Brabham BT38 car-by-car histories
The 1972 F2 Brabham BT38 was based on the 1971 BT36, but was a monocoque instead of a spaceframe. MRD records state 16 were built, but there is evidence of 19 or 20 cars being raced.
The Brabham BT38 was MRD's first production monocoque, but despite suggestions that a monocoque was Bernie Ecclestone's suggestion, work started on the BT38 in February 1971, six months before Bernie Ecclestone acquired MRD. The car was designed by Geoff Ferris, who had worked on the Lotus 72 and the March 711, with Ron Tauranac in overall control. It used a simple square section bathtub monocoque which finished just behind the driver, with the engine and gearbox mounted in a tubular sub assembly. Suspension followed traditional Brabham lines, with outboard springs and double wishbones at the front; single reversed A-bracket, top link and radius arms at the rear. Radiators were either side of the driver, with a flat nose and side wings. Brabham's design team at the time also included Ralph Bellamy, aerodynamicist Ray Jessop and a young lad called Gordon Murray.
The three models were BT38 for Formula 2, BT38B for Formula B, and BT38C for Formula 3. The square section aluminium bathtub monocoque was common to the three models, but the F2 BT38 and F3 BT38C had 16 gauge outer skins, while the FB BT38B used 18 gauge. The F2 BT38 was equipped with a Hewland FT200 gearbox (like the BT38B but different to the Hewland Mk 8 in the BT38C) and had two side radiators (also like the BT38B, and unlike the BT38C that had only one). The F2 had two 10½-gallon tanks (the BT38B had two 8-gallon tanks, and the BT38C had two 5½-gallon tanks).
In a cunning ploy to give the impression MRD had sold more cars than they had, BT38, BT38B and BT38C chassis numbers all started from 11. However, for seasons that are not at all clear, the car built for Graham Hill was given the chassis number BT38/1.
New to Graham Hill for Formula 2 in 1972, first appearing at the Pau Grand Prix in early May. The car was being run for Hill by Kaydon Racing, and was sponsored by Jägermeister, a German liqueur maker. The car was chassis number BT38-1, which is odd as Hill did not even order it until a dozen others were racing, so it may have been to simplify carnet arangements, as he had already taken his previous car, BT36-1, to race at Hockenheim. Hill was also leading the Brabham F1 team, so did not do a full season of F2. The BT38 remained unused at Graham Hill Racing during 1973, and was sold at the end of the year to Tom Ogilvy for Tony Charnell (Dumfries, Scotland) to drive in libre in 1974, still with a 2-litre BDA. It was sold to Dean Dietrich (Hinsdale, IL) for 1975, and was raced in Formula B. Dietrich advertised it during 1976. It next appeared in 1978 when Dan Harthil (Indianapolis, IN) converted it to Can-Am specification and ran it in a few races. Its later history is currently being researched, as it has recently reappeared.
Driven by: Graham Hill, Tony Charnell, Dean Dietrich and Dan Hartill. First race: Pau (R4), 7 May 1972. Total of 19 recorded races.
New for Motul Rondel Racing in 1972, and raced by Carlos Reutemann. Crashed in practice at its second race and replaced with new car, BT38/26.
Driven by: Carlos Reutemann. First race: Mallory Park (R1), 12 Mar 1972. Only one recorded race.
New for Motul Rondel Racing in 1972, and raced by Bob Wollek, Henri Pescarolo (who won at Enna-Pergusa), and others. One of a group of cars sold to South Africa after the Torneio do Brasil. Raced by Jackie Pretorius in 1973, using an Alan Smith Cosworth FVC, then to John Amm for 1974. Converted to Formula Atlantic and raced again by Amm in 1976. Then unknown until reportedly located by Thomas Koch in South Africa some time around 1997-1999, and imported to the US. Then sold to Terry Allard (Denver, CO) some time before 2005.
Driven by: Bob Wollek, Henri Pescarolo, Reine Wisell, Carlos Reutemann, Max Jean ("Jean Max"), Jackie Pretorius and John Amm. First race: Mallory Park (R1), 12 Mar 1972. Total of 32 recorded races.
