Failures of Motorsports - Car Designs, Team Mistakes and More

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Well, not quite. Two still exist, one that was sold to a private collector and one of the car that flipped actually sits at former AMG partner HWA put back together (Though not sure if its fully functional or just static).
Mercedes CLR has not appeared any racing games what so ever. Neither can it be found in Mercedes own museums.

AMR one despite its utter failure was still able to make it into a racing game.
 
Between the warm-up and the race, so indeed not until after Webber's second crash, Mercedes-Benz added dive planes to the front wings in an attempt at adding any kind of downforce. They even urgently phoned Adrian Newey in desperation for aerodynamic advice.

A horrendous death trap.
 
Between the warm-up and the race, so indeed not until after Webber's second crash, Mercedes-Benz added dive planes to the front wings in an attempt at adding any kind of downforce. They even urgently phoned Adrian Newey in desperation for aerodynamic advice.

A horrendous death trap.
Im wondering how the phone call went with mercedes and newey.

Im thinking newey most likely said retire the cars before somebody gets hurt. Such cars cant be fixed overnight Mercedes in many ways knew they screwed up tried to salvage whatever they could for a quick fix.

Mercedes will always be cursed in lemans.
 
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Between the warm-up and the race, so indeed not until after Webber's second crash, Mercedes-Benz added dive planes to the front wings in an attempt at adding any kind of downforce. They even urgently phoned Adrian Newey in desperation for aerodynamic advice.

A horrendous death trap.
How such an established brand got it soo wrong is truly baffling, even to this day.
 
How such an established brand got it soo wrong is truly baffling, even to this day.
They did get it very wrong, but like all failures, it all started during the design phase. The CLR had an aerodynamic center of pressure further back than all of its contemporaries. That, combined with the flat-bottom floor, as well as Mercedes telling the engineers that they could do anything as long as it didn't go slower. The result would always be a blowover when following another car over a crest. I believe that the drivers were told race morning not to follow closely on the two straights as well. The CLR clearly needed as much air on its nose as possible to be stable. It was very clear that Mercedes wanted to win Le Mans that year and nothing less would satisfy them.
 
They did get it very wrong, but like all failures, it all started during the design phase. The CLR had an aerodynamic center of pressure further back than all of its contemporaries. That, combined with the flat-bottom floor, as well as Mercedes telling the engineers that they could do anything as long as it didn't go slower. The result would always be a blowover when following another car over a crest. I believe that the drivers were told race morning not to follow closely on the two straights as well. The CLR clearly needed as much air on its nose as possible to be stable. It was very clear that Mercedes wanted to win Le Mans that year and nothing less would satisfy them.

Not to mention they were winning the FIA GT championship.

But they lost Lemans in 1998 as the CLK LM had reliability issues. But in 1999 spirits were high Mercedes they really believed this was the time that they will win Lemans. Not to mention CLR was especially developed just to win Lemans. Mercedes was going all in just for Lemans glory.

CLR had potential to win but the car was riddled with flaws as Liquid said it was a deathtrap.

To put salt on Mercedes wounds it was its German Rival BMW with the V12 LMR that won the 1999 24 hours of Lemans.
 
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Peugeot In The Supertouring BTCC

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Some people might not know it but Peugeot first entered the BTCC during the Group A era. A younger Mike Jordan drove the Peugeot 309 in the often forgotten Class C (1601cc-2000cc). The only other 'competition' in that class was the previously dominant Volkswagen Golf and the occasional Honda Prelude. Peugeot entered in 1989 but was completely put aside by the Vauxhall Astra of John Cleland, which also debuted and went on to win the title that year.

There was no Peugeot entry during the transitional 1990 season.

1991 was the true start of the supertouring era. Privateer teams were not gone but teams such as Rouse Sport, Vic Lee Motorsport, Dave Cook Racing, Janspeed and Prodrive were instead running teams on behalf of manufacturers like Toyota, BMW, Vauxhall and Nissan, who became background underwriters to these now-serious factory efforts.

