PEOPLE: PETER BERTHON

Name: Peter Berthon
Nationality:

Berthon had no formal engineering training but after serving with the Royal Air Force he began working with Raymond Mays developing a Riley in 1932. They formed English Racing Automobiles the following year and went into business in Bourne in Lincolnshire. They hired the wellknown designer Reid Railton to design a chassis while Berthon worked with Murray Jamieson to design a 1.5-litre six-cylinder supercharged engine, which owed a lot to the Riley. The cars became successful in the mid-1930s in Britain with the 1.5-litre engine or with a 1.1-litre version. Later ERA built a 2-litre engine as well but the team was never able to compete against the Mercedes and Auto Union Grand Prix cars. After the war Berthon and Mays joined forces again to establish British Racing Motors and buit the BRM Type 15, designed by Berthon. This began testing in 1949 and made its racing debut in the middle of 1950. Throughout the 1950s Berthon worked on BRM models and by the late 1950s the cars were moderately competitive. The team has passed into the hands of Sir Alfred Owen and at the end of 1961 he demanded victory, threatening to close the team if it was not a success. The new BRM P57 featured a V8 engine designed by Berthon and mated to a Tony Rudd chassis Graham Hill won the World Championship and BRM took the Constructors' title. Berthon was eventually replaced as technical director by Rudd but went on to work with Harry Weslake in Rye.

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