Entered by Elcom Racing Team for Claudio Francisci in F2 in 1972, using 1.8-litre Novamotor Cosworth BDE engines. It was reported to have swapped chassis plates with Carlos Reutemann's BT38/11, but the story is quite confused. It is interesting that Sport Auto reported the chassis number of this car as BT38/11 at Rouen in June. Subsequent history unknown, but it should be noted that this is a different car to Eligio Siconolfi's Brabham BT38B-13, which later appeared in Can-Am.
Driven by: Claudio Francisci. First race: Thruxton (R2), 3 Apr 1972. Total of 9 recorded races.
Brand new for Motul Rondel Racing at Oulton Park at the end of March 1972, and raced there by Tim Schenken, who finished second. For Schenken again at Thruxton a few days later, then for Derek Bell at Nürburgring at the end of April, by Jean Max at Pau, and by Jean-Pierre Beltoise at Crystal Palace and Rouen. Schenken used the car for the rest of the season, winning at Hockenheim in October. Sold to John Powell (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) for Formula B in 1973. Sold to Bob Schutt (Kirkwood, MO) at Watkins Glen at the end of 1973, and used by him in Mid West Division FB racing. According to Chris Townsend, this may be BT38 of Mike Orgel (St Louis, MO) in Mid West Division FB 1978-80. Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: Tim Schenken, Henri Pescarolo, Derek Bell, Max Jean ("Jean Max"), Jean-Pierre Beltoise, John Powell and Bob Schutt. First race: Oulton Park, 31 Mar 1972. Total of 25 recorded races.
New for Motul Rondel Racing at Hockenheim in mid-April 1972, and raced all season by Bob Wolleck. Raced once by Carlos Reutemann at Enna. Sold to Bill O'Connor (Highland Park, IL) for Formula B for 1973. To Chuck Dietrich (Sandusky, OH) for 1974, then fitted with a Cosworth BDA for 1975, 1976 and 1977. Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: Bob Wollek, Carlos Reutemann, Bill O'Connor and Chuck Dietrich. First race: Hockenheim (R3), 16 Apr 1972. Total of 38 recorded races.
Sold originally to the Elf-Coombs team but not used, and sold to Edward Reeves Racing as a spare for the team's new BT38 being raced by David Morgan. When Morgan wrecked the regular car at the 'Ring, he took over BT38/16. Oddly, this car was sometimes described as BT38/15. After the season, BT38/16 went to MRE in part-exchange for a new BT40, and was sold on to Tom O'Leary (Dalkey, County Dublin) for Formula Ireland racing. O'Leary rarely raced it, and it was eventually sold by MRE in August 1974 to Mike Rocke (Livermore, CA), who used in in SCCA Formula B in 1974 and 1975. Crashed in 1975 and rebuilt on a replacement tub before being sold to someone in California in 1976. Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: David Morgan, Tom O'Leary and Mike Rocke. First race: Pau (R4), 7 May 1972. Total of 15 recorded races.
Brand new for Richard Scott at Oulton Park at the end of March 1972, and used by him through the 1972 F2 season. To Alan Padgett (Pocklington, East Riding of Yorkshire) for 1973, fitted with an 1850cc Cosworth BDE and used in hillclimbs. To David Baumforth (North Newbald, East Riding of Yorkshire) for hillclimbs and prints in 1974, then to John Hinley (Knowle, Warwickshire) for sprints in 1975. It was acquired by Tony Griffiths (Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands) for 1976, then to chef Paul Edwards (London), who used it extensively in sprints in 1977 and 1978. To Ron Cumming (Kemnay, Aberdeenshire, Scotland) for 1979.
Driven by: Richard Scott, Alan Padgett, David Baumforth, John Hinley, Tony Griffiths, Paul Edwards and Ron Cumming. First race: Oulton Park, 31 Mar 1972. Total of 40 recorded races.
New to the French ASCA team, and first seen when driven by Jean-Pierre Jaussaud at Thruxton on Easter Monday 1972. Jaussaud won at Hockenheim in this car in mid-April, and finished second at the same venue in June. The car was heavily damaged at Rouen on 25 June, in an incident with Henri Pescarolo's Brabham, and it was replaced with "a new chassis". This damaged chassis may be the basis of the "ex-Potocki" car that Michel Lateste later had in French hillclimbs.
Driven by: Jean-Pierre Jaussaud. First race: Thruxton (R2), 3 Apr 1972. Total of 6 recorded races.
