Brabham BT40 car-by-car histories
The Brabham BT40 was MRD's model for Formula 2 and Formula B in 1973. Wilson Fittipaldi won the F2 race at Misano in July, and in FB it was highly successful, with Allan Lader winning four races in the Canadian FB series, Bertil Roos winning two late-season races, and Ken Duclos winning the SCCA Runoffs.
Geoff Ferris designed three similar models for 1973, the Formula 2 BT40, Formula B BT40B and Formula 3 BT41, although the BT40s and BT40Bs were numbered together, so are covered here as a single subject. The monocoque was a development of Ferris's BT38 design, but incorporating aerodynamic ideas from the Formula 1 BT37. The tub had flat sides and sloped markedly from front to back which, with the very angular full-width nose, gave the car a dramatic wedge profile. It was constructed in 16-gauge NS4 aluminium sheet throughout, and retained Brabham's well-established and highly conventional suspension geometry with outboard springs all round. The rear brakes were inboard, and the engine was mounted in a tubular subframe; again all completely orthodox. The main radiators were faired in at rear of the monocoque, as on the BT38, but the fairings were "upside down", compared with the older car. A range of engine bays was available to cater for F2, FB and F3, including the option of the F1 style FG400 gearbox instead of the usual FT200 used in F2 and FB, and the first car to be shown to the press had a Chevrolet Vega engine installed.
The first production BT40 went to the US so that Mike Hall could drive it in the SCCA Road Race of Champions at the end of November 1972. As MRD was numbering its 1973 cars starting at 11, as it had done in 1972 with the BT38-series cars, this would logically have been chassis BT40-11, but the known history of that car suggests otherwise. Sales in F2 were slow, and MRD ran a works car for Wilson Fittipaldi, and later a second FINA-backed car for Andrea de Adamich, but they could offer little resistance to the dominant March 732s. The Formula B version sold in much larger numbers thanks to the efforts of Brabham agent Fred Opert, and BT40s finished 1-2 in the first round of the Canadian FB series, Allan Lader winning from Craig Hill. Six BT40s took part in the end-of-season support race for the US GP, which Bertil Roos won in one of Fred Opert's BT40s, and Ken Duclos then won the National amateur title at the SCCA Runoffs in his BT40 four weeks later. However, this proved to be Brabham's swansong in the category, as MRD pulled out of customer car production at the end of the year, and Fred Opert transferred his allegiance to Chevron.
This would have logically been the first car delivered, but how it was used in the early part of the season is unclear. Bob Kime (Hallstead, PA) acquired the car in the summer of 1973 and raced it for the first time at the Bryar National in early September but crashed it. It was rebuilt by Fran Larkin and loaned the Bertil Roos, who used it to win the Columbo Yogurt Formula B race at the US GP meeting, so it is probably the BT40 that Roos had used on the two weekend before Kime's debut, at Mosport Park and Road America. Kime retained the car for 1974, but having found Formula B a bit quick, opted to convert it to Formula C using a 1000cc Cosworth BDA. Kime accumulated 32 points in Northeast Division FC and finishing second at the Runoffs. The car was converted back for the Watkins Glen GP support race in 1974 but Kime failed to qualify, so the car was raced by Peter Moodie. In early 1975, it was bought by Gary Wallace (Hebron, IN), and raced by him in SCCA Formula B until 1979. Wallace then retained it until the spring of 1990, when he sold it to Cameron MacArthur (Loveland, CO) who used it in RMVR events in the Colorado area. It went to Terry Allard in 2000 or 2001, then Bill Swope (Albuquerque, NM) in 2004, and then to Phil Franzone (Perth, Australia) in April 2010.
Driven by: Bertil Roos, Bob Kime, Peter Moodie and Gary Wallace. First race: Mosport Park, 19 Aug 1973. Total of 18 recorded races.
Run by Motor Racing Developments as a works car in Formula 2 in 1973, fitted with a 2-litre David Wood BDA raced at first by John Watson at Mallory Park in March, but after he was injured in a F1 Brabham BT42 at the Race of Champions a week later, the BT40 was taken over by Wilson Fittipaldi. A Schnitzer BMW engine was tried in the car at Rouen in June, but the car had its Wood engine again when Fittipaldi won a non championship race at Misano in July. Sold to Eugenio Baturone for Spanish hillclimbs in 1974, still with its 2-litre Wood BDA engine. Retained by Baturone for three more seasons, then sold to José Canela Ballesteros, who raced it in hillclimbs in 1979. Acquired by an Italian lawyer who owned it for many years. Bought by Giulio Vezzoli (Brescia, Italy) in December 2018.
Driven by: John Watson, Wilson Fittipaldi, Eugenio Baturone and José Canela Ballesteros. First race: Mallory Park (R1), 11 Mar 1973. Total of 25 recorded races.