Peugeot declined to enter a factory team in 1991 but saw the potential of a serious entry into a series which would become the continent's best.

The new team for 1992 would be run by Mick Linford's motorsport outfit. Linford was responsible for all Peugeot Sport UK activity; British Touring Car Championship, the British Rally Championship and the one-make Peugeot Rally Cup. The tin-top team would use the hot model Peugeot 405 Mi16, a car with good exposure and notoriety in the UK thanks to a "controversial" advert when it was launched in 1988.

The one-car effort was piloted by Robb Gravett, a top driver who could have gotten a decent drive at any other team; he was the 1990 champion and happy to get away from Ford after the Trackstar team went bankrupt due to a lack of funding. The 1991 Ford Sierra Sapphire was a failure worthy of its own article in this thread.

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Gravett spins out at Snetterton

In a trying season, the team struggled to make the points with Gravett finishing in the points only twice. But this toe dip into the water would lead to a full, two-car assault for the 1993 season. Gravett was partnered by Eugene O'Brien and there was even a third Peugeot 405 for Ian Flux in a very background "semi-works" effort.

1993 was a better season for Peugeot; they made leaps and bounds against the other manufacturers similarly lacking in experience; Rover and Mitsubishi disappeared without a trace whereas Peugeot was competing with Nissan and Mazda in a "best of the rest" behind the big three of Vauxhall, Toyota and BMW. Gravett scored 34 points in this season compared to just 2 points the prior year, O'Brien scored 23 and Flux scored 14. Peugeot finished 6th in the manufacturers championship, just behind Nissan but ahead of both Renault and Mazda.

In 1994 Gravett left and was replaced by Patrick Watts, who had shown flashes of brilliance at Mazda and put in many strong drives throughout the year which included 4 podium finishes, good enough for 8th in the championship, Peugeot's best showing yet. Peugeot remained 6th in the manufacturers championship but the increasing number of manufacturers, it would only increase as the seasons went on, meant that the midfield battle was fast becoming a race of attrition and a panic scramble for the minor points.

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Watts' four 3rd places ensured Peugeot were in touch with "the best of the rest"

1995 was the last year for the venerable 405 and the midfield battle became much more intense with Alfa Romeo, BMW and Toyota all slipping further and further behind, dropping into Peugeot's realm and the debuting Honda offering even more competition. Peugeot finished bottom of the manufacturer's championship and Watts just about held on to a top 10 championship position ahead of David Leslie on countback.

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Patrick Watts

At this point, it is worth pointing out that although I described the 405 as "venerable" in the British series, this belies its success elsewhere; in Italy Fabrizio Giovanardi and Gary Ayles were regular race winners and podium gatherers with Giovanardi finishing 2nd (1994) and 3rd (1995) in the Superturismo Championship; in France Laurent Aiello won the 1994 French Touring Car Championship and was 3rd in 1995. Yet in Britain, in the series which was arguably seen and touted as "the best", Peugeot was struggling.

1996 brought a new car, new colours and new sponsors. Out went the 405 and in came the sleek 406, another car which gained a following thanks to a memorable advert on British TV (this is the full, three-minute version; shorter ones were used more frequently). Out went Anglo-Dutch Shell and in came French Total to supply oil and lubricants. Out went the haphazard liveries and in came a much nicer, more striking red affair with blue and white trim.

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Also new for 1996 was Tim Harvery, signed to partner Patrick Watts. Harvey was well known at this time as a brilliant development driver, able to help struggling teams move up the field. He had done it with BMW in 1991, culminating in them winning the title together in 1992; he did it with Renault, driving for them in 1993 and 1994, winning races and proving the Laguna to be the car it would go on to be; he did it with Volvo, driving for them in 1995, leading the championship early on and going some way to enabling TWR to become a top touring car team once again in a very competitive season with Rickard Rydell. Given that he had done so with three other manufacturers who had reaped the benefits, there was no reason why he couldn't do it with Peugeot. It seemed the Total package (pun definitely intended).

