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“Sleeping Beast”

April 5, 2014

Designed by Dave Wass and powered by a BMW straight-4 turbo engine, the Arrows A8 certainly knew how to growl.

Neither a world beater nor even a race winner, the A8 was still monster of a machine.

Competing through the 1985 and 1986 Formula One World Championship seasons (outlasting its disappointing successor, the A9), Arrows managed one podium (Thierry Boutsen at Imola in 1985) and numerous points finishes.

Alas as 1985 aged and development soared, neither Boutsen nor débutante teammate Gerhard Berger could hold pace with the opposition.

Come 1986, the ageing M13 engine was beginning to show some frailties. Admittedly, in the hands of Christian Danner and Marc Surer – capable ad they were – the pairing also marked something of a step down for the Arrows team.

From their podium and four points finishes in 1985 (14 pts), Arrows could manage only a single score in 1986, courtesy of Danner at the mighty and beautiful Oestereichring in Austria.

Arrows took on the Megatron customer engine for 1987 and while A10 chassis, driven by Derek Warrick and Eddie Cheever Jr, took some occasional points finishes, the season remained a struggle overall.

By 1989, the turbos were gone and Formula One became the domain of normally aspirated engines – until now. But for this moment at Goodwood, the Arrows A8 sleeps and while we look upon its technology as aged, one cannot deny the beauty inherent in its voice.

Arrows A8. © Leigh O'Gorman

Arrows A8. © Leigh O’Gorman

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