New for Brian Robertson (Brockville, Ontario) and raced by him in the Malaysian Grand Prix at Batu Tiga in April 1973, but wrecked the following weekend during practice at the Singapore Grand Prix. The car was rebuilt and raced a few times in Canada as part of Fred Opert's team, including by David Fram at Halifax in October 1974, and by Bob Beyea at Trois-Rivières two weeks later. Then sold to Mike Rand (Greenwich, CT) in time for the 1974 SCCA Runoffs, replacing a crashed Rondel M1, after which Rand raced the BT40 in Northeast Division SCCA Formula B in 1975. For 1976, Rand converted the car to Formula C. He bought a Modus for 1977, and the Brabham was sold to Larry Snover (Langsdale, PA) who raced it in FC and then in FB again. He sold it after the 1979 season to someone who planned to add sportscar bodywork for Can-Am. However, this never happened, and the car was offered for sale by Rick Parent (Asheville, NC) in June 2018, still in Snover's livery, noting that "the car has been sitting since 1980". Bought by John Hafkenschiel in January 2019. Still with Hafkenschiel in January 2023.
Driven by: Brian Robertson, David Fram, Bob Beyea, Mike Rand and Larry Snover. First race: Batu Tiga, 15 Apr 1973. Total of 16 recorded races.
New to John Wingfield and raced in both F2 and Formula Atlantic in 1973, entered by Marshall Wingfield Limited. Raced by Ray Mallock in Formula Atlantic 1974, entered by The Chequered Flag, and retained for one early-season race in 1975, after Mallock wrecked his new March 742 at Thruxton. Then entered by Marshall Wingfield Ltd for South African Len Booysen to drive in a few Formula Atlantic races in June and July 1975, by which time it had acquired what looked like a March 73B nose, before Wingfield himself raced it once more at Silverstone in August. Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: John Wingfield, Ray Mallock and Len Booysen. First race: Mallory Park (R1), 11 Mar 1973. Total of 36 recorded races.
New via dealer Fred Opert to Earl 'Doc' Hartley of the Drawn Metal Tube Company in Thomaston, Connecticut, and used in SCCA Formula B. Retained by Hartley until he sold it to McLaren International in 1987 in a deal involving a F1 McLaren M23 that Hartley also owned. Sold by McLaren to Mike Campbell-Cole (Yorkshire) in 2000, recommissioned with a 1600cc Formula Atlantic Hart BDA and raced by him in HSCC events in 2005. With Richard Connell by 2012. Advertised by Connell in June 2016.
New to Ken Duclos (Boxboro, MA) and raced in Formula B in 1973, winning the Northeast Division title, and the National title by winning the SCCA Runoffs at Road Atlanta in November. Retained for 1974, and again won both the Northeast title and the National title, and towards the end of that season was fitted with a Cosworth BDA for Formula Atlantic. Again retained for 1975, now with the BDA in Formula B, and Duclos won a third successive NEDiv title in the car, but this time retired at the Runoffs. In 1975, the car wore Falconer bodywork. Sold to Peter Gates (Claymont, DE) for 1976, fitted with a 1.1-litre Cosworth BDJ for Formula C, and finished third in the NEDiv FC title. To Jon Sley (Claymont, Delaware) for FC again in 1977, finishing fifth in NEDiv. The car was next seen when advertised by Gates in 1992 as restored with a new tub. After that, it was next mentioned by Michael Rand in February 2018 as having been recently purchased. By April 2015, Rand had sold it to Bob Burnside (Dexter, MI). Raced by Burnside at Road America in July 2021.
Driven by: Ken Duclos, R Peter Gates and John Sley. First race: Thompson Speedway, 27 May 1973. Total of 30 recorded races.
New to Chuck Dietrich (Sandusky, OH) for 1973, and used in SCCA Formula B in 1973. Dietrich bought a third-hand ex-F2 Brabham BT38 for 1974, and whether the BT40 was used at all that season is not known. In 1975, the BT40 reappeared, raced by David Ralston (Elmhurst, IL) in Central Division SCCA Nationals. Its next owner was Ned Clark (Dayton, OH), who is believed to have raced it from 1976 until 1989. It was next seen in 2006, when bought from the Westerburg Collection in the USA by South Australian Tim Kuchel. By 2011, it had been acquired by Bryan Miller (Kiama, NSW).
Driven by: Chuck Dietrich, David Ralston and Ned Clark. First race: Virginia International Raceway, 8 Apr 1973. Total of 13 recorded races.