But 1996 was a disaster. Harvey finished 4th at Snetterton but that aside neither driver finished better than 8th and Harvey's 20 points and Watts' 6 points was a pauper's challenge on the championship. Harvey and Watts both struggled to get the best out of the new car; Tim Harvey set the ignominious record of 6 consecutive DNFs, which I believe is still a BTCC record, and Patrick Watts actually had 10 consecutive non-classified finishes; 4 DNFs, then a DNS, another DNF, then another DNS, and then 4 more DNFs.

In 1997 MSD (Motorsport Developments) came in to run the team but Mick Linford was still team manager as head of Peugeot Sport UK. And with this came arguably the Peugeot BTCC contender most people remember:

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Note: This is the 1998 car but it's the best quality picture of this machine

The green and gold Esso Ultron Peugeot. Unquestionably one of the best looking BTCC supertourers but looks don't always mean success and 1997, although an unquestionable improvement on 1996, was another struggle against the more successful, better funded teams. Watts was the last-placed works driver in the championship with a 26 point haul which coincidentally was the sum total the team achieved last year. Harvey did have a much better season, 66 points good enough for 9th in the championship and the first time since 1994 that a Peugeot driver had finished in the single digits of championship placings.

Whilst Alain Menu crushed the opposition and dominated the championship, a rare bright spark for Peugeot is that drive of the season is quite possibly the one Tim Harvey gave at Thruxton. Rain fell, and Harvey pitted for wet weather tyres behind the safety car. He found himself way down the field in 17th position but Harvey, a noted wet weather specialist, danced around the notoriously tricky circuit with such ease and guile that he was anywhere between 3-5 seconds faster than anyone else on the track. He simply marched through the field, overtaking the cautious and lapping those who span off. When it came down to it, he finished less than a second behind race winner Gabriele Tarquini and had the race been one, maybe two laps longer, he would have unquestionably won the race. It's a fantastic race and well worth a watch.

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Harvey's wet-weather exploits were a true highlight of the 1997 season

Elsewhere? Laurent Aiello won the 1997 German Supertourenwagen Championship in a Peugeot 406. Once again, the British challenge was the lesser funded, worse performing of Peugeot's porfolio.

1998 would be Peugeot's final year. Tim Harvey was joined by Paul Radisich and the green & gold continued to win over fans but Peugeot's budget was not enough and the car was simply not competitive enough. Radisich was the more competitive of the two, finishing 4th at Silverstone, 6th at Knockhill and again at Silverstone, and even briefly led at Oulton Park thanks to pit stops, but both drivers finished even behind some of the independents in the driver's championship.

Peugeot was once again last in the manufacturer's championship and along with Audi, declined to submit an entry for 1999 due to a lack of competitiveness and costs spiralling out of control.

So what went wrong? And why?

Finance. Despite a dedicated, hard-working crew Peugeot never had the budget that any of the top teams like Williams Renault, TWR, AC Schnitzer or Alfa Corse had for their factory exploits. This didn't affect just Peugeot as shown that in 2000 there were only three teams left and a car cost around £1,000,000 a year to race but those costs increased as the seasons went on and Peugeot headquarters never stumped up that kind of cash.

But there is a caveat to that. As mentioned, Peugeot was far more competitive in other series than it was in Britain, both with the 405 and 406. Rumour has it that the British Peugeots ran a different aerodynamic package than their continental cousins and this hampered them significantly for the entire seven-season tenure Peugeot had in the BTCC. Ostensibly Peugeot Sport HQ apparently did not want whoever was running the British outfit to have knowledge of their advanced 405 and 406 packages, lest they quit running the team and take that information to other BTCC rivals.

This seems extremely unusual given that it was in Peugeot's best interests to succeed in the BTCC and to hamper their own effort is illogical but whereas the BTCC outfit was run by MSD and other 'external' personnel, the French, German and Italian teams were run under the more direct control of Peugeot Talbot.