Brand new for Tom Belsø at Oulton Park at the end of March 1972, entered by Team Viking. Raced by Belsø in F2 all season, then converted to Formula Atlantic for a couple of races late in the year. For sale during much of 1973, then to Tom Foster (Modesto, CA) for SCCA Formula B and ICSCC events from 1974 to 1977. Ron Householder (Portland, OR) then bought it for the engine, and sold the car in July 1978 to Kevin Skinner (Langley, BC, Canada). He won the ICSCC Formula B class in 1979, winning his class in seven races. In 2013, he still owned the car.
Driven by: Tom Belsø and Tom Foster. First race: Oulton Park, 31 Mar 1972. Total of 19 recorded races.
Brand new for Edward Reeves Racing at Oulton Park at the end of March 1972, and raced by David Morgan. It was seriously damaged at its third race, a non-championship event at Nürburgring in late April, and was replaced with another BT38 acquired from the Coombs team.
Driven by: David Morgan. First race: Oulton Park, 31 Mar 1972. Total of 3 recorded races.
New for Silvio Moser (Lugano, Switzerland) at the Eifelrennen at the Nürburgring on 30 April 1972, where it was run for him by Scuderia Del Lario, and sponsored by Marlboro. Raced by Moser in most F2 races in 1972. To Freddy Amweg (Ammerswil, Switzerland) for 1973, and used in a few F2 races, but more often in the Swiss national championship. To Jorg Siegrist (Lucerne, Switzerland) for 1974, when it was fitted with a Cosworth BDG, and used in Swiss and German events, as well as a few F2 races. Subsequent history unknown, but in July 2012, this car was advertised by Lutziger Classic Cars (Rudolfstetten, Switzerland). It had been restored by Peter Denty, was fitted with a Cosworth BDG engine, and was in Amweg's livery.
Driven by: Silvio Moser, Alfred "Freddy" Amweg and Jorg Siegrist. First race: Nürburgring, 30 Apr 1972. Total of 26 recorded races.
New to Frank Williams for his Italian customer Giancarlo Gagliardi, and run in F2 in 1972 using Cosworth BDE engines maintained by Novamotor. Gagliardi first appeared in the car at Crystal Palace at the end of May, where he was one of the slowest. After three more uninspiring performances, he dropped out, and the BT38 was next seen at the Rothmans 50,000 in August, where it was entered by Robs Lamplough's Fiddlers Three Racing for Tony Trimmer, having been acquired by Lamplough the Friday before the race. Trimmer could not qualify, but finished fifth in a short consolation race. It was acquired by David Cole for 1973, but used mainly in libre racing. The car appeared once in Formula Atlantic in 1974, driven by Donald MacLeod who had borrowed it from Cole. Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: Giancarlo Gagliardi, Tony Trimmer, Peter Lamplough, David Cole and Donald MacLeod. First race: Hockenheim (R6), 11 Jun 1972. Total of 7 recorded races.
Brand new for Peter Westbury at the Eifelrennen at the Nürburgring on 30 April 1972. Did not appear at all F2 races, but did run in the Rothmans 50,000 in August, where it used a 1997cc Felday alloy-block engine. Unused in 1973, and for sale from Dorking in November 1973. Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: Peter Westbury and Mac Daghorn. First race: Nürburgring, 30 Apr 1972. Total of 7 recorded races.
New to the French ASCA team, and first seen when driven by Count Adam Potocki at Hockenheim in mid-April 1972. After a few slow races with Potocki, this car was taken over by ASCA teammate Jean-Pierre Jaussaud for the Österreichring and Imola races, the Frenchman having wrecked his regular car at Rouen. It then returned to be Potocki's car to the end of the season.
Driven by: Adam Potocki and Jean-Pierre Jaussaud. First race: Hockenheim (R3), 16 Apr 1972. Total of 7 recorded races.
New to Team Bardahl for Wilson Fittipaldi to drive in the 1972 F2 season. Wilson improved significantly during the season, and was fourth at Enna in August and at Hockenheim in October. He raced the car in the Brazilian F2 Torneio, finishing third and fourth in the first two races. He then crashed heavily in practice at Interlagos, and the car was rapidly rebuilt overnight on a spare monocoque acquired from the Rondel team. He finished a very impressive fifth in Heat 1, and was running third in Heat 2 behind World Champion brother Emerson and new F2 champion Mike Hailwood before dropping back. Subsequent history unknown, but it is quite possible that the car remained in Brazil.