New to Vittorio Venturi in Italy, who raced it in European hillclimbs in 1973, and in one F2 race in Italy that season. It ran in Marlboro livery, and was identified as chassis 19 by Motoring News when it appeared at Misano in July. It then reappeared for two more F2 races driven by Spartaco Dini and entered by Scuderia Nettuno, and Autosport noted at the time that it was the car bought for Venturi to do European hillclimbs. This then appears to be the car driven by "Shangri-Là" (Romano Martini) in the F2 at Mugello in July 1974. It is then unknown until BT40/19 appears in the hands of a Sicilian hillclimber who used the pseudonym "King", who also had a March 75S with BMW engine, and used the engine in the BT40. "King" was entered for the Enna-Pergusa F2 race in 1976, but it is unclear whether he arrived for practice. Some years later, the car was used by "King" as security on a loan, and after he died, it therefore changed hands. It was offered for sale in 2017, missing not just engine and gearbox, but other parts which were loaned out and then disappeared. The "BT40/19" plate was still on the car, and appeared to be genuine. Massimo Pollini advises that the car was still in the same place in August 2020, and in very poor condition.
Driven by: Vittorio Venturi, Spartaco Dini, Romano Martini ("Shangri-Là") and "King". First race: Misano, 22 Jul 1973. Total of 3 recorded races.
Sold new to Hans Ruedi Wittwer (Diepoldsau, Switzerland) in December 1973, and raced by him in hillclimbs in Switzerland, Germany, Austria and what was then Czechoslovakia in 1974, 1975 and 1976. He won the Ecce Homo hillclimb at Šternberk in this car in 1975. He also ran the car for Kurt Rieder in 1976 when Rieder won the Bergrennen Bad Mühllacken in Austria. In 1977, the car was sold to Siegfried Grabher in Austria, and was raced by Alois Pfister, before being sold to Peter Dienemann (Opfingen, Baden-Württemberg, West Germany) in April 1978. Dienemann only made rare appearances in the car, and in November 1979 it was sold to Georg Reisinger (Wiedergeltingen, Bavaria, West Germany). It appears that Manfred Baumgartner acquired the car in 1980, but its exact movements from then until 2005 remain unclear. In 2005, the car was acquired by Hermann Bosch (Lieboch, Austria), and he had rebuilt the car to immaculate condition by 2019.
Driven by: Hans Wittwer, Kurt Rieder, Alois Pfister, Peter Dienemann and Georg Reisinger. First race: Ampus, 31 Mar 1974. Total of 18 recorded races.
New to Graham Eden Racing, and driven by Cyd Williams in the 1973 British Formula Atlantic championship. Retained by Eden and Williams for 1974. After Williams crashed the car at Brands Hatch in September 1974, it was raced by Richard Morgan and Tony Trimmer later that season. Retained by Eden again for 1975, with Cyd Williams again driving. To David Winstanley (Winsford, Cheshire) of Withers of Winsford for 1976, and raced in the Indylantic championship.
Driven by: Cyd Williams, Richard Morgan, Tony Trimmer and David Winstanley. First race: Mallory Park (R1), 11 Mar 1973. Total of 52 recorded races.
Bought new by Ron Southern (San Rafael, CA) for Formula B and first seen at the Laguna Seca Sprints in June 1973. Retained for several seasons but rarely raced after Aug 1974. Advertised in Jan 1976 by Southern/Bondurant School of High Performance Driving still with Hart twin cam and comment '9 races from new'. Advertised in Formula in April 1976 by Southern (Glen Ellen, CA) noting a 200+ bhp injected Hart engine. It then went to George Nolte (Fair Oaks, CA), who ran it in Formula B in 1978. In 1980, it was bought by John Wink (Sacremento, CA) from a man in Sacramento who had used it in Solo events. Wink ran it with the original twin cam engine at first, then fitted a BDD in 1982. He sold it to another Solo driver, then it went to Ted Harris (Carmichael, CA), for whom Wink rebuilt it. Used by Harris in an SCCA Drivers School in March 1987. According to John Hafkenschiel of the US Brabham Register, the car was acquired by Kent Painter (Fort Collins, CO) in 1989. Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: Ron Southern, George Nolte and John Wink. First race: Laguna Seca, 23 Jun 1973. Total of 9 recorded races.
New to Bill Eagles (Lasalle, Montréal, Quebec, Canada), and raced in the Players Canadian Formula B series in 1973, entered by Tex-Made Racing, Ville La Salle. Also driven by Allan Lader at Sanair in June. Retained by Eagles for 1974, again entered at #46, and fitted with a Cosworth BDA engine after the opening round. Eagles did not continue in Formula Atlantic after 1974, but in 1975 his car appeared at a race at Bushy Park, Barbados. It was still in Eagles' green/yellow #46 livery but it is not clear who was driving it that day. It was later owned and raced by David Kerr in Jamaica, and then sold by him to Richard Knox (Trinidad). Some time later, Knox sold both his Brabhams to UK dealer Bobby Howlings. The movements of the car are then unknown, but by 2005 it was in Tommy Reid's collection, still with Knox's name on the side. Offered for sale in November 2019 by Paul McMorran of The Crosslé Car Company Limited
Driven by: Bill Eagles and Allan Lader. First race: Westwood (R1), 27 May 1973. Total of 12 recorded races.
