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JUNE 11, 2005

Hayes to NASCAR

The word on the street in NASCAR circles is that former Cosworth F1 engine designer Nick Hayes is to work on engine development for the Hendrick Motorsport team in the Nextel Cup. Hendrick runs five Chevrolet Monte Carlos in the Nextel Cup for Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Brian Vickers and Terry Labonte and supplies engines to two other teams. In addition the Charlotte-based operation tunes engines for the Busch Series. The organisation gets through around 700 engines a year and employs 82 people.

Hendrick lost its engine chief last November when Randy Dorton was killed in a plane crash near Martinsville. The team has been looking for a replacement ever since and Hayes would be a good bet as he has huge experience with V8 engine development, having worked at Cosworth since 1984.

Hayes was technical director of Cosworth until July last year when it was decided to reshuffle the management. The 45-year-old worked in aero-engine design with Rolls Royce until 1984 when he joined Cosworth. At the time the firm had taken the decision to finance a Cosworth-designed V6 turbo Formula 1 engine. Unfortunately the engine was late arriving and the FIA decided to change the F1 regulations and so new plans were laid for a new normally-aspirated V8 F1 engine and a three-year deal was agreed with Benetton for the 1987-1990 period. Hayes worked as the liaison engineer between Cosworth and the team but gradually found himself drawn towards engine design. Under the guidance of Cosworth's chief designer Geoff Goddard, Hayes became one of Cosworth's top designers. He worked on a series of different V8 engines leading up to the HB with which Michael Schumacher won the F1 World Championship in 1994. This was followed by a V12 design study, the V8 Zetec-R before Cosworth followed the F1 trend in 1999 and designed a V10 engine.