CONSTRUCTORS: BRM (BRITISH RACING MOTORS)
Name: BRM (British Racing Motors)
British Racing Motors was the brainchild of Raymond Mays and was established in 1947 with a base in Bourne, Lincolnshire. The first car - called the Type 15 - was designed by Peter Berthon and featured a supercharged V16 engine. The project suffered from too much advanced publicity and its early failure made it the target for the jokers of motor racing.
The prototype began testing in 1949 and appeared for the first time in the International Trophy at Silverstone in August 1950 with Raymond Mays and Raymond Sommer entered. Mays's car was not ready and Sommer's broke at the start of his heat.
A month later Reg Parnell raced one of the cars to victory in the Goodwood Trophy and at the end of October two cars appeared for Parnell and Peter Walker in the Penya Rhin GP in Barcelona. Both retired with mechanical problems.
The cars were not seen again until July 1951 when they were entered for Parnell and Walker at the British GP where they finished fifth and seventh, although Parnell was five laps behind the winning Alfa Romeo and Walker was a lap down on his team-mate. The team - with engineer Ken Richardson replacing Walker - appeared at the Italian GP in September but neither car started the race.
During the winter months the team tested with Juan-Manuel Fangio and Froilan Gonzalez but it's failure to race against Ferrari early in the year led to many race organizers deciding to switch their races to the more competitive F2, leaving only a few F1 races. Fangio and Gonzalez raced for BRM at Albi but both retired and, in the Ulster Trophy at Dundrod, BRM ran Stirling Moss alongside Fangio. Both retired. They raced at Boreham with Gonzalez and Ken Wharton.
By now the team had been taken over by industrialist Sir Alfred Owen, its official title being the Owen Racing Organisation, though the cars were still referred to as BRMs.
In 1953 there were only a handful of F1 races and Gonzalez and Fangio raced for BRM at Albi once again, Gonzalez finishing second on this occasion. Thereafter the cars only appeared in Formula Libre events.
The next Grand Prix car - the P25 - did not appear until the Daily Telegraph Trophy at Aintree in September 1955. This had a new 2.5-liter engine designed by Stuart Tresilian and Colin Chapman worked on the suspension design. Peter Collins drove the car on its debut but crashed in qualifying and could not start the race. The combination reappeared for the Gold Cup at Oulton but Collins retired with engine problems.
In 1956 Mike Hawthorn and Tony Brooks drove the cars in British F1 races, Brooks finishing second in the BARC 200 at Aintree. Both failed to qualify at Monaco but three cars were entered and raced in the British GP, Brooks and Hawthorn being joined by Ron Flockhart. None of the three finished and the cars were not seen again that year in F1 races. For the 1957 season Roy Salvadori joined Flockhart who qualified at Monaco but retired from the race. For the French GP Flockhart was joined by Herbert MacKay-Fraser but neither finished and at the British GP the team ran Jack Fairman and Les Leston. Both retired with engine trouble. Two weeks later Jean Behra and Harry Schell ran the cars in the Caen GP and the little Frenchman won. He won again in the International Trophy with team-mates Schell and Flockhart second and third.
The 1958 season saw continued development of the P25 with Behra, Schell, Flockhart, Bonnier and several other drivers. The team was finally becoming a regular contender in the World Championship. There were some promising placings but no victories, the team finishing fourth in the first F1 Constructors Championship.
The 1959 season looked like being another disaster with Sir Alfred Owen going so far as to hand over a car to the British Racing Partnership in the hope that the privateer team could run the cars successfully. The works team responded with a victory at the Dutch GP in May for driver Jo Bonnier. Flockhart won the Silver City Trophy at Snetterton at the end of the year.
For 1961 Hill was joined by Brooks but struggled hopelessly against the dominant Ferraris. The only victory of the year went to privateer Tony Marsh who won the Lewis-Evans Trophy at Brands Hatch in October.