Unknown in 1973, but likely to be one of the unidentified Formula B cars in 1973.
From 1980, or possibly earlier, Dale Wise (Colombus, OH) ran this car in the SCCA's 'A' Sports Racing category, qualifying for the Road Race of Champions in 1980, 1982 and 1983. He originally ran it with its Cosworth Formula Atlantic engine, but fitted a Mazda 12A engine in 1982. For 1985, it moved to Dennis Ehrie (Colombus, OH), who raced it in Can-Am as the "Wise", with sponsorship from Stanley Steamer. Ehrie drove the car again in 1986, and finished 5th at Summit Point, despite being 16% slower than pole position. The cars in 4th and 7th that day were also 13 years old. Ehrie died in 2012, age just 67. The history of the Wise/Brabham after 1986 is unknown.
Driven by: Dale Wise and Dennis Ehrie. First race: Road Atlanta, 23 Oct 1982. Total of 9 recorded races.
Unknown in 1973, but likely to be one of the unidentified Formula B cars in 1973.
According to Can-Am researcher Doug Waters, this car was bought in 1980 by John Macaluso (Buffalo, NY area) from Jerry Lieberg in Connecticut, who had not used it. In 1982 and 1983, this car was raced in Can-Am by Macaluso as the Microlon Special or the Brabert FWH 001. Macaluso still had the car in the summer of 1985. Subsequent history unknown, but in 2007, Pete Brennan advised that this car had "surfaced in the UK", still with Macaluso's name on the side. The owner of the car had been Fred Herbert, which explains the "Brabert" and "FWH" names applied to the car.
Driven by: John Macaluso. First race: Trois-Rivières (Can-Am R5), 5 Sep 1982. Total of 4 recorded races.
Unknown in 1973, but likely to be one of the unidentified Formula B cars in 1973.
In the late 1980s, a car with this chassis plate was bought from Norm Martin (Denver, CO) by Harry Mathews and restored for historic racing by his son Greg. Harry Mathews raced a Brabham BT40 at RMVR La Junta 19-20 May 1990. Still with the Mathews Collection in 2022.
New to Olney "Bill" Mairs (Malibu, CA) and raced at the 1973 SCCA Runoffs, Mairs having qualified by finishing fourth in his March 722 in NEDiv, representing New York Region. Retained for 1974, when Mairs finished fifth in Southern Pacific Division, representing CSCC. He then sold to the car to his two mechanics, Victor Tostado and Mark Munroe, and Munroe raced it in 1975 and 1976. After Munroe was killed in a sprint car accident at Ascot Raceway in September 1979, the Brabham was sold to Richard Christ, and then to John Whitton. It was next seen when owned by Mike Fazzi in 2002 or 2003, and was sold by him to Peter Brennan (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia) in 2004. The car remained in the UK, and was raced by Brennan with the HSCC in 2019. Sold to Martin Friedl (Vienna, Austria) in 2020, but the car was expected to stay with Bob Juggins in England, and be used in HSCC events in 2021. Raced by Friedl in the HSCC Aurora Trophy Series with Geoff Lees Trophy in 2021. Sold to Klaus Tweddell (Germany) in May 2023.
Driven by: Olney "Bill" Mairs and Mark Munroe. First race: Road Atlanta, 3 Nov 1973. Total of 12 recorded races.
Unknown in 1973, but this could be the sister car to chassis BT40-32 sold to CSAI in August or September 1973.
Believed to be one of the two cars acquired by CSAI in 1973, this car was said in a later advert to have been sold to a collector in Turin in 1978 who kept it for 30 years without using it. It was bought by Mauro Pane in 2010, restored, and fitted with a David Gathercole BDA engine. Lorenzo Blitto reports that the car was sold to an Italian collector.
New to Ted Titmas (Van Nuys, CA) for the British Formula Atlantic series in 1973, but not raced until late in the season. This is presumably the "brand new", "never used" BT40 advertised from Reigate and London numbers in June 1973. Titmas ran the car in September and October, and Cyd Williams used it for one race in October. Titmas reappeared with the car briefly at the end of the 1974 season. He then took the car to the US, and entered it for Ron Dykes to drive in Californian Formula Atlantic races in 1976. To John Angus for 1977 (or to Wilbur Bunce and run by him for Angus). Then to Marc Bahner 1978, who restored it with a stock nose and sold it to George Seydel. In early 1980 it was sold to Finish Line editor Bob Schilling. Later owners have been given as Ken Patch, Perry Sands, Kevin Roggenbuck, who raced it in the 2011 Pacific Northwest Historics, and then David Rugh. Rugh sold it to Chris Rose in 2018.
Driven by: Ted Titmas, Cyd Williams, Ron Dykes and John Angus. First race: Oulton Park (R6), 9 Sep 1973. Total of 21 recorded races.
