Since it was formed in 1958 by Mike Costin and Keith Duckworth, Cosworth has become the most successful independent engine manufacturer in history as well as one of the market leaders in performance electronics, with a string of driver and manufacturer titles to its credit in a wide range of formulae with impressive performances in Formula One, IndyCar, Champ Car, WRC, sportscars and MotoGP.
In the beginning
Cosworth began life in a small workshop in London in 1958. However, things quickly grew and a move to larger premises was soon required. The company moved to north London, where it began working on the development of the Ford 105E engine. Cosworth actually achieved its first victory when Jim Clark took a win in the Formula Junior category in his Lotus 18 at Goodwood in 1960.
The classic motorsport era
By the mid 1960s, the company had moved to Northampton where bigger prospects were around the corner. In 1966, Duckworth signed a contract with Ford to develop a new three-litre Formula One engine, and the legendary DFV was born. It got its first taste of victory in 1967, when Jim Clark again provided the maiden victory at the Dutch Grand Prix. The DFV, in subsequent development guises, went on to dominate the sport for 15 years and clinched 155 race wins during that time.
A host of famous names benefited from Costin and Duckworth's approach in Formula One. Jackie Stewart, Emerson Fittipaldi, Mario Andretti, James Hunt and Nelson Piquet all took championships using Cosworth engines during the 1970s.
The 1980s & 1990s
Cosworth's success continued through the 1980's and 1990's in a range of championships around the world. The Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworth and XG V6 powered Mondeo both won the World Touring Car Championship and the Zetec-V8 F1 engine powered Michael Schumacher to his first world championship title. In North America the DFX and XB engines dominated the CART/Indy formula leading to Cosworth receiving the Queen's Award for Export achievement in both 1986 and 1992.
This same period witnessed the spectacular growth of motorsport electronics and the establishment of data recording and analysis as a cornerstone of modern high performance motorsport. In 1987 Cosworth's electronics divison was founded by Tony Purnell under the name Pi Research. The company initially focussed on providing electronic instrumentation for race teams and racecar manufacturers wanting to improve the quality of their data from wind tunnel testing. The extension from wind tunnel data gathering instrumentation to on-car data acquisition systems was the natural progression - and the Pi Research "Black Box" was born.
Used extensively in the North American IndyCar Championship, the Pi Research Black Box was the first electronic dash display and combined data logger to be used in professional motor sport. The success of the product in allowing teams to analyse performance parameters of the car, engine and chassis, as well as providing clear, accurate information for the driver marked a turning point in race car technology and defined the future for motorsport.
In 1989 Pi Research opened a sales and support office in Indianapolis to ensure the best local support for its US customers. Ensuring that customers receive the technical support they need is something that has been a priority for Cosworth's electronic division throughout its 21-year history.
Following further rapid expansion and several relocations, 1998 saw Cosworth's electronic division move to its current home - a purpose-designed facility just north of Cambridge in the UK.
At this time Pi Research acquired Pectel Control Systems to complement its data acquisition technologies with world-class engine and chassis controllers for a wide range of motorsport customers. Development, assembly, sales and technical support of Pectel controller products is now located at the Cambridge site.
The Ford years
Cosworth was bought by Ford in 1998 and the company became works engine suppliers to Stewart Grand Prix and its successor Jaguar Racing. Success also continued in the wider business arena and in 2003 Cosworth was voted the MIA business of the year.
During 1999, Cosworth also opened a facility in Mooresville, NC, to focus on the needs of the American Stock Car market. From this site, Cosworth supplies and services teams in all categories of closed-wheel oval racing from local short track teams to every team at the top level in Cup.
Today's Cosworth Group is formed
In 2004, Cosworth was purchased by Gerry Forsythe and Kevin Kalkhoven, co-owners of the Champ Car World Series (the successor to CART). Under its new ownership and a management team lead by CEO Tim Routsis, Cosworth embarked on a successful diversification strategy, exploiting business opportunities in the Automotive, Aerospace and Defense markets.
In January 2011, the Motorsports Industry Associated (MIA) recognised Cosworth's diversification success with the 2011 New Markets Award. In November 2011, Cosworth's successful diversification into mainstream high value-added manufacturing in the UK was rewarded with the prestigious RBS 2011 Manufacturer Of The Year Award.