At the end of the year Sir Alfred Owen demanded victory in 1962, threatening to close the team if it was not a success. The new P57 was designed by Tony Rudd with a V8 engine designed by Peter Berthon and developed by Aubrey Woods. Graham Hill stayed on as a driver and was joined by Richie Ginther. Hill won the Glover Trophy at Goodwood in April and the International Trophy in May and kicked off the World Championship a week later with victory in Holland. He went on to win the German, Italian and South African GPs and the World Championship, with BRM taking the Constructors' title as well.
The team stayed unchanged in 1963 although BRM began supplying engines to other teams, notably BRP, Scuderia Centro Sud, Scuderia Filipinetti, Scirocco-Powell Racing, Rhein-Ruhr Racing and others. Graham Hill won at Monaco and at Watkins Glen but the season was dominated by Jim Clark and Team Lotus. Hill ended as runner-up in the World Championship.
The driver line-up stayed the same in 1964 while BRM continued to supply customer engines. The new P61/2 was another Rudd design and it was competitive with Hill winning at Monaco and Watkins Glen to finish runner-up to Surtees in the World Championship.
In 1965 Hill was joined by Jackie Stewart in the works team while old cars were made available to Scuderia Centro Sud drivers Masten Gregory and Ludovico Scarfiotti. Stewart won the International Trophy and the Italian GP while Hill yet again won at Monaco and at Watkins Glen. BRM finished second to Lotus in the World Championship as Hill was again runner-up to Clark. BRM also won the non-championship Mediterranean GP at Enna thanks to Jo Siffert at the wheel of a Rob Walker Brabham, powered by a BRM engine.
The new 3-liter Formula 1 began in 1966 and BRM planned an H16 engine with the P83 chassis. This was late arriving, heavy and uncompetitive. BRM supplied the engines to Team Lotus but the only win of the year came from Jim Clark in the US Grand Prix.
Hill left to join Lotus and Stewart was joined by Mike Spence in 1967. Old cars were supplied to Reg Parnell for drivers Chris Irwin and Piers Courage. Lotus started the year with the H16 engines but soon switched to Cosworth DFVs. The 1968 season saw a new chassis - the P126 - designed by Len Terry and a new V12 engine designed by Geoff Johnson. Pedro Rodriguez quickly switched to a newer P133 but Richard Attwood and others struggled with P126. Rodriguez led in Spain and finished second in Belgium. Towards the end of the year a P138 appeared but was not very successful.
The 1969 season was little better with drivers John Surtees and Jackie Oliver. The new P139 was late-arriving and not competitive. In the mid-season there was a reshuffle with Tony Southgate arriving from Eagle to head the chassis department with designers Alec Osborne and Peter Wright while Aubrey Woods took over as head of engine development, working with Geoff Johnson.
Southgate produced a completely new car - the P153 - with a new V12 from Woods. Sponsorship was found from Yardley and drivers Rodriguez and Oliver drove. At Spa that year Rodriguez scored the team's first win for four years. Around the same period, Sir Alfred Owen handed over control of the team to his sister Jean who was married to Louis Stanley.
In 1971 the P160 arrived and won Austria and Italy in the hands of Siffert and Gethin respectively. Both Rodriguez and Siffert were killed in accidents that year - Siffert being the only driver to die in a BRM - and the team finished second in the Constructors' Championship. The P180 followed in 1972 with Marlboro sponsorship although the new car was not a success and updated versions of the P160 reappeared. Jean-Pierre Beltoise gave the team a win at Monaco in 1972.
Updated versions of the P160 appeared until 1974 as the team slipped down the order in F1 racing. The operation was kept going with Rubery Owen sponsorship until Owen's death in 1974 and at the end of that year BRM went into liquidation. It was restarted as Stanley-BRM and Mike Pilbeam was recruited to design the P201. The team appeared on occasion in 1976 but at the end of the year Louis Stanley announced a full-scale return for 1977 with a Len Terry design and drivers Larry Perkins and Teddy Pilette. The P207 was not a success and the team faded away at the end of the year.
There was an attempt to revive the company in 1979 with a car called the P230 but it was a flop.