New to John MacDonald (Hong Kong) and fitted with a Hart twin cam engine for the Southeast Asian 2-valve 1600cc formula. MacDonald won the 1973 Malaysian Grand Prix, the 1973 Macau Grand Prix, the 1974 Selangor Grand Prix, and Malaysian and Penang Grands Prix in 1975. Driven by José "Pocholo" Ramirez, MacDonald's Rothmans Cathay Pacific team mate at Macau at the end of 1975. Next seen with Jason Ho in 1988, then with Neville McKay in 1992. Still owned by McKay (Mona Vale, NSW, Australia) in December 2004.
Driven by: John MacDonald and José "Pocholo" Ramirez. First race: Batu Tiga, 15 Apr 1973. Total of 10 recorded races.
Run by Motor Racing Developments as a second works car in Formula 2 in 1973, driven at first by Andrea de Adamich, and entered by FINA Racing Team. Raced later in the season by Gabriele Serblin and Rolf Stommelen. Sold to Tom O'Leary (Dalkey, County Dublin, Ireland) for Irish Formula Atlantic in 1974. Retained by O'Leary for 1975, 1976 and 1977, then acquired by Gerry Kinnane in part-exchange for a Chevron B29 sold to O'Leary, and entered for John Ledlie, Ivor Greenwood and Derek Shortall in 1978. Next seen with Chris Charlett in Trinidad in 1981 and 1982. Returned to the UK by 2001, when it was restored by Cooper Motorsports and raced by Steve Parrott in the HSCC Derek Bell Trophy. Sold to Tim Kuchel (Australia) in 2006 and raced in Australian historic racing. Kuchel died in December 2019, and the car was sold by his family to Wayne Groeger (Fairhaven, Victoria, Australia) in December 2020.
Driven by: Andrea de Adamich, Gabriele Serblin, Rolf Stommelen, Tom O'Leary, John Pollock, John Ledlie, Ivor Greenwood and Derek Shortall. First race: Nivelles-Baulers (R7), 10 Jun 1973. Total of 26 recorded races.
Sold new via Fred Opert to Al Lader (Gresham, OR) and used in the Canadian Formula B championship. Lader crashed in practice at Sanair in June, and it is unclear whether BT40-37 was the car Lader used all season, repaired as required, or whether it was a new car supplied after the Sanair accident. Lader won four races that season and would have won the championship if it had been open to non-Canadians. Sold to Ron Householder (Portland, OR) for 1974, and fitted with a BDA engine for the Canadian series, which was now to Formula Atlantic rules. Also raced in SCCA racing that year, where it was moved up to the Formula A class as the BDA was not allowed into Formula B until 1975. Householder continued to race this car in SCCA and ICSCC racing for the rest of the 1970s. It was then stored in an aircraft hanger until late 2011, when it was acquired by Collin Jackson (Langley, British Columbia, Canada), who had been a teenage crew member for Householder in the 1970s. The car was restored over the next three years by Jackson and Andy Pearson of Specialty Engineering, and it was raced by Jackson in vintage racing in 2015. Still with Collin in October 2020.
Driven by: Allan Lader and Ron Householder. First race: Mosport Park (R4), 2 Jul 1973. Total of 34 recorded races.
Moto Kitano is reported to have raced a Brabham BT40 in two Japanese Formula 2 races in May 1975, entered as #4 by Japan Racing Development. Whether the car was fitted with a BDA or a BMW engine is unclear. The chassis number has been reported as BT40/39, but if Brabham records are correct that 28 BT40s were built, there should not have been a chassis number 39. It should be noted that Kitano had bought a Chevron "B23" from Bobby Howlings for the 1973 season, so it is possible that he had acquired a BT40 from Howlings as well. Unfortunately, there is no BT40 that disappears from Europe after the 1974 season, so this car is a puzzle.
Driven by: Moto Kitano. First race: Fuji (R1), 4 May 1975. Total of 2 recorded races.
Brabham BT40s in 1973
Known BT40 chassis numbers range from BT40/11 to BT40/39, implying 29 were built. Mike Lawrence's book (Brabham+Ralt+Honda: The Ron Tauranac Story, Motor Racing Publications Ltd, 1999) gave the number as 28, with nine built for F2 and 19 for Formula B. First owners are known for only eight Formula 2 cars: BT40/12 (John Watson/Wilson Fittipaldi), BT40/14 (John Wingfield), BT40/19 (Vittorio Venturi), BT40/20 (Hans Wittwer), and BT40/36 (Andrea de Adamich/Gabriele Serblin) plus the unraced car bought by Ed Reeves, and the two cars bought for the CSAI drivers school in Italy. Two BT40s later appeared with Japan Racing Development in Japan, but whether they went there new in 1973 is unclear. Of the Formula B cars, we know the identities of nine cars that went straight to Formula B: BT40/11 (Fred Opert/Bertil Roos), BT40/13 (Brian Robertson), BT40/16 (Doc Hartley), BT40/17 (Ken Duclos), BT40/18 (Chuck Dietrich), BT40/22 (Ron Southern), BT40/24 (Bill Eagles), BT40/30 (Bill Mairs), BT40/37 (Al Lader); and another three that raced in other countries: BT40/21 (Graham Eden/Cyd Williams) and BT40/33 (Ted Titmas) both in England, and BT40/35 (John MacDonald) in Southeast Asia. That leaves eight FB cars still to account for. Two of the FB cars were BT40/25 and BT40/26, but their first owners are not known.
