned constructor's World Champion by the virtue of the very fast 126 C2 and its powerful twin-turbo V6 engine.

With an eye on repeating the World Championship winning effort in 1983, Ferrari's chief engineer, Dr Harvey Postlethwaite set about designing an all-new car. Although it was dubbed the 126 C3, it boasted Ferrari's very first carbon-fibre composite monocoque. This was lighter and, crucially, stronger than the aluminium 126 C2 it superseded. The latter was important with the massive loads created by the turbocharged engine and ground-effect aerodynamics.

The tragic 1982 season prompted a last-minute rule change, banning ground-effect aerodynamics by mandating flat floors. This forced Postlethwaite to make substantial changes to the design of 126 C3. The full-length side-pods were no longer required while much larger wings were fitted fore and aft to claw back some of the downforce lost due to the ground-effect ban.

Carried over from the successful 126 C2 was the twin-turbo V6. According to official figures, this 1.5-litre engine produced around 600 bhp but in qualifying trim this could be raised considerably. The Tipo 021 engine was mated to a transverse gearbox that could be fitted with either five or six forward speeds. The suspension on both ends consisted of double wishbones with pull-rod actuated springs and dampers.

Signed to drive for Ferrari in 1983 were Frenchmen Patrick Tambay and René Arnoux. The talented pairing started the year with the flat-bottom 126 C2, which boasted a similar aerodynamics package as the 126 C3 due later in the year. The C2B served the team very well with Tambay winning the San Marino Grand Prix and Arnoux the Canadian Grand Prix.

By the British Grand Prix, at Silverstone, the 126 C3 was finally ready to go. In the remaining seven Grands Prix, Tambay scored a third and a second, while Arnoux did much better with two wins and another pair of second place finishes. The two Ferrari drivers ended the year third and fourth in the drivers' table, while Ferrari added another constructors' title to the team's tally.

For the 1984 season, Ferrari introduced a further evolution in the form of the 126 C4. A single victory was scored with Ferrari struggling to keep up with the advances in non ground-effect aerodynamics achieved by the Italian team's rivals. The 126 C3 would remain as the last Ferrari to win a constructors' World Championship until the F399 of 1999.

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  Article Image gallery (14) 068 Specifications