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2014 Dewar Trophy awarded to Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains


    Preparations are under way for the announcements of the 2015 Dewar Trophy and Simms Medal winners, which will take place at a presentation ceremony at The Royal Automobile Club in London on 28 October 2015. The Dewar Trophy dates back to 1904, when it was presented to the Royal Automobile Club by Sir Thomas Dewar. Today, the Trophy recognises outstanding British technical achievement in the automotive industry.

    The Simms Medal is an award which recognises a genuine contribution to motoring innovation by individuals or small companies that also exemplify the spirit of adventure. Like the Dewar Trophy, the Simms Medal is awarded only in the years when an example of sufficiently innovative automotive design and/or manufacture has taken place, rather than it being a fixed annual award. Judging for both awards is undertaken by the Dewar Trophy Technical Committee, which is chaired by John Wood MBE. Details of the winners for 2015 will be posted to these pages on Wednesday 28 October.

  • The Dewar Trophy

    The Dewar Trophy was presented to the Royal Automobile Club in 1904 by Sir Thomas Dewar, MP (later Lord Dewar), and was to be awarded at the discretion of the Club’s Technical Committee for the most meritorious performance by an automobile manufacturer in the Certified Trials held by the Club.

    The first recipients of the award in 1906 were Dennis Brothers Limited of Guildford, whose 20hp car covered a distance of 4000 miles. It was awarded 19 times during the years 1906 to 1929, there being some years when it was considered that no performance had been recorded of sufficient merit to warrant the award.

    In 1931 the award was updated to reflect 'the most outstanding technical achievement accomplished during that year under the competition rules of the Club'. No award was made under these new terms, however, until 1950 – when it went to the Rover Company for the production and performance of the Rover Gas Turbine Powered Car.

    The Trophy was not awarded again until 1957, at which time the terms were again changed to those which prevail to this day, namely: 'for an outstanding British technical achievement in the automotive field during the preceding year'.

    The award is held in as high regard today as it was in the earliest years of the 20th century, with recent winners including the JCB Dieselmax world diesel land speed record breaker, Mercedes-Benz High Performance Engines for its Formula One Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS) and Lotus Engineering for its Versatile Vehicle Architecture (VVA) chassis technology.

  • Dewar

    Thomas Robert 'Tommy' Dewar was born in 1864 in Perth, Scotland. His was a relatively privileged background, due to the success of his father’s distillery, John Dewar & Sons, Ltd. He earned his education in Perth, as well as in Edinburgh and, after an unsuccessful attempt at farming, entered the family business.

    After his father's death, ‘Tommy’ worked with his brother at the head of the firm, investing his charisma and business acumen to great effect and making Dewar’s a global success. Visiting 26 countries, over the course of two years, the Dewar's brand was put on the map as one of the premiere Scotch Whiskies. Dewar himself meanwhile kept a journal of his travels which were consolidated and published in the book titled, Ramble Round the Globe, published by Chatto and Windus in 1894.

    With his travelling days behind him, Dewar entered political life; being elected as the Conservative member for Tower Hamlets in 1900. He successfully bred racehorses and sponsored prizes for association football and cycling as well as taking a keen interest in the burgeoning automotive industry and inaugurating the Dewar Trophy.

    Dewar was knighted in 1902, created a Baronet, of Homestall Manor in the Parish of East Grinstead in the County of East Sussex, in 1917 and raised to the peerage as Baron Dewar, of Homestall in the County of Sussex in 1919. He died in 1930, when the baronetcy and barony became extinct.

  • Contact Jemma Rapson

    Email jemma.rapson@royalautomobileclub.co.uk

    Telelphone 01372 229 604

  • The Dewar Trophy Technical Committee has been set up to study automotive engineering excellence and determines if the candidates meet the strict terms of reference for the awarding of the Trophy in a particular year.

    The current members of the Dewar Trophy Technical Committee are:

    John Wood MBE, Chairman (Ex-Chief Executive of MIRA, Previous President of IMechE)

    Charles Armstrong-Wilson (Freelance Journalist specialising in Motorsport)

    Ben Cussons (previous Chairman of the Royal Automobile Club Motoring Committee)

    Karl Ludvigsen (Best-selling Motorsport Author)

    Alec Osborn (Engineering Consultant, Previous President of IMechE)

    Pat Symonds (Chief Technical Officer of Williams F1)


  • The 2014 Dewar Trophy is awarded for outstanding British technical achievement in the automotive industry has been awarded to Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP), for the development of the Formula One world championship-winning Mercedes-Benz PU106A Hybrid power unit.

    This prestigious accolade was presented to Andy Cowell, Managing Director of HPP, along with members of his project team from Brixworth, during a ceremonial lunch at the Royal Automobile Club on Pall Mall, London. The award highlights the continued world-beating excellence of automotive engineering in Britain.

