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B.R.M. P57, the first World Championship car for the historic Bourne team

2021-04-09 00:00

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B.R.M. P57, the first World Championship car for the historic Bourne team

The B.R.M. P57, born from the regulatory change on engines wanted by the International Automobile Federation, represents the first world championship

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The B.R.M. P57, born from the regulatory change on engines wanted by the International Automobile Federation, represents the first world championship car of the English team based in Bourne, United Kingdom.

 

The car was designed by engineer Peter Berthon, who was already responsible for the creation of the BRM 1500 which has a sixteen-cylinder engine, and can in fact be considered as an evolution of the first version of a single-seater with the new 1.5-liter engine of the English team, or the B.R.M. P48 used with little success during the 1960 season.

 

Initially, the English technician proposed the construction of a car built around the B.R.M. P56 eight-cylinder with 90° inclined banks, characterized by a bore significantly higher than the stroke, i.e. 68.5 millimeters versus 50.8 millimeters, with the use of a double camshaft for each cylinder bank and a five-speed crankshaft. These characteristics lead to a high rotation speed, equal to 10.250 rpm. But in 1961 he temporarily used a 1.496 cubic centimeter Coventry Climax FPF four-cylinder, only to then mount the B.R.M.

 

The P57 is also equipped with a transistorized ignition supplied by Lucas, while a five-speed manual ZF is used for the transmission, only to be fitted in the 1962 season with a six-speed Colotti and a five-speed ZF. The frame is of tubular architecture, while the magnesium rims and brake calipers, as well as the tires, are supplied by Dunlop.

 

The fuel tanks, which have a total capacity of 142 liters, are strictly derived from the technology used in the aeronautical field, and specifically they are made of synthetic rubber and positioned on the sides of the driver's seat. The engine exhausts feature an organ pipe arrangement, a feature that gives the car its particular nickname.

 

Season 1961

 

With Joakim Bonnier and Dan Gurney joining the brand-new Porsche team, the British team only manages two cars for the 1962 season: one for Graham Hill and one for Tony Brooks.

 

Initially, the cars conceived at Bourne proved to be highly reliable, but were unable to compete adequately. The points are not earned until the fourth race of the season, at the French Grand Prix in Reims, in which Graham Hill wins a point following the sixth-place finish.

 

Tony Brooks will then get a fifth place at Monza and an excellent third place at the final Grand Prix raced in the United States, while Hill will finish fifth. With these results, the B.R.M. closes the championship with only seven points, thus obtaining the fifth place in the constructors' championship.

Season 1962

 

For the 1962 season the designated drivers are Graham Hill and the promising Richie Ginther, coming from Ferrari to replace Tony Brooks, who retired from Formula 1 when he was only twenty-nine.

 

The championship begins with Hill taking a deserved first victory at the Dutch Grand Prix, in the opening race of the championship, resulting in a long battle with Jim Clark, driving the revolutionary Lotus 25 monocoque; the latter is definitely the fastest car on the grid, but the B.R.M. of Hill excels in its reliability.

 

Clark conquers six poles and three wins, but finishing in the points only on four occasions, while Graham Hill, thanks to the reliability of his BRM, extraordinarily concludes each race, winning among other things three of the last four races scheduled, in Germany, Italy and South Africa.

 

Graham thus conquers the drivers' world title thanks to four victories in the championship, two second places in Belgium and the United States, and two placings in the remaining two races on the calendar, namely Monaco and Great Britain.

 

As for Ginther, on the other hand, his vintage will be extremely disappointing: the American driver only wins a third place in France and a second place in the Italian Grand Prix, retiring on four occasions during the season.

 

Despite Ginther's overwhelming season, the points scored by both drivers allow the B.R.M. to win his first Constructors' World Championship, thanks to a total sum of 52 world championship points.

 

Season 1963

 

The following year, the B.R.M. continues to compete in the Grand Prix with the P57, and to keep the car competitive, the engine is combined with a new six-speed transmission, while the engine is equipped with a new injection system.

 

At the first race of the 1963 season, the Monaco Grand Prix, the plot appears to be a repeat of the previous year, with Jim Clark on pole leading before being forced to retire from the fragile Lotus, and Hill taking advantage of favorable circumstances and winning. thanks to the good level of reliability of his car.

 

However, continuing problems with the introduction of the new gearbox will force Hill to retire in the next two Grands Prix in Belgium and Holland, while Clark will claim four consecutive wins in Belgium, Holland, France and Great Britain.

 

Clark subsequently wins three of the last five races in Italy, Mexico and South Africa; these triumphs, combined with a second place in Germany and a third place in the United States, guarantee the Lotus team driver to win the championship, while Hill, now defeated in the fight for the title, must be content with another victory in the United States, on the Watkins Glen circuit. Hill also wins three third places in Mexico, France and Great Britain, scoring 29 points.

 

If the Australian driver's season turns out to be partially disappointing, the same cannot be said for Ginther, capable of obtaining three second places in Monaco, Italy and Mexico, and two third places in Germany and the United States, also winning 29 points. world championships; removed the rule of discards, the American driver would have even placed in front of Hill with 34 points. The BRM conquers a total of 58 world championship points, finishing the championship in second place in the constructors' standings, preceded by the world champion Lotus.

 

Season 1964

 

For 1964 the B.R.M., which replaces Ginther with Stewart, runs with the P261, while the P57s will be used by the Scuderia Centro Sud and by the drivers Tony Maggs and Giancarlo Baghetti, with little success. The last year in which this car will be seen on the track is 1965, also used by the Italian team. The history of the P57 ends with forty races, six victories, three pole positions, three fastest laps and the conquest of the drivers 'and constructors' titles in 1962, by Graham Hill.

 

Andrea Rasponi


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