Some of you may be surprised, but in the Soviet Union in the 1960s-70s there were Formula 1 and own Formula One Championship. The USSR Formula 1 Championship existed since 1960 till 1976. In 1963-1968 Soviet Formula 1 fully corresponded to FIA Formula 1 regulations. In 1963-65 it was open wheels racing cars with the engines up to 1500 cc, and in 1966-68 the maximum engine displacement was set to 3000 cc (or 1500 cc for supercharged engines) and minimal weight was limited to 500 kg. Since 1969 Soviet F1 became essentially Formula Libre because engines of any volume were allowed. AZLK (Avtomobilny Zavod imeni Leninskogo Komsomola), one of the major Soviet and Russian automobile manufacturer based in Moscow, the maker of the Moskvitch brand, was actively involved in Russian motor sport in 1960s-1980s, especially in rally racing. First Formula Moskvich car was G3 model built in 1961, then in 1963 G4 model followed, and G5 was born five years later. The G5 was designed in 1968 by AZLK designers Igor Gladilin and Mark Milstein. The tubular frame chassis was mated with 4-cylinder 1478 cc engine from Moskvich 412 saloon car. In its developed and improved variant the engine was capable of 112 hp at 6000 rpm. Original five-speed manual gearbox, suspension and disc brakes were specially designed for the G5. In 1969 Soviet Formula 1 Championship consisted of 4 rounds. The races were held at Borovya circuit in Minsk, Belorussia; Bikernieki circuit in Riga, Latvia (twice); and at Nevskoe Koltso circuit in Leningrad, Russia. AZLK team was represented by three drivers – Vadim Rzhechitsky, Viktor Shchavelev (both drove the new G5), and Nikolai Shevchenko who had G4M, a modified version of older G4, at his disposal. It was Shevchenko who brought the only victory to Moskvich team, winning the last round in Leningrad. Previous rounds were won by Madis Laiv (twice) and Yuri Andreev in Estonia single-seaters. However the 1969 Champion’s title was in the pocket of AZLK driver Rzhechitsky, who finished every race on podium (twice 2nd and twice 3rd). The G5 was raced in Soviet F1 until 1973 – in its original form (in 1969-72), and in developed G5-M version powered by 124 hp 1840 cc in 1972-73. After their racing career two Moskvich G5 cars were exhibited in AZLK Museum until AZLK closure in 2010. Currently G5 cars are on display at Retro Automobile Museum in Moscow. The scale model from USSR Auto Legends Collection represents one of the cars exhibited in Retro museum.
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