The evolution of what a touring car team was changed during their tenure; of those teams I mentioned at the start in 1991/92, Janspeed, DC Racing, VLM, Rousesport, not one of them lasted as works teams by the end of the decade. Prodrive left in 1992 and came back later on but the 'old guard' touring car teams were gradually supplanted by better-funded teams with experience from F1 like Williams or TWR and budgets to poach top international stars such as Gabriele Tarquini, Frank Biela, Jo Winkelhock and Laurent Aiello. Peugeot lost ground to those teams, couldn't hire those drivers and quite simply could not keep up.

You will also notice that I have failed to mention any wins for Peugeot in the BTCC. This is the crux of this article; despite being extremely well remembered for their presentable cars and named talents like Radisich, Harvey and Gravett, Peugeot remain the only full-fledged, two-car works team to not win a race during the supertouring era.

A failure, yes, but unlike a lot of the other things I have written about for this thread, this failure is at least a popularly-remembered underdog.
The first time Peugeot raced in the BTCC was actually in the Brands Hatch rounds of the 1986 Season (I know this was when the series was still called the British Saloon Car Championship). Peugeot Talbot Sport UK ran the late Finnish rally driver Mikael Sundstrom in a converted 205 GTI, he came 3rd outright and won his class at the 2nd attempt.
 
The Monte Carlo 001-Cosworth

Or the Life L190 of International Formula 3000. In the hands of Fulvio Ballabio, the car's sole outing at Imola in the 1986 F3000 Season saw it not only fail to qualify but it was also bog last of the 36 entrants. Its fastest time? 3 minutes, 4.8 seconds! 1 minute, 25 seconds off the pace of the March of pole-sitter (and eventual Champion) Ivan Capelli, 1 minute, 11.5 seconds off the pace of the Dollop Racing Marches (i.e. a team that only made the F3000 grid once in two years of trying, and on this occasion, were slower than everyone else). The car is said to have suffered from gearbox problems but still, similar things could be said about the Life at the same circuit four years later! Not surprisingly, Ballabio and the Monte Carlo made no further appearances, though it has been said that the team's transporter crashed down a ravine and caught fire on the journey home from Imola, thus ruling out further appearances anyway.

Though having said all of the above, the car's performance (or lack thereof) can be explained by the stories behind it. For one, some stories claim it was originally intended to race in the 1985 F3000 Season so it was already a year old before its appearance at Imola. Also, the car had its origins in the unraced Dywa 010 F1 car, which was originally designed in 1983 (although some stories suggest it was 1980), which in turn, was the successor to the Dywa 008 that pulled out of the only race it ever entered after qualifying (The 1980 Gran Premio Della Lotteria at Monza) after Piercarlo Ghinzani's fastest time was 36.5 seconds off the pace of Emilio de Villota's RAM Racing Williams and nearly 21.5 seconds off the pace of a trio of Formula 2 Chevrons that were the next slowest qualifiers!

All in all, that's what you get for basing your car on a chassis that was already several years out of date but was also based on a car that was described as "a relic from an O-level metalwork class" and put together by a team that "lacked professionalism", according to their driver. After all, this is the same Piercarlo Ghinzani who felt it was better to be in F1 at the tail-end than not in F1 at all! To me, that's even worse than the "interesting flowerpot" that the FIRST F189 was described as before it was reborn as the Life L190!
 
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The Monte Carlo 001-Cosworth

Or the Life L190 of International Formula 3000. In the hands of Fulvio Ballabio, the car's sole outing at Imola in the 1986 F3000 Season saw it not only fail to qualify but it was also bog last of the 36 entrants. Its fastest time? 3 minutes, 4.8 seconds! 1 minute, 25 seconds off the pace of the March of pole-sitter (and eventual Champion) Ivan Capelli, 1 minute, 11.5 seconds off the pace of the Dollop Racing Marches (i.e. a team that only made the F3000 grid once in two years of trying, and on this occasion, were slower than everyone else). The car is said to have suffered from gearbox problems but still, similar things could be said about the Life at the same circuit four years later! Not surprisingly, Ballabio and the Monte Carlo made no further appearances, though it has been said that the team's transporter crashed down a ravine and caught fire on the journey home from Imola, thus ruling out further appearances anyway.