    The Dewar Trophy, which has a lineage of winners dating back to 1906, recognises the best of British engineering in the automotive industry. Previous winners have included Rolls-Royce in 1907 for its 40.5hp engine; Dunlop in 1957 for work developing disc brakes and modern tyres; the British Motor Corporation and Alec Issigonis for the original Mini in 1959; Jaguar in 2003 for its ground-breaking all-aluminium chassis; and the Ford Motor Company for its EcoBoost drivetrain in 2012.

    Awarding the 2014 trophy to HPP was a unanimous decision made by experts on the Dewar Technical Committee, chaired by John Wood MBE. The HPP team was recognised for its development of the most advantageous powertrain within the new Formula One regulations. Its aim was to raise the thermal efficiency from around 29 per cent for the previous normally aspirated 2.4-litre V8 to better than 40 per cent with the new 1.6 litre V6 turbo Hybrid.  Its successful design, research and teamwork resulted in the Mercedes-Benz PU106A Hybrid Power Unit, which has not only been the dominant powertrain in this first season under the Formula One rules, but has also contributed greatly to MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS securing the 2014 FIA Formula OneÔ Constructors’ Championship. It is also arguably the most thermally efficient gasoline powertrain ever produced with a claimed thermal efficiency of greater than 40 per cent.

    Ben Cussons, Chairman of the Motoring Committee of the Royal Automobile Club, said: “We are pleased to recognise outstanding achievements by the British automotive industry. Part of the raison d’être of the Royal Automobile Club has always been the promotion of all things motoring, never more so than in tough economic times. Drawing attention to automotive innovation is an important part of our contribution to this vibrant part of the manufacturing industry. It proves once again that British engineering is world- beating.”

    The Mercedes-Benz PU106A Hybrid Power Unit – designed, developed and built at Brixworth, Northamptonshire by HPP – has proved to be the dominant engine thus far under the new Formula OneÔ engine regulations. This is the second time HPP has been awarded the Dewar Trophy, having previously won in 2009 for its Formula One KERS system. HPP Managing Director Andy Cowell said:

    “It is an honour to accept the Dewar Trophy on behalf of my colleagues at Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains and on behalf of Mercedes-Benz. To have received this prestigious award for the second time is a fitting tribute to the commitment to excellence within our organisation. Our work in the constantly evolving arena of hybrid technology has allowed us to explore an exciting new breed of automotive innovations relevant not only to our performance on the racetrack, but also to the everyday motorist. As a sport, when we took on the challenge of the radical new regulations introduced for the 2014 Formula One season, few could have foreseen that such performance could be achieved so quickly. It is a testament to the industry – and particularly to the hard work of the hundreds of people at Mercedes-Benz – that those incredible efforts over the past three or more years are being recognised today. It gives me great pride to represent and to be a part of such a talented group of individuals, working together as a team to reach new heights in engineering excellence.”

    Previous regulations have concentrated on a simple mechanical limitation such as engine capacity. The challenge to produce the most effective engine was mainly one of flowing as much fuel and air through that engine as possible.  The manufacturer who achieved that could be expected to dominate.  This led to very high-revving engines with limited relevance to road cars.

    The new regulations specify a maximum fuel flow rate, hence the best engine will be the one that obtains the most power from that specified quantity of fuel and thus, for the first time, performance is aligned with thermal efficiency.  The best Formula One engine will be the one that converts energy the most efficiently and this has direct relevance to road car powertrains of tomorrow.

    A traditional rule of thumb decrees that the conventional gasoline engine achieves efficiency of around one third.  In other words, of the energy available in a gallon of petrol, a third is lost as waste heat, another third disappears out of the exhaust with only the remaining third available for useful work. The new Formula One regulations tackle this challenge head-on, particularly by the use of hybrid systems in the form of electrically controlled turbochargers and brake energy recovery.

  • 2014

    Mercedes AMG High Performance Power Trains for the development of its Formula One world championship-winning Mercedes-Benz PU106A Hybrid power unit


    McLaren Automotive - development and launch of its advanced sell-out McLaren P1™ supercar


    Ford Motor Company - development of the 1.0-litre Eco-Boost engine.


    Mercedes-Benz High Performance Engines - Formula One Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS)


    Group Lotus plc - development of its Versatile Vehicle Architecture (VVA) Chassis technology as exemplified in the Lotus Evora sportscar


    The JCB Dieselmax team - development of the world diesel land speed record-breaking ‘JCB DIESELMAX’ streamliner


    Ricardo plc - work on the development of the Dual Clutch Transmission technology as exemplified by the DCT and Active 4WD for the Bugatti Veyron


    Delphi Corporation - development of their twin-floating disc ‘Maximum Torque Brake’ system


    Jaguar Cars - development of the all-aluminium body structure for the new XJ Series


    Ricardo plc - development of its I-MoGen (Intelligent Motor Generator) mild hybrid vehicle


    MIRA, the Motor Industry Research Association - development of the M-SIS, Side Impact Simulation System


    Rover Group Limited - development of the Holovision system to measure and understand the vibration behaviour and their component parts in order to improve vehicle refinement


