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Formula 1 Car Reverse Engineered

BMS have 3D modelled the Ensign MN180B Formula 1 race car from 1982. This is a joint project between BMS Design Ltd, FARO UK and the National Centre of Motorsport Engineering (NCME) based at Bolton University.

The University require a highly accurate CAD model of the race car so that students can research the cars theoretical aero dynamics and then compare these results to real life wind tunnel results gaining priceless experience in the world of aero dynamics and of course reverse engineering.

The race car was scanned with a FARO laser scanner to capture the scan data which is then exported in .stl format with is than converted into a parametric 3D CAD model. The CAD model can then be compared to the original scan data to analyse the deviation between the two in order to shore the accuracy of the CAD model relative to the SCAN data.

BMS spent 45 hours modelling the race can to ensure all relevant parts were considered especially parts you can’t always see like the floor and air ducts, all items are critical, event at 30mph cyclist can measure gains from simply wearing smooth shoe covers and shaving their legs so imagine the difference it would make at 190mph for over 1 hour of even 24 hours of racing… Efficient aero dynamics are critical to any race, road and rally car. Go faster, further and on less fuel…. Its green to be aerodynamic.

BMS specialise in converting 3D scan date into 3D cad models for across most industries. Dan Boardman MD has a long history in Motorsport Engineering, from designing formula student vehicles, the TVR Sagaris to building various race and rally cars and competing in international rallying so this was a very appealing project.

For any 3D Scanning enquiries please contact or 01565 325005


Ensign was a Formula One constructor from Britain. They participated in 133 grands prix, entering a total of 155 cars. Ensign scored 19 championship points and no podium finishes. The best result was a 4th place at the 1981 Brazilian Grand Prix by Marc Surer, who also took fastest lap of the race.

Ensign was founded by Morris Nunn who also carried out design duties during the first two seasons of the team's existence. Nunn would later go on to be a prominent chief engineer in the American-based Champ Car series, winning championships with drivers Alex Zanardi and Juan Pablo Montoya in the late 1990s.

Marc Surer raced for Ensign in 1981 and finished in fourth place in Brazil where he also took fastest lap of the race. Surer also finished sixth in Monaco. Eliseo Salazar replaced Surer from Spain onwards. Salazar finished sixth in the Netherlands. In 1982 Roberto Guerrero raced for Ensign. He only finished in two races.

Meanwhile, the team was also involved in the last year of British F1 Championship, winning the championship with the old MN180B Cars and Jim Crawford as driver.

After the 1982 season, Ensign was merged into the Theodore team, which it had previous ties to via financier Teddy Yip and took that team's name. During many seasons, the connection between Ensign and Theodore was so great that in some years they used almost the same car, much as Red Bull Racing has a second but separate team, Toro Rosso, in more recent times.

Ensign driver Roberto Guerrero continued on with the newly merged team for 1983, as did the team's main car designer. The Theodore F1 team did not last the 1983 season, though, and shut down late in the year.

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