Aviation’s loss was very much UK motorsport’s gain in the case of Frank Costin and Malcolm Sayer, twin pioneers of applied aerodynamic theory.
Britain’s motor industry may now be a pale shadow of its heyday, but it remains a centre of excellence in motorsport research, development and manufacture. Once derided by Enzo Ferrari as a collection of ‘garagistas’, the UK motorsport business rose to dominance by the ingenuity of visionaries like John Cooper and Colin Chapman, aided by gifted engineers, who could apply inspired theory into race-winning practice.
The British were also amongst the first to realise the importance of taking a scientific approach to airflow management, and it was perhaps the pioneering work of two men, refugees from the world of aviation, which did more to legitimise the study of aerodynamics, as applied to the sports / racing car than any other factor.
In today’s ‘Longer Read’, we profile Frank Costin and Malcolm Sayer, two largely unsung heroes of automotive and motorsport history.