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Brabham BT3   (1962)

The Brabham Racing Organisation was a Formula One racing team founded by Jack Brabham and Ron Tauranac. It was the only Australian team ever to carry a World Champion to victory, and the last team run by the driver to win a Formula One world championship.

Founded in 1961, the team saw Jack Brabham act as primary driver and Tauranac designing and engineering the cars. The cars type designations began accordingly with BT. The team debuted at the 1962 German Grand Prix, with a car powered by an 8 cylinder Coventry Climax engine. It was not an auspicious debut, Jack only managing a ninth place. A newly introduced engine limit in Formula One of 1.5 litres did not suit Brabham and he did not win a single race with a 1.5 litre car, although his first team win came in 1964 with Dan Gurney at the French Grand Prix. In 1966 a new 3 litre formula was created. It proved to be a transitional year for most teams. While Ferrari and BRM struggled with their new engines—and Lotus struggled just to find a reliable powerplant—the big winner was the Brabham team, which took victory two years in a row with the stock-derived Repco unit. With no more than 330bhp, the Repco was by far the least powerful of the new 3 litre engines but unlike the others it was light and reliable. Jack Brabham, World Champion of 1959 and 1960, won his third title in 1966 and became the first driver to win the Formula One World Championship in a car that carried his own name. In 1967 the title went to his teammate Denny Hulme. Attempts were made to fit DOHC and 4-valve per-cylinders to the Repco V8 in 1968 and 1969 but this turned in a disaster as the stock block was unable to sustain the increase in power. The Cosworth DFV was used after 1969.

After retiring in 1970, Brabham made a complete break from racing, selling his interest in the team to Ron Tauranac in 1970/1971 and returning to Australia. Brabham cars in this period were of fairly conservative design, although the 'lobster claw' BT23 had a novel split front spoiler with integrated radiators. The car was notable for giving Graham Hill his last Formula One victory in the 1971 International Trophy at Silverstone.


Brabham BT33   (1970)

Taurananc did not enjoy the responsibility of running the whole team and sold the team to Bernie Ecclestone in 1972, staying on a designer for a while before being fired in favour of Ralph Bellamy. Ecclestone signed Carlos Reutemann to drive alongside veteran and two-time World Champion Graham Hill for the 1972 season. At the first race, in front of his home crowd at Buenos Aires, Reutemann qualified his Brabham BT34 on pole position (teammate Hill qualified 16th). He finished the race in seventh after having to pit to replace his soft tires, and the main highlight for the rest of the year was his win in the non-Championship Interlagos Grand Prix.

For 1973 Ecclestone put a young South African Engineer as chief designer, namely Gordon Murray - a partnership that would bring great success to the team. Teamed with Brazilian Wilson Fittipaldi for the 1973 season, Reutemann scored two podium finishes and seventh in the Driver's Championship.

In the mid 1970s the team raced in the white colours of Martini, Carlos Reutemann and Carlos Pace achieving some successes with the Brabham Ford BT44.

Brabham BT34  concept (1971)

For 1974, the Gordon Murray-designed Brabham BT44 was a vast improvement and the team finished a close fifth in the Constructor's Championship. Reutemann took the first three victories of his F1 career at South Africa, Austria and the United States. Though Reutemann matched Driver's Champion Emerson Fittipaldi's win total, inconsistent performances in the other races left him sixth in the season standings.

Five podium finishes in 1975, including a dominant win in Germany at the old Nürburgring, allowed Reutemann to place third in that year's Championship. The Brabham team switched to the Alfa Romeo flat-12 engine for 1976 and suffered from serious reliability problems, seemingly sapping Reutemann's fragile motivation. He negotiated a release from his Brabham contract to sign with Ferrari.

In 1978 the team drove under the name Parmalat Racing team. With sponsorship from the Italian dairy products company the world champion Niki Lauda was brought to the team, the red cap with the Parmalat Logo becoming the brand name of the Austrian. Flat-12 engines from Alfa Romeo were used.

Brabham BT37  concept (1972)

Between 1973 and 1985 Murray’s Brabhams scored 22 Grand Prix wins, finished 2nd in Constructors’ Championship in 1975 and 1981 and gave Nelson Piquet two of his three World Championships, in 1981 and 1983. The latter, powered by a BMW 4-cylinder turbo was the first championship win for a turbo-powered car. In 1978 Murray had come up with the 'Fancar', which won its only race, before being banned.


Brabham BT49C  concept (1981)

In 1986 the long and low BT55, with its BMW four-cylinder engine installed tilted over to the side excited much attention. The vehicle proved however too problematic to develop. Elio de Angelis also suffered a fatal accident in testing the car. Murray produced a very successful car along similar lines when he moved to Team McLaren in 1988.


Brabham BT59  concept (1990)

Having bought the team for approximately $120,000, Ecclestone eventually sold it for over $5 million.

The team missed the 1988 season, due to financial difficulties.

Middlebridge racing bought the team in 1990.

Brabham BT59Y  concept (1991)

The team used Yamaha engines in 1991.

Jack's youngest son David Brabham raced for the team for a short time in 1990.

Giovanna Amati, the last woman to attempt to race in Formula One tried to qualify the car for the first few races of the 1992 season, but could not drag the car onto the grid.

Brabham BT60Y  concept (1991)

1996 World Champion Damon Hill began his Formula One career with Brabham in 1992, shortly before the team folded in the middle of the season.

Idea and design © 1999-2016 van Damme Stéphane.

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