Unidentified Formula B Brabham BT40s in 1973
The six cars that raced in 1973 for which identities are not yet known are the FB cars of Mike Hall, Craig Hill, Allan Lader (his short-lived first car), Gilles Léger and Dan Carmichael; plus the Asian car of Albert Poon. Fred Opert may also have had one more car, as Jean-Pierre Jaussaud and Héctor Rebaque both drove for his team in FB in 1973. There is still one, possibly two, BT40s that cannot be accounted for in 1973.
We know from their later histories that BT40/25, BT40/26 and BT40/27 were in the US so are very likely to be three of these unidentified Formula B cars. Based on geography, there is a good chance that BT40/25, first seen with Dale Wise (Colombus, OH) in 1980, was the car owned by Dan Carmichael (Columbus, OH); that BT40/26, first seen with Jerry Lieberg in Connecticut in the late 1970s, could well be 'the Gilles Léger car' last seen when entered by Fred Opert Racing for Chris Gleason in 1974; and that BT40/27, first seen with Norm Martin (Denver, CO) in the late 1980s, may well have been 'the Mike Hall car' last seen in Illinois in 1976.
Chassis numbers do not appear to have been any guide to the order in which cars appeared, as Hans Wittwer's BT40/20 was invoiced in December, but John MacDonald's BT40/35 raced as early as April. However, one emerging possibility is that BT40/20 was the Ed Reeves car, rebuilt at the factory after the accident as new, and then sold to Wittwer.
Mike Hall (Twin Lakes, WI) raced a brand new Brabham BT40 at the SCCA Run-Offs, known then as American Road Race of Champions, at Road Atlanta 25 Nov 1972, the first BT40 to race. Hall then raced this car in Formula B and Formula Atlantic in 1973 and 1974. He replaced it with a Lola T360 for 1975 and the Brabham was then raced by John Elder (Rosemount, Minnesota) in SCCA Nationals in 1975, winning his class at Brainerd in July. Hall had modified his car with a wide nose and a higher and fuller tail, and Elder's car showed the same modifications. The car was then advertised, as "ex-Mike Hall" by Richard Prather's Prather Racing (Wheeling, IL) in November 1976. There is a good chance this was the car raced by Peter Robinson (Madison, Wisc) in 1976 and 1977. Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: Mike Hall and John Elder. First race: Road Atlanta, 25 Nov 1972. Total of 28 recorded races.
Ed Reeves (Ulcombe, Kent) bought a Brabham BT40 for Dave Morgan to drive in 1973, but the car was damaged in pre-season testing at Brands Hatch on 25 March and never raced. It was advertised by Edward Reeves Racing (Staplehurst, Kent) in Autosport in mid-July 1973. Subsequent history unknown.
New to Albert Poon (Hong Kong) and fitted with a Hart twin cam engine for the Southeast Asian 2-valve 1600cc formula. Raced by Poon in 1973 and 1974 and then, after Poon acquired a newer Chevron B29, the Brabham was raced by Graeme Lawrence in the Malaysian GP in March 1975 and by Kevin Bartlett in the Macau Grand Prix in November 1975. Then raced by Poon's wife, Diana Poon, from 1976 to 1979. At some point, the Brabham was badly damaged, and its tub has been rebuilt by new owner Neville McKay. Reported to be still owned by McKay but in pieces in 2004.
Driven by: Albert Poon, Graeme Lawrence, Kevin Bartlett and Diana Poon. First race: Batu Tiga, 15 Apr 1973. Total of 19 recorded races.
