I have visited many factories: Apexi Japan (I used to work there), Greddy Japan, HKS Japan, and a couple of other tuning parts manufacturer factories in Japan. I was impressed with each one for their manufacturing facilities, R&D equipment, and general success. Just seeing the sheer quantity of parts being produced and the level of technology also impressed me. However, nothing really prepared me for my visit to Cosworth (where I now work).
Cosworth’s UK office is located in Northampton about 50 minutes north of London in the United Kingdom. For those of you who have never heard of Cosworth, it is the winningest engine supplier in Formula 1 of all time. This of course led to wins in all kinds of motorsport including, but not limited to, WRC, various touring car series, Le Mans, various formula car series, and more. Cosworth is also responsible for designing the drivetrains in some of the baddest ass road cars in Europe including the Cosworth Sierra, Ford RS200, Ford RS500 Cosworth, and the Aston Martin DB9 to name a few. With the loss of F1 (no customers), now Cosworth concentrates on aerospace machining, engineering services, race engine design consulting (for many of the companies that you and I worship), oem engine and drivetrain development, and of course, performance parts for road cars (what I do). To learn more about Cosworth, read Cosworth: The Search for Power.
Anyhow, sometimes I talk to people and they actually think that Cosworth pistons are made by CP or Cosworth rods are made by blah-blah or Cosworth this or that is made by this company or that. Sure, a couple parts are out sourced, but they are made to Cosworth’s specifications. Otherwise, Cosworth has 12 factories located on a kind of campus in Northampton. Peep this:
A picture cannot capture the sheer size of Cosworth. This is just one row of machines in pretty damn big building with many more machines.
Here is a Ford Duratec/Mazda MZR crankshaft being rough cut by a huge CNC machine.
Here are the same cranks after the journals have been rough cut.
Here you can see the oiling scheme inside of an F1 crankshaft. Notice that it is nose fed and not journal fed like our street car engines. 20,000rpm, son.
More machines. You have no freaking idea how many machines there are at Cosworth.
Here is the new piston manufacturing line. It is fully automated – you insert forgings and it spits out a piston on the other end in 4 minutes. It can run 24 hours a day unmanned.
The new Subaru EJ25 stroker cranks are on their way and will be available this week.
Down the street a bit are the transient engine dynomometers. One of the cells are used by Mugen. Who says Cosworth has nothing to do with Hondas?
Here is one of the “smaller” transient engine brake dyno rooms. I believe there are 4 transient dynos and 2 standard engine dynos at Cosworth UK. Some of the cells are larger and include transmission dynos.
Here is the famous Cosworth “Octagon”.
This is the giant piston forge.
Inside of the museum are a Ford Sierra Cosworth, an F1 car and some motorcycles. Around the perimeter of the room of touring car engines, formula car engines, production car road engines, and of course a shitload of F1 engines from throughout the years. You’ve never seen so many F1 engines in one place!
You thought that you were all slick with your GT28 turbo, huh? Just remember that Cosworth was using them on production car engines in 1985, son. You think your SR20 or your 4G63 is bad ass? Let me drop some science on your ass: they are more or less copies of the Cosworth YB engine. And in case you didn’t know, the Toyota 4AG is a copy of the Cosworth BD. Don’t think for a second that JDM shit is original.
Anyhow, it was pretty cool to check out Cosworth UK. I work at the US office, which is nice in it’s own right, but Cosworth UK is where the big money’s at. I have to admit, there’s a certain amount of pride I take working at Cosworth with it’s illustrious history. This is kind of a plug, but seriously: the next time you decide which engine component to buy, you should already know which one to choose: Cosworth. Don’t be fucking dumb and choose some small Subaru hack shop’s engine because they won a couple races. Just remember that Cosworth has won MORE.