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14 de janeiro de 2021

1966/67: Brabham BT19/24 Repco


Antonio Eiras

After becoming World Champion of Drivers in 1959 and 60, at the wheel of the revolutionaries Cooper-Climax, Jack Brabham joined with his countryman, engineer and race cars designer Ron Tauranac, to found, in 1960, the Motor Racing Developments Ltd. The MRD presented its first car, a Formula Junior, in the next summer, and quickly evolved to become a great builder of competition cars for customers.


In 1962 Jack Brabham left Cooper to drive his team's cars and MRD presented its first F1, BT3 (BT from Brabham-Tauranac). Ron designed the cars and Jack drived and developed them.


For the 1965 season, Tauranac designed the BT19, which was only finished and was presented the following year, having competed for the Brabham Racing Organization, the official team of the brand, owned by Jack Brabham. In this model, as in the following ones he designed for Brabham, Tauranac remained faithful to the multi-tube chassis in spaceframe, which he considered simpler and easier to maintain than the more sophisticated and light monocoque chassis used by most of the opposing teams. In the BT19 project, he used steel tubes of oval section in its chassis, which gave it greater resistance in relation to tubes of circular section.


For the suspensions there was a double wishbone with concentric coil springs and dampers, and at the rear, a single top-link, a reverse lower wishbone, twin radius arms with concentric coil springs and dampers. To slow down the car, there were disc brakes on all wheels, and the tires were supplied by Goodyear.


Many details in the bodywork of the BT19 revealed its improved aerodynamics, as a result of the tests that Ron Tauranac regularly used to do, since 1963, in the MIRA wind tunnel.


The car was powered by a 3 liter capacity engine of the Australian brand Repco, with 8 cylinders in V, which used, in its initial version, the aluminum block of the American Oldsmobile, and developed about 300CV at 8,000 rpm. Less powerful but more frugal than its opponents, the engine transmitted its power to the rear wheels through a Hewland 5-speed gearbox.


Driven by Jack Brabham and Denny Hulme, the Brabham BT19 participated in 19 races, 10 of which were of the F1 World Championship, having won 6 and allowed Jack Brabham to win, in 1966, his third Drivers' Championship and the first title of Constructors for the brand.


Jack Brabham was also, and until today, the only driver to win a race and a F1 World Championship at the wheel of a car with his name.


During the 1966 Championship, the BT20 was released. It would be less used than its predecessor and only won one World Championship race. The suspensions were similar to the BT19 at the front and at the rear, there were also double wishbones, but with the classic twin radius arms. There were, also, new anti-roll bars in both axes.


In 1967 Brabham introduced the BT24, which was more compact and lighter than its predecessors. It was powered by a new and lighter Repco engine, with a block manufactured by the brand and with the exhaust pipes positioned centrally, which allowed the engine to reach 330CV, and left more space for the rear suspension.


Taking advantage of the youth problems of the also new Lotus 49, Jack Brabham and Denny Hulme won 3 races and, for the brand, the World Championship, with Hulme overtaking his colleague and boss to win his only driver title.


The BT24 was sold to private teams, having participated, either by the works team or by private ones, in multiple races in the Tansman Series and in local F1 championships, such as the South African Formula One Championship.

In addition to the works team drivers, the BT20s and 24s were driven by great drivers, like the future F1 Champion Jochen Rindt, the future car builders Dan Gurney and Guy Ligier, also by Silvio Moser and Piers Courage, the latter in a car from his friend's initial team Frank Williams.

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