Driven by: Wilson Fittipaldi. First race: Thruxton (R2), 3 Apr 1972. Total of 14 recorded races.
New for Motul Rondel Racing in May 1972, replacing BT38/11, and raced by Carlos Reutemann. Also raced by Gerry Birrell at Albi, when Reutemann was away racing in the Canadian GP. Raced by Ronnie Peterson in the Brazilian F2 series. Sold by Rondel to Tom Klausler (Palatine, IL) for Formula B in 1973, and won at Trois-Rivières in September. Then advertised by Roy Witz (Arlington Heights, IL) in mid-1974, then John Kowalski (Berea, OH) for Formula Atlantic in 1975. Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: Carlos Reutemann, Gerry Birrell, Ronnie Peterson, Tom Klausler and John Kowalski. First race: Crystal Palace (R5), 29 May 1972. Total of 26 recorded races.
New to Tommy Reid (Tandragee, County Armagh, Northern Ireland) for 1972, and fitted with a 2-litre Chevrolet Vega for Formula Ireland racing. Updated to BT40 specification for 1973 but retained the Vega engine, and won numerous races that season. Retained for Formule Libre in 1974 when Ireland moved to Formula Atlantic, and won several races at Ingliston. Retained by Reid for many years, appearing in the first historic races at Kirkistown in 1983. In a private collection in Northern Ireland in November 2014.
Driven by: Tommy Reid. First race: Mondello Park, 7 Aug 1972. Total of 21 recorded races.
New to Tate of Leeds (Racing) and driven by Chris Meek in British Formula Atlantic in 1972. To Bobby Howlings and raced briefly in libre in 1973, then on to Richard Shardlow (Baslow, Derbyshire) and raced in British hillclimbs from June onwards, fitted with a Rondel Cosworth BDE. To Alister Douglas-Osborn (West Hagley, Worcestershire) for 1974 and hillclimbed again, now with a 2.0 Hart Cosworth BDG. Retained by "ADO" for 1975 but modified by Pilbeam (as the 'R15') and raced with a 2.2-litre BDG, winning one British championship hillclimb and also two RAC sprint events at the end of the season. Modified further by Pilbeam for 1976 as the R22, and fitted with a F1 Cosworth DFV V8 engine. In this form it won six RAC British championship rounds in 1976, as well as winning the Guyson BARC series. Used again in this form in 1977, winning seven RAC rounds and both the RAC and BARC titles, but the car was written off in a crash at Doune in September. What was salvageable was used in the construction of a new Pilbeam MP22 for Malcolm Dungworth for 1978.
Driven by: Chris Meek, Bobby Howlings, Richard Shardlow, Alister Douglas-Osborn, Peter Voigt and Tony Bancroft. First race: Snetterton (R13), 9 Jul 1972. Total of 107 recorded races.
A "new chassis" replacing the ASCA team's Brabham BT38 wrecked by Jean-Pierre Jaussaud at Rouen. It was raced by teammate Adam Potocki at Imola, where Potocki failed to qualify, and was then Jaussaud's car for the rest of the season. ASCA entered Jaussaud in the Brazilian F2 Torneio, but he was involved in the startline accident at the second Interlagos race, and the Brabham was badly damaged. According to Chris Townsend's research, this car was acquired by Fred Opert Racing and raced by Héctor Rebaque in the Caracas Formula B race in March 1973, then by Brian Robertson in the JAF Grand Prix in May 1973. It's not clear what else Opert used it for in 1973, but in January 1974, he sold it to John Bernardine (Tulsa, OK) for SCCA Formula B. Then to Warren Pauge (Hacienda Heights, CA) in August 1975, replacing his well-used Brabham BT21. Pauge retained the BT38 for many years, even running it as a Can-Am car once in 1982. After he finally stopped racing it in 1988, he sold it to Marc Bahner, then it went to George Steven in 1992, Tom Stapleton about 2008, and Paul Skilowitz (Stuart, FL) in 2016.
