Teams and cars in Formula One have come and gone and continue to do so having left little to no impression whatsoever. However, there would be one car that would make quite an impression, and yet, would vanish from the Formula One scene almost as quickly as any car fielded by a team now far removed from grand prix memory. Unmistakably fast, the car would be known as the Shadow DN5. Yet, despite being fast, the car would vanish from the scene as fast as light dispersing the long dark shadows of night.
Shadow's history actually begins in 1971 when Don Nichols founded Advanced Vehicle Systems. Initially, the company would focus on the powerful Can-Am series. With cars designed by Trevor Harris, Nichols' company would first compete in Can-Am racing under the team name of Shadow Racing Inc. The reason behind the name would be mostly a ploy, on Nichols' behalf, taking advantage of the rumors that circulated around him and his business interests.
By the 1974 season, Shadow had become the most dominant team in Can-Am racing, although this was largely the result of Shadow competing against mostly privateer entries with Porsche and McLaren having pulled out the series already.
Recognizing Can-Am's future was very much in doubt, Nichols began to switch his focus over to Formula One. Securing sponsorship through UOP, Nichols would hire the talents of Tony Southgate and would begin preparing for entering Formula One at the start of the 1973 season. Shadow would hire Jackie Oliver and George Follmer to drive for the factory team while Shadow would also make another of its first Formula One chassis, the DN1 available to Graham Hill and his new Embassy Hill team.
The Shadow team would make its debut at the Grand Prix of South Africa. Jackie Oliver would be the highest starter of the team as he would post a qualifying effort of 1:17.16 around the Kyalami circuit. This time would be nearly a second and a half slower than Denny Hulme's pole-position. The result would be that Oliver would find himself down in the sixth row of the grid in the 14th position overall. George Follmer would find himself on the ninth row of the grid in the 21st starting position.
Although Oliver would start better than Follmer, it would be the lower starter that would manage to make it through to the finish. Oliver's race would come to an end with a failed engine. Follmer, however, would carry on. Though he would end up 2 laps down at the end, he would finish the race in 6th position scoring a single point in the team's Formula One debut.
The Embassy-Hill team would never really get off the ground with the Shadow chassis as a result of the tragic airplane accident that would take the life of the team's owner Graham Hill. This would be a bit disappointing for Shadow as the company would not get the extra funds from Hill's team competing year after year. Still, Graham's team would take delivery of a couple of Shadow DN1s and would be finished in the white and red livery.
Tragedy would continue to come Shadow's way in 1974. Heading into that season Shadow had designed, built and developed its new DN3 chassis for use by its two new drivers. For 1974, Shadow would hire a couple of very talented drivers. Peter Revson had more than proven himself in Can-Am racing while Jean-Pierre Jarier had shown himself to be incredibly fast at the wheel of a racing car. It seemed Shadow had all of the necessary elements to make a strong run in the World Championship.
When Shadow made the decision to enter Formula One, Nichols established a shop in England and hired Tony Southgate to design a competitive car. Southgate would set to work creating a simple, yet, competitive car. The DN1 would be just that, but it also suffered from teething issues that made it relatively unreliable. Therefore, Southgate would merely build upon his design in the DN1 and would focus on making the follow-up model, the DN3, much more reliable.
The Shadow DN1 would sport a very low-slung, and wide, nose. The profile of the nose would see it gradually step up in design as the lines of the car travelled aft. This would give the car a lovely cascading look to it head-on. The bodywork surrounding the tight cockpit would fall steeply before contouring into the top lines of the car's monocoque structure. The lines of the car would then contour downward once again heading to the very low nose.
Given the incredibly low position of the nose, Southgate realized he had an opportunity. While the DN3 would sport a different airbox arrangement than that which adorned the DN1 the most dramatic and noticeable change between the two chassis would come all the way up on the nose of the car.
The low position of the nose meant a rather minimal effect on airflow, especially with the flat, low design. Southgate proposed to take advantage of this and it would display prominently on the DN3.
Keeping the long protruded flat nose, Souhgate would propose to position the radiator within the nose, slanted at a steep angle to help keep the flat, low profile. This would allow the oil coolers to be positioned in the small sidepods, and therefore, removed from the aft mounting position behind the engine like most other teams.
The presence of the radiator in the nose would see the profile enlarge, but only slightly. Southgate would also fashion a deep slot in behind the radiator in the bodywork to help extract the air flowing through the radiator to both help reduce the pile-up of air trying to fly into the radiator vent opening at the front, but also, to help increase downforce a small degree as a result of the air being sucked through the radiator inlet.