Craig Hill (Missassagua, Ontario, Canada) raced a white #2 Brabham BT40 in the Players Canadian Formula B series in 1973, entered by Fother Hill Ltd with sponsorship from Castrol GTX. Retained by Hill for 1974 and fitted with a Cosworth BDA engine for the new Formula Atlantic series, when it ran as #4. Unknown in 1975. It was bought from Opert Racing's Brian Robertson by Howard Kelly (Kingston, Ontario), and raced at the IMSA Formula Atlantic race at Road Atlanta in April 1976, then at a couple of later Players rounds in Canada. Kelly traded it to Jerry Jolly (Denver, CO) for a Lola T322/4 Formula Super Vee. Owners after Jolly are believed to have been George Gettel (Denver, CO) - so it would be the Brabham he raced in 1979 - then Sherry M Fagans in 1981, then Jim Christiansen and then Ron Doyle, who had been Fagans' mechanic at one stage. It was then owned by a man named Forrest Grove (Denver, CO) in 1984, and raced by him with a Mazda engine in ASR in 1985 and 1986. Grove won the MiDiv Regional title in ASR in this car in 1986. After Grove's death, it was acquired from his son by John Streeter (Ford Collins, CO) in 2009. Still with Streeter in March 2021.
Driven by: Craig Hill, Howard Kelly and George Gettel. First race: Westwood (R1), 27 May 1973. Total of 20 recorded races.
Al Lader (Gresham, Oregon) raced a #75 Brabham BT40 in the first two races of the 1973 Players Canadian Formula B series, winning both. He then wrecked the car in practice for the third round at Sanair. Lader quickly acquired a new car to replace it.
Driven by: Allan Lader. First race: Westwood (R1), 27 May 1973. Total of 2 recorded races.
Gilles Léger (Lachute, Quebec, Canada) raced a white/blue #72 Brabham BT40 in the 1973 Players Canadian Formula B series, entered by Giles Léger Racing Team. Léger bought a new March 74B for 1974, and the Brabham was next seen at Trois-Rivières in September 1974 when it was entered by Fred Opert Racing for Chris Gleason (Johnstown, PA) to drive. It was now in Formula Atlantic specification. Gleason also drove it at Watkins Glen in October 1974. Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: Gilles Léger and Chris Gleason. First race: Westwood (R1), 27 May 1973. Total of 9 recorded races.
Dan Carmichael (Columbus, OH) raced a #74 Brabham BT40 in Central Division SCCA Formula B in 1973. He raced the car in Formula B again in 1974, qualifying for the SCCA Runoffs, and again in 1975, when he won the CenDiv FB title. Carmichael acquired a March 75B for 1976, and the subsequent history of the Brabham is unknown.
Driven by: Dan Carmichael. First race: Road America, 17 Jun 1973. Total of 14 recorded races.
Brabham BT40s in 1974
In April 1974, Dennis Falconer's body design company Falconer Design produced a body conversion kit for the Brabham BT40 and BT41, incorporating a front radiator, full-width nose and "banana" wing.
Formula 2 cars
Of the F2 cars, the works car driven by John Watson and Wilson Fittipaldi (BT40/12) went to Eugenio Baturone; John Wingfield's BT40/14 went to Ray Mallock; Vittorio Venturi's BT40/19 went to Romano Martini ("Shangri-Là"); Hans Wittwer retained BT40/20; and the FINA-backed second works car (BT40/36) went to Tom O'Leary. Both CSAI school cars appear to have remained in Italy. One BT40 also raced in Japan in late 1974. The unraced car bought by Ed Reeves remains a mystery.
Formula B cars
Of the Formula B cars raced in 1973: the car raced by Bertil Roos (BT40/11?) in 1973 went to Bob Kime for FC in 1974; Brian Robertson's repaired BT40/13 was retained as a hire car for the Opert team; Chuck Dietrich's BT40/18 goes temporarily missing before reappearing with David Ralston in 1975; Al Lader's BT40/37 went to Ron Householder; Allan Lader short-lived first car is assumed a write-off; and Gilles Léger's car went to Chris Gleason. The other nine BT40 drivers all retained their cars: Doc Hartley (BT40/16), Ken Duclos (BT40/17), Ron Southern (BT40/22), Bill Eagles (BT40/24), Bill Mairs (BT40/30), Ted Titmas (whose BT40/33 which was still in England), and the unidentified cars of Mike Hall, Craig Hill and Dan Carmichael. Over in England, Graham Eden also retained his Formula Atlantic car (BT40/21) for Cyd Williams to drive.
The only mystery BT40 to appear in North America in 1974 was Norman Johnson's car in Texas. As he only appears to have had the car in 1974 and very early in 1975, it is possible that this was the ex-Chuck Dietrich BT40/18 before it went to David Ralston, but we must remember that there were one or two BT40s are still unaccounted for from 1973, and at least one of these may have been in the depths of SCCA regional racing in 1973 before being acquired by Johnson.
Brabham BT40s in Asia
Albert Poon and John MacDonald (BT40/35) both retained their cars, and were both at Macau at the beginning of December, so the car that Hiroshi Fushida raced at Suzuka in November must be a different car.