Though having said all of the above, the car's performance (or lack thereof) can be explained by the stories behind it. For one, some stories claim it was originally intended to race in the 1985 F3000 Season so it was already a year old before its appearance at Imola. Also, the car had its origins in the unraced Dywa 010 F1 car, which was originally designed in 1983 (although some stories suggest it was 1980), which in turn, was the successor to the Dywa 008 that pulled out of the only race it ever entered after qualifying (The 1980 Gran Premio Della Lotteria at Monza) after Piercarlo Ghinzani's fastest time was 36.5 seconds off the pace of Emilio de Villota's RAM Racing Williams and nearly 21.5 seconds off the pace of a trio of Formula 2 Chevrons that were the next slowest qualifiers!

All in all, that's what you get for basing your car on a chassis that was already several years out of date but was also based on a car that was described as "a relic from an O-level metalwork class" and put together by a team that "lacked professionalism", according to their driver. After all, this is the same Piercarlo Ghinzani who felt it was better to be in F1 at the tail-end than not in F1 at all! To me, that's even worse than the "interesting flowerpot" that the FIRST F189 was described as before it was reborn as the Life L190!
Can anyone think of anything worse?
 
If you believe Twitter/X, Mercedes W13
I think having a win completely discounts the W13 as being "The Worst". Sure its not the multi-time winner the W12 was or its multiple predecessors, but it managed Something that creations like the Life L190 never did. Another reason not to believe social media.
 
I think having a win completely discounts the W13 as being "The Worst". Sure its not the multi-time winner the W12 was or its multiple predecessors, but it managed Something that creations like the Life L190 never did. Another reason not to believe social media.
Especially when subjects like this aren't taken seriously!

Imagine a drag race between the Life L190 and the Monte Carlo 001 though.

If you believe Twitter/X, Mercedes W13
If anything, the real failure with regards to Mercedes' F1 cars would be the 2011 car, the only one never to score a podium and only broke into the Top 4 once all season!
 
Especially when subjects like this aren't taken seriously!

Imagine a drag race between the Life L190 and the Monte Carlo 001 though.
Would it be a drag race or seeing which one blows up first? (Assuming either fires up without issue before even getting to the starting line).
 
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I think having a win completely discounts the W13 as being "The Worst". Sure its not the multi-time winner the W12 was or its multiple predecessors, but it managed Something that creations like the Life L190 never did. Another reason not to believe social media.
If anything, the real failure with regards to Mercedes' F1 cars would be the 2011 car, the only one never to score a podium and only broke into the Top 4 once all season!
Which is why I said if you believe Twitter.. it's generally full of driver fanbois (mostly Hamilton, Verstappen and Leclerc) saying anything that isn't the fastest, is a tractor.
 
Which is why I said if you believe Twitter.. it's generally full of driver fanbois (mostly Hamilton, Verstappen and Leclerc) saying anything that isn't the fastest, is a tractor.
Not to mention the disrespect they have for a lot of teams.

I mentioned how Sauber actually won Lemans alongside Mercedes even promoted numerous talented drivers rather than pay drivers sponsored by corporates like redbull. Thats what caused the split between redbull and sauber as Peter Sauber wanted to promote Kimi Raikonen over drivers recommended by Redbull.

Lots of those twitter fools said it does not count because Endurance racing is not popular or its inferior to F1.

I just want to facepalm.
 
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Not to mention the disrespect they have for a lot of teams.

I mentioned how Sauber actually won Lemans alongside Mercedes even promoted numerous talented drivers rather than pay drivers sponsored by corporates like redbull. Thats what caused the split between redbull and sauber as Peter Sauber wanted to promote Kimi Raikonen over drivers recommended by Redbull.

Lots of those twitter fools said it does not count because Endurance racing is not popular or its inferior to F1.

I just want to facepalm.
I agree. That's why I hardly ever go on Twitter/X.

As for the Sauber/Red Bull split, considering, at the time, the alternative was one Enrique Bernoldi, and we all know how he turned out as an F1 Driver. Holding up DC at Monaco was about the most notable thing he ever did in F1.
 
