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. (July 2017)
The company was founded as a British racing internal combustion engine maker in 1958 by Mike Costin and Keith Duckworth. Its company name: 'Cosworth', was derived as a portmanteau of the surnames of its two founders (COStin and duckWORTH).
Both of the co-founders were former employees of Lotus Engineering Ltd., and Cosworth initially maintained a strong relationship with Colin Chapman; and initial revenues of the company came almost exclusively from Lotus. When the company was founded in 1958, Duckworth left Lotus, leaving Costin (who had signed a term-employment contract with Chapman) at the company. Until 1962, Costin worked on Cosworth projects in his private time, while being active as a key Lotus engineer on the development of Lotus 15 through 26 (Elan), as well as leading the Team Lotus contingent at foreign races, as evidenced by the 1962 Le Mans Lotus scandal.
Initial series production engines (Mk.II, Mk.V, Mk.VIII, and Mk.XIV) were sold to Lotus exclusively, and many of the other racing engines up to Mk.XII were delivered to Team Lotus. The success of Formula Junior engines (Mk.III, IV, XI, and XVII) started bringing in non-Lotus revenues, and the establishment of Formula B by the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) allowed the financial foundation of Cosworth to be secured by the increased sales of Mk.XIII, a pure racing engine based on Lotus TwinCam, through its domination of the class. This newly found security enabled the company to distance itself from the Lotus Mk.VII and Elan optional road engine assembly business, and allowed its resources to be concentrated on racing engine development.
The first Cosworth-designed cylinder head was for SCA series; with a single overhead camshaft (SOHC) reverse-flow configuration, similar to the Coventry Climax FWE engine. A real success was achieved with the next gear-driven double overhead camshaft (DOHC) four-valve FVA in 1966, when Cosworth, with a help from Chapman, convinced Ford to purchase the rights to the design, and sign a development contract – including an eight-cylinder version. This resulted in the DFV, which dominated Formula One for many years.
From this time on, Cosworth was supported by Ford for many years, and many of the Cosworth designs were owned by Ford and named as Ford engines under similar contracts. Another success by the BD series in the 1970s put Cosworth on a growing track.
Cosworth then went through a number of ownership changes. After Duckworth decided he didn't want to be involved with the day-to-day business of running a growing company, he sold out the ownership to United Engineering Industries (UEI) in 1980, retaining his life presidency and day-to-day technical involvement with Cosworth, and becoming a UEI board director; UEI was a group of small to medium-sized technology companies, which was taken over by Carlton Communications in 1988 – Carlton was primarily interested in some of the audio-visual companies in the UEI portfolio, and Cosworth was a poor fit with these; a new buyer for the company in the engineering/automotive sector was sought, and the traditional engineering company Vickers plc bought Cosworth in 1990. In 1998, Vickers sold Cosworth and
Pi Research to Ford. In September, 2004 Ford announced that it was selling Cosworth and Pi Research, along with Cosworth Racing Ltd, and its Jaguar Formula One team. On 15 November 2004, the sale of Cosworth was completed, to Champ Car World Series owners Gerald Forsythe and Kevin Kalkhoven, the current Cosworth Group.
The road car engine aspect of the business was split from the racing division, following the sale of the engineering division of Cosworth to Volkswagen / Audi Group in September 1998, and renamed Cosworth Technology, before being subsequently acquired by Mahle GmbH in 2005. Cosworth Technology was then renamed as MAHLE Powertrain on 1 July 2005.
Since 2006, Cosworth has diversified to provide engineering consultancy, high performance electronics, and component manufacture services outside of its classic motorsport customer base. Current publicised projects range from an 80 cubic centimetres (4.9 cu in) diesel engine for unmanned aerial vehicles, through to an engineering partnership on some of the world's most powerful normally aspirated road car engines, including upcoming Aston Martin Valkyrie 1000+bhp V12.
Cosworth supplied its last premier class racing engines to one F1 team in 2013, the Marussia F1 Team.