If you’ve visited the museum, you may have seen our FW10 F1 racecar. And while there is a mini-description featured on its plaque, here is a bit more of the history behind this historic race car featured at #TheMarconi.

Nigel Mansell and Keke Rosberg drove Frank Williams’ FW10 Formula One car with a Honda RA165E engine. The FW10 was introduced in 1985 and became an instantaneous hit with both Mansell and Rosberg. The car was easier to handle and maneuver through tracks, both drivers expressed their pleasure in its “smoother power delivery.”

The FW10 was the first Williams car to wear the attractive Yellow-Blue-White wrapping. These markings would become characteristic of the Williams team until the end of the ’93 season. In previous years, the Formula One markings were consistently white with British Racing Green colored sign writing.  

Nigel Mansell’s Formula One racing spanned through 15 seasons with 31 victories and is ranked as the second most successful British Formula One driver; seventh overall on the Formula One race winners list.  His final two full seasons of top-level racing was spent in the Indy CART (Championship Auto Racing Teams) series.

Mansell became the first driver to win the Formula One Championship (1992) and CART Indy Car World Series (1993) simultaneously. He was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2005, and in 2008 ESPN ranked Mansell number 9 out of 50 of the greatest F1 drivers of all time. 

Nigel’s Williams teammate Keke Rosberg was the first Finnish driver to race in F1 racing. Rosberg had a late start into his career as an F1 racer, entering at the ripe age of 29-years-old. He began in the then “feeder” series Formula Vee, Formula Atlantic and Formula Two into Formula One racing. His first F1 race on the Theodore team caught attention after a majestic drive in the non-championship BRDC International Trophy at Silverstone.

Rosberg’s first unforgettable season came after a series of misfortune from other popular and reliable racing teams. Ferrari’s season was tainted by the death of driver Gilles Villeneuve at Zolder. KeKe’s consistency throughout the 1982 season won him his first Drivers’ Championship.  The win was especially fantastic because Rosberg won with the outdated and out-matched Ford DFY V8 engine, that 1982 season win would be the last World Championship win for the Cosworth DFV engine.

Autosport magazine picked the FW10 for “racing car of the year.” After Nigel Mansell joined the Williams team and drove the FW10, he won his first Grand Prix at Brands Hatch for the European Grand Prix, and then immediately scored another win at Kyalami in South Africa. Keke Rosberg was the first Formula One driver that broke the 160 mph barrier for a qualifying lap. He lapped the 2.932 miles (4.719 km) circuit in his Honda-powered FW10 in 1:05:591, an average speed of 160.9 mph (258.9 km/h).

The FW10 acted as an important stepping stone into the 1986 and 1987 season for the Willaims team and separated Nigel Mansell and KeKe Rosberg from the rest of the Formula One drivers.

Come check it out by visiting The Marconi located in Tustin, Calif.

The Marconi Automotive Museum is a class 501 ©(3) nonprofit located in the heart of Orange County. A portion of the net proceeds from booked events goes to various at-risk children charities throughout Southern California. We are open to the public for museum visitors Monday through Friday 9:00am – 4:30pm, double check ourevent calendar before visiting.

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