The Mitsubishi Lancer Evo WRC certainly merits a place on this thread.

Case in point:

After 10 Rounds of the 2001 World Rally Championship, Tommi Makinen was tied with Colin McRae on 3 Wins and 40 points apiece with McRae ahead on countback and both looked the favourites for the title. For the Sanremo Rally, Mitsubishi introduced the Lancer Evo WRC and it was...A DISASTER! Makinen scored just 1 point in the last 4 rounds and slipped to 3rd in the Driver's Championship and Mitsubishi were lucky not to be overtaken by Subaru for 3rd in the Manufacturer's Championship.

By the end of 2002, the Lancer Evo WRC was still yet to score a podium and Mitsubishi had slipped to rock bottom on countback, sitting out 2003 (though Ralliart entered privateer Lancers in a few rallies) and returning in 2004 did nothing to change this. Podiums were finally secured in the first and final rounds of the 2005 season along with more regular point-scoring but it was only good enough for Mitsubishi to improve to 2nd-to-last ahead of Skoda.

Mitsubishi Lancers secured a 3-4 at Sweden in 2006 and continued to pick up the odd point here and there (mainly as Production WRC entries) until the end of the 2011 Season.
 
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Marcus Gronholm hitting a rock and rolling on the first leg of the 2006 Rally Australia. With Sebastien Loeb out of action due to injury, a 3rd WRC Title should have been there for the taking.
 
Hamilton in 2021 ultimately lost the title due to numerous mistakes:
  • Going straight to the gravel in Imola, gifting Verstappen the win (if Hamilton was ever in contention)
  • Engaging "brake magic" in Baku, locking up and going straight in the restart.
  • Staying out for the Hungary restart, being the only driver to start on intermediates, only to pit that lap for slicks.
 
McRae, Wales rally GB 2001, pushed too hard to build a gap when he just needed to maintain his lead to win the championship. Also heartbreaking.

Ferrari F1 team 2017-2022.

Michael Masi.

WRC getting rid of World Rally Car regulations.
 
Mitsubishi switching to the Lancer Evo WRC towards the end of 2001. Tommi Makinen was looking good for a 5th title until that thing arrived!
 
I don't think a driver having a standard crash really constitutes "Failure of Motorsport"
Well, failure or simple mistake, it was still costly to Gronholm in the long run as he threw away a 3rd WRC title that otherwise was his to lose in Sebastien Loeb's injury-induced absence.
 
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Mercedes CLR

Aston Martin AMR One

Ferrari 575 GTC

Why the Ferrari 575 GTC because Ferrari was so out of place when it came to sportscar racing. They rejected the 550 GTS since the 550 GTS from Prodrive became successful they tried to make their own version with the 575M. Good thing Ferrari learnt their lesson with the Maserati MC12 GT1.
 
The Mitsubishi Lancer Evo WRC certainly merits a place on this thread.

Case in point:

After 10 Rounds of the 2001 World Rally Championship, Tommi Makinen was tied with Colin McRae on 3 Wins and 40 points apiece with McRae ahead on countback and both looked the favourites for the title. For the Sanremo Rally, Mitsubishi introduced the Lancer Evo WRC and it was...A DISASTER! Makinen scored just 1 point in the last 4 rounds and slipped to 3rd in the Driver's Championship and Mitsubishi were lucky not to be overtaken by Subaru for 3rd in the Manufacturer's Championship.

By the end of 2002, the Lancer Evo WRC was still yet to score a podium and Mitsubishi had slipped to rock bottom on countback, sitting out 2003 (though Ralliart entered privateer Lancers in a few rallies) and returning in 2004 did nothing to change this. Podiums were finally secured in the first and final rounds of the 2005 season along with more regular point-scoring but it was only good enough for Mitsubishi to improve to 2nd-to-last ahead of Skoda.

Ralliart continued to run the Lancer WRC sporadically in 2006 and 2007 but only one further podium was achieved at Sweden in 2006.
Anything I've left out?
 
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