Driven by: Adam Potocki, Jean-Pierre Jaussaud, Héctor Rebaque, Brian Robertson and Warren "Bud" Pauge. First race: Mantorp Park (R10), 6 Aug 1972. Total of 23 recorded races.
The mystery cars
The histories above cover 20 distinct and identifiable BT38s. Of these, two (BT38/11 and BT38/20) were wrecked during the 1972 season. Two more cannot be traced after the end of 1972: Claudio Francisci's BT38/13, which was last seen at the final F2 race of the European season, and Wilson Fittipaldi's BT38/25 which was wrecked during the Brazilian series but rebuilt on a spare tub.
That leaves 16 that can be traced into 1973, including six (BT38/14, BT38/15, BT38/16, BT38/19, BT38/26 and BT38/'33') were sold to North America for Formula B, and three (BT38/17, BT38/22 and BT38/28) that went on to careers in UK minor events. Of the remaining seven, BT38/12 went to South Africa, BT38/21 to Switzerland, and BT38/27 to Ireland; the two ASCA cars (BT38/18 and BT38/24) went to Spain and France; BT38/1 and BT38/23 remained in the UK during 1973 but were not used.
BT38/23 disappeared at the end of 1973. BT38/22 disappeared after April 1974. Both were last seen in England, and may have gone to the US for Formula B.
'the Eugenio Baturone car'
Eugenio Baturone raced an "ex-Jaussaud" Brabham BT38 in Spanish hill climbs in 1973. The car continued in Spanish hillclimbs with José Teixidó in 1974, first appearing at Sant Feliu de Codinas in September 1974, and he retained the car for the 1975, 1976 and 1977 seasons. Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: Eugenio Baturone and José Teixidó. First race: Montserrat, 1 Apr 1973. Total of 8 recorded races.
'the Michel Lateste car'
Michel Lateste bought an "ex-Potocki" Brabham BT38 in pieces, and fitted an 1800cc Ford engine of unknown derivation for the French hill climb championship. He first appeared in May 1974, mainly running in lesser events. He started 1975 with the Brabham, scoring several good second places, and in June bought the ex-Philippe Hesnault March 742-BMW. The Brabham was raced by Patrick Chalot a couple of times, and then sold to Alain Saïdi, who fitted a 1600cc Ford BDA. Saïdi appeared once in the Brabham in 1976, but had returned to his much older Lotus 69-FVA in 1978. The subsequent history of the Brabham is unknown.
Driven by: Michel Lateste, Patrick Chalot and Alain Saïdi. First race: Bournezeau-Vendée, 19 May 1974. Total of 29 recorded races.
'the John Hart car'
After driving a Brabham BT18 in 1976, John Hart transferred its Cosworth FVA engine into a Brabham BT38 for 1977. Hart recalls buying the BT38 in the Isle of Man, but the car's origins have not yet been established. He raced this car in hillclimbs and sprints through 1977, being joined by his son Greg later that season. The pair retained the BT38 for 1978 but Greg wrecked it in a major accident at Shelsley Walsh in August, which he was lucky to escape. The car was briskly rebuilt using a BT40 monocoque acquired from MRD and raced again at Gurston Down just two weeks later. The car was renamed 'Hart JG79' for 1979. Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: John Hart and Greg Hart. First race: Yeovilton (R2), 27 Mar 1977. Total of 17 recorded races.
'the Andy Sauvarin car'
Andy Sauvarin raced a Brabham BT38 with 1600cc Cosworth BDA engine in Channel Island hillclimbs in the mid-1980s. He recalls that he bought the car from Tom Coughlan but its origins are not yet known. Some time around 1987, it was acquired by Kevin Timms (Trowbridge, Wiltshire) and retained by him until February 2012 when it was advertised, It was sold to Nigel Edwards (Cheshire) and rebuilt by Nick Edginton during 2013, emerging in April 2014 in Jagermeister orange. Raced by Edwards at the Oulton Park Gold Cup in August 2014.
Driven by: Tom Coughlan and Andy Sauvarin. First race: Gurston Down (R13), 29 Aug 1982. Total of 6 recorded races.
A detailed description of the BT38 can be found in Autosport 10 Feb 1972 pp28-29.
Please contact Allen Brown (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you can add anything to our understanding of these cars.
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