Other than the change at the nose of the car, the rest of the car would remain quite similar to that of its predecessor. The car would still sport the clean, beautifully blended and flowing lines that connected from nose to tail. Powered by a 465bhp Cosworth DFV V8 engine, Southgate, and the rest of those at Shadow, believed they had the car and the drivers capable of competing for top positions.
Things certainly started out well for the team with the new car. At the first race of the 1974 season, the Argentine Grand Prix, Peter Revson would put his DN3 4th on the grid. Jarier would be at the wheel of an older DN1 and would be nearly 3 seconds off the pace. Therefore, he would start the race from 16th place on the grid.
Despite the strong starting position for Revson, both of the Shadow drivers would find themselves out the race within a lap of each other when mechanical issues led to each driver sliding off the circuit and crashing out of the race. Unfortunately, this would be merely a foreshadowing of what was to come in South Africa at the end of March.
The Grand Prix of South Africa would be the third round of the Formula One World Championship for 1974 and the race would mark the anniversary of Shadow's first appearance in Formula One. Unfortunately, it would be an anniversary Shadow would deeply want to forget.
Revson would be at the wheel of his DN3 while Jarier would finally have his DN3 to compete with. In practice, Revson was looking strong once again. Then, suddenly, around a fast right-hander, the car would go straight off the circuit plowing into a barrier and catapulting over the top before bursting into flames. Revson would be extracted but, a few hours later, would be declared dead. Shadow would pull out of the race.
Shadow had expected Revson to take them to new heights. However, with his death, Shadow floundered. This was more than obvious looking at the team's performances over the course of the remainder of the year. The only notable exception would be Jarier's incredible 3rd place result at the Monaco Grand Prix toward the end of May that year.
Brian Redman had been hired to take over Revson's seat. Later on in the 1974 season Tom Pryce would be hired as one of Shadow's drivers. Pryce would be strong in the DN3 and would help the team to score some valuable championship points over the last portion of the season.
Shadow had intended upon Revson being the one that helped the team become a serious contender. In Tom Pryce, Shadow would find a talented replacement, capable of extracting the most out of a car. Southgate would set to work providing Pryce and Jarier a car that would enable them to extract the most and improve all the more.
Southgate would set to work on the DN5. The basics appeared to be there with the DN3, and so, Tony would focus on making the existing chassis even better. While reliability was certainly going to be one of the focuses, out-right pace would be of great importance as well.
Beginning at the nose of the car, Southgate made some interesting revisions for the DN5. The low, flat protruding lip design would be replaced with a shallow rectangular profiled opening for the radiator inlet. The overall profile of the nose would remain flat and low and, in fact, would be flat all the way across compared to the contoured design featured on the DN3. Of course the deep channel cut-out would remain on the DN5 to help with airflow through the radiator.
The overall wide, flat nose, even around the front suspension, would remain. However, the front suspension arrangement and design would change. The DN3 feature a contoured piece of bodywork meant to help smooth airflow in the region around where the coil-spring mounted to the top of the chassis. The DN5, however, would feature a design bodywork boasting of what appeared like ears that had a leading edge with just a small amount of dihedral. This bodywork did not wrap over top of the coil attachment point like the DN3. In fact, the upper wishbone would extend inward toward the vertically-mounted coil spring that was now hidden right inside the bodywork. The wishbone travel was achieved by a swivel joint located about halfway out toward the wheel.
The bodywork over the monocoque structure would remain very low to the ground, even as it traveled aft along the car. Therefore, the bodywork surrounding the cockpit would be steeply-contoured, even more so than had been utilized on the DN1 and DN3.
The cockpit itself would be rather similar to the Pryce and Jarier. They would find they had the same Hewland FL 200 5-speed manual gearbox and a V8 Cosworth DFV engine at their disposal.
Aft of the cockpit, more would be changed on the DN5. A large, tall airbox would be designed for use with the car. But the bodywork covering the Cosworth engine would be limited to the airbox mating with the top of the engine where the inlet pipes resided. This airbox would see different manifestations over the course of the 1975 season. Besides the tall airbox, a wing-like airbox extending out to either side of the cockpit would also be employed at times. However, the rear of the car would remain wide open. This would help with cooling and would allow for the small radiator positioned in the nose of the car.
The rear of the car would find the two large exhaust pipes angling upwards as they exited out underneath the rear wing. Southgate would then follow another popular feature at the time. The car would feature four-wheel disc brakes. However, at the rear of the car the disc brakes would be mounted inboard of the wheel. The ducting to help direct cooler air to help cool the brakes when then be positioned in the airstream between the engine and the rear wheels.
