Zurich Gnome

The journal of a Swiss-based motor-racing enthusiast.

Thursday, November 10, 2005


British Racing Motors; a classically understated English name for a racing team, formed as it was just after the Second World War. Back then everything was more formal and calling a team "Super Aguri" would be simply unthinkable. BRM were formed in 1947 and were in the racing business for 30 years. One of their longest serving employees, Alec Stokes, died this week, which is why the team sprung to mind.

BRM was never my favourite team; in the paddock the mechanics always seemed to be scruffier than the other top teams, with tools left lying around on the ground, much to my Father's horror. But they did win the constructors championship in 1962 and every now and then they'd build a car that you just loved. My two favourites are the P261 from 1965 (shown above) and the first slicks and wings BRM, the P153. I was fortunate enough to see both of them in action earlier this year at the Nürburgring when I went to help my brother Ken race there.

One of the great things about BRM was that they built their own engines, rather than buying them in like most of the British manufacturers. Like Ferrari and Matra, they built amazing V12 engines that screamed at full throttle; mechanical music that's been missing since the FIA in it's wisdom decided that all engines should have the same cylinder layout. If there had been rules like that in the 1950s, BRM would never have built the ludicrous 1.5 litre supercharged V16. It hardly ever ran, was totally unreliable and when it did work it was so powerful it just made the wheels spin. But it sounded glorious, and you can get a vague idea of what it sounded like here.


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