    Lucas Girling Limited - development of anti-lock braking systems for cars, trucks and motorcycles leading to production of the low cost Stop Control System (SCS) for front wheel drive cars


    BL Technology Limited, and the Design Team led by C S King, CBE - a convincing demonstration of automobile design possibilities providing opportunities for significant energy savings as embodied in the experimental vehicle ECV3


    BL Cars Limited - efficiency in automobile design in respect of the utilisation of interior space and predicted low cost of ownership of the Austin Metro Car


    The Triplex Safety Glass Company Limited - development, manufacture and application to production automobiles of the Ten Twenty safety glass as an outstanding contribution to the safety of automobile occupants


    The Dunlop Company Limited - development of DENOVO fail-safe tyre and wheel system, as an outstanding contribution to road safety


    The British Leyland Motor Corporation (Truck and Bus Division) - design, development and construction of the Leyland National Bus which represents a radical new approach to the development of a public service vehicle incorporating maximum pay-load and security at minimal cost and maintenance


    The British Leyland Motor Corporation, coupled with the name of Mr P M Wilkes - advanced development in Automobile design as exemplified by the Range Rover


    Mr Keith Duckworth, BSc., ACGI, - design of the Ford Formula 1 engine which has retained the supremacy of British engineering in Grand Prix racing


    The Motor Industry Research Association - for carrying out research and initiating development of the load proportioning system of braking to prevent ‘jack-knifing’ of articulated vehicles


    Coventry Climax Engines Limited - for design, development and production of engines which have brought British cars to the forefront of Grand Prix racing


    British Motor Corporation and Alec Issigonis - Advanced development in automobile design, as exemplified by the Morris Mini-Minor and Austin Seven


    G A Vandervell - Design, development, production and performance of the Vanwall car


    The Dunlop Rubber Company Limited - work on disc brakes and research and development of tyres for the M G car, which secured various international speed records


    Sunbeam-Talbot Limited - Performance in 1952 International Alpine Rally


    Jaguar Cars Limited - Performance in four major international events


    The Rover Company Limited - Production and performance of the gas turbine powered car


    Miss V Cordery - Invicta chassis – 30,000 miles


    C B Wardman - Mercedes Benz heavy oil lorry. Consumption and reliability


    Violet Cordery - Invicta Car – 5,000 miles


    Rover Company Limited - 13,96h.p. car. Fifty ascents and descents of Bwlch-y-Groes- Merionethshire


    Rapson Tyre and Jack Company Limited - Rapson cord tyres – 40,000 miles trial


    Armstrong-Siddeley Motors Limited - 10,000 miles trial


    John I Thornycroft and Company Limited – ‘BT’ type lorry


    The National Benzole Company Limited - 10,000 miles trial


    The National Steam Company Limited - National coke fuel motor lorry consumption tests


    F.S. Bennett Limited - 1914 model 32.2hp Cadillac car.


    The Thomas Transmission Limited - 2,000 miles trial of a lorry and London-Edinburgh and back trial of 13.96hp car. Both fitted with Thomas Transmission


    F Edge - 59.9hp Napier. London to Edinburgh and back top-gear trial


    The Daimler Company Limited - Two sleeve-valve engines of 22.8hp and 34.4hp respectively. 132 hours’ bench test and 2,000 miles on Brooklands track


    The Anglo-American Motor Company Limited - Standardisation test of three 10hp Cadillac cars


    Rolls-Royce Limited - 40.50hp Rolls-Royce. 15,000 miles


    Dennis Bros. Limited - 20hp Dennis Car. 4,000 miles

  • How to Apply for 2015

    The Royal Automobile Club is keen to hear from potential contenders for the Dewar Trophy in 2015. The Dewar Trophy, which was first awarded in 1906, goes to an outstanding British technical achievement in the automotive field during the preceding year or one that is known to have reached a significant stage of development, application or utilisation during the year.

    For 2015, entries for the Dewar Trophy are invited in the following categories:

    • Internal combustion engine cycle efficiency improvements
    • Vehicle electronics and electric systems
    • Intelligent transport systems
    • Material developments
    • Safety and sustainability
    • Race car technology


    The Dewar Technical Sub-Committee requires properly authenticated information about British achievements in research, development, design, manufacture, utilisation or performance (or any combination of these). For nomination and submission guidelines, please email Jemma Rapson or telephone 01372 229627. 

    The recipients of the Dewar Trophy will be decided by the seven-man Dewar Technical Sub-Committee, chaired by John Wood, Chairman of the Royal Automobile Club's Awards Sub-Committee, former Chief Executive of MIRA and a past President of the IMechE. The other committee members are:

    • Ben Cussons (Chairman, Royal Automobile Club Motoring Committee)
    • Pat Symonds (Marussia F1 technical consultant)
    • Alec Osborn (Engineering Consultant and past President of the IMechE)
    • Charles Armstrong-Wilson (Freelance Journalist specialising in motor sport)
    • Karl Ludvigsen (Best-selling motor sport author)