The overall low profile of the car helped to maintain a low center of gravity. This would give the car good handling characteristics which, in turn, fostered confidence within the driver they could push the car to the edge of its limits.
That confidence would turn into speed. The first race for the DN5 would be in the hands of Jarier at the 1975 Argentine Grand Prix. While Pryce would be forced to deal with a DN3 running around the middle of the pack, Jarier would be powering his DN5 to the pole beating Carlos Pace in his Brabham-Cosworth by nearly four-tenths of a second. Unfortunately, all of the excitement would be muted when Jarier failed to take his pole position as a result of a transmission failure on the warmup lap.
At the next round of the World Championship, the Brazilian Grand Prix, Jarier would prove the pole in Argentina wasn't a fluke by taking a second pole in a row beating Emerson Fittipaldi by nearly a second. Pryce, still having to deal with an older DN3, would find himself all the way down in 14th position on the grid.
This time, Jarier would be able to take his position on the pole and would even lead the vast majority of the race before a fuel system failure would take him out of the running. Pryce would find his race to be even worse when he retired as a result of an accident after 31 laps.
Pryce would finally take delivery of his DN5 before the South African Grand Prix. From then on, the two Shadow drivers would continue to show the pace of the DN5. Pryce would qualify 2nd and Jarier 3rd for the Monaco Grand Prix. Pryce would earn pole-position for the British Grand Prix and would score better results than Jarier over the course of the season.
After starting out the season with the DN3, Pryce would take advantage of the new DN5 to earn a number of good results. The best he would achieve during the 1974 season was one 6th place result in the German Grand Prix. However, in 1975, he would score 6th place finishes in the Belgian, Netherlands and Italian Grand Prix. In addition to those points-paying results, Pryce would finish the German Grand Prix in 4th place and would earn a podium finish with a 3rd place in the Austrian Grand Prix. All told, Pryce would earn 8 World Championship points and would end up 10th in the points standings in what was Shadow's third year of existence.
The 1975 season would prove to be not as successful as the previous year for Jean-Pierre Jarier. Where Jarier would score a 3rd place result at the Monaco Grand Prix in the DN3, the DN5 would prove to be a letdown for him. Over the course of the fourteen rounds of the World Championship, Jarier would suffer no less than nine retirements at the wheel of the DN5.
Despite Jarier's struggles, the DN5 would kickoff and cap what was to be Shadow's most successful period in its short Formula One history. Shadow's history in Formula One, however, would be marked by seemingly endless tragedy. And, after the tragic and horrific death of Pryce at Kyalami, the same place in which Revson had met his death, Shadow's days in Formula One were clearly numbered.
The DN5 would take Shadow to the front of the field. The car would help the team to forget its early tragedies and focus on beating the competition. Unfortunately, the DN5 would come to symbolize the best sustained period in Shadow's Formula One history. But, just as quickly as the chassis models would come and go, so too would Shadow's presence in Formula One history. The DN5, therefore, would only manage to live on in historic events and grand prix.Sources:
'1974 Shadow DN3 News, Pictures and Information', (http://www.conceptcarz.com/z19702/Shadow-DN3.aspx). Conceptcarz.com: From Concept to Production. http://www.conceptcarz.com/z19702/Shadow-DN3.aspx. Retrieved 19 December 2012.
'Manufacturers/USA/Shadow', (http://histomobile.com/history.php?id=2865901). Histomobile.com. http://histomobile.com/history.php?id=2865901. Retrieved 19 December 2012.
'Shadow DN3 Cosworth', (http://www.ultimatecarpage.com/car/2573/Shadow-DN3-Cosworth.html). Ultimatecarpage.com: Powered by Knowledge, Driven by Passion. http://www.ultimatecarpage.com/car/2573/Shadow-DN3-Cosworth.html. Retrieved 19 December 2012.
Wikipedia contributors, 'Shadow Racing Cars', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 1 December 2012, 07:34 UTC, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Shadow_Racing_Cars&oldid=525825797 accessed 19 December 2012
Wikipedia contributors, 'Shadow DN5', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 24 November 2012, 10:58 UTC, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Shadow_DN5&oldid=524629862 accessed 19 December 2012
'1975 World Drivers Championship', (http://www.silhouet.com/motorsport/archive/f1/1975/f175.html). 1975 World Drivers Championship. http://www.silhouet.com/motorsport/archive/f1/1975/f175.html. Retrieved 19 December 2012.
'Results: 1975', (http://www.manipef1.com/results/1975/). ManipeF1. http://www.manipef1.com/results/1975/. Retrieved 19 December 2012.By Jeremy McMullen