Norman W. Johnson (Simonton, TX) raced a Brabham BT40 in Southwest Division Formula B in 1974, replacing a Brabham BT29 he had raced for the previous three seasons. As his car was typically reported simply as a Brabham, we cannot yet be sure when he moved from the BT29 to the BT40 but the SCCA points table for 1974 gave his car as a BT40, so it is assumed here that he had it from the start of the 1974 SCCA season. It is even possible that he had it late in 1973, but the grid list for the SCCA Runoffs shows his car as the BT29. After scoring 17 points in 1974, he retained the car for 1975, scoring nine points for a class win in Houston Region's Armadillo Sprints SCCA National in March . He then retired from the Stuttgart National the following month and was not seen again in FB. Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: Norman Johnson. First race: Stuttgart Airport, 21 Apr 1974. Total of 3 recorded races.
Maurizio Flammini raced one of the CSAI Brabham BT40s at Mugello in July 1974, as the team's two March 742s were both in England. The car was red and fitted with a 1800cc Novamotor engine. It is not yet known which of the two cars he used.
Driven by: Maurizio Flammini. First race: Mugello (R6), 14 Jul 1974. Only one recorded race.
Brabham BT40s in 1975
From this point onwards, it makes more sense to track the cars according to where they were last seen, rather than their original formula.
Brabham BT40s in Europe
The ex-works BT40/12 was still in Spain in 1975; John Wingfield's BT40/14 was still running in British Formula Atlantic; the ex-Vittorio Venturi BT40/19 was on its way to "King"; Hans Wittwer was still running BT40/20; Graham Eden still had BT40/21 in Formula Atlantic; and Tom O'Leary was still racing the ex-works BT40/36 in Irish Formula Atlantic. There is nothing to suggest either of the CSAI school cars had left Italy. The unraced car bought by Ed Reeves is just as big a mystery as it ever was. As all these cars appear to have stayed in much the same place, the second BT40 that appeared in Japanese Formula 2 in 1975 is something of a puzzle. The most likely solution is that both BT40s had been in Japan all along, but only one of the two cars had been raced in 1974. If that is correct, then the nine F2 cars said by MRD to have been built would be: the five F2 cars that have raced regularly in Europe, plus the two CSAI F2 cars, plus two F2 cars in Japan. That would imply that the Ed Reeves F2 car had been repaired after its accident and sold on.
Brabham BT40s in North America
Of the 19 cars originally built for Formula B, 16 were in North America by 1975 with the other three being Graham Eden's BT40/21 in England and Albert Poon's car and John MacDonald's BT40/35 in Asia. Of these 16 North American cars, 13 can be tracked into 1975: the Bertil Roos car (BT40/11?) was with Gary Wallace; Brian Robertson's repaired BT40/13 was with Mike Rand; Doc Hartley retained BT40/16; Ken Duclos retained BT40/17; Chuck Dietrich's BT40/18 was with David Ralston; Ron Southern retained BT40/22; Bill Eagles' BT40/24 was in Barbados; Al Lader's BT40/37 was with Ron Householder; Bill Mairs's BT40/30 went to Mark Munroe; Ted Titmas' BT40/33 was on its way to the US from England; Dan Carmichael retained his unidentified car; Mike Hall's unidentified car was with John Elder in Minnesota; and Craig Hill's unidentified car was unknown in 1975 but popped up again with Howard Kelly in 1976. Norman Johnson retained his mystery BT40 for at least two races early in 1975, then it also disappeared.
Of the North American BT40s to race in 1974, the only one that cannot be tracked into 1975 was the unidentified ex-Gilles Léger/Chris Gleason car last seen when owned by Fred Opert Racing. Al Lader's first car had been written off and the final car was not traced in 1973 so is still a mystery. Paul S Chandler (Walnut Creek, CA) advertised a BT40 in August 1975, and Fred Opert advertised a BT40 in November 1975 which was said to be "8 races from New", so could well have been the Léger/Gleason car still with him.
Late in the 1975 season, Peter Robinson of Madison, Wisconsin, appeared with a Brabham at IRP in September. If this was the same Brabham he raced in 1976, it was a BT40, but it is unclear how this fits in. It is possible it was 'the Mike Hall car', which was in Minnesota in 1975, and was advertised by Prather Racing (Wheeling, IL) in November 1976. Wheeling is about 135 miles from Madison.
Brabham BT40s in Asia
Albert Poon acquired a new Chevron B29 for 1975, but his Brabham BT40 was retained and raced by Kevin Bartlett at Macau in November. John MacDonald drove his car at Penang in September, both cars still having Ford twin cam engines. In Japan, there were now two BT40s, both entered by Japan Racing Development: one with a BMW engine and one with a BDA.
Peter Robinson (Madison, Wisc) raced a Brabham in Formula B at the Indianapolis Raceway Park SCCA National in September 1975. In 1976, Robinson raced a Brabham BT40 at Brainerd in September 1976, and it seems likely this was the same car. He made further appearances in a FB Brabham in 1976 and 1977, before acquiring a newer Chevron B39 for 1978. Nothing more known.
Driven by: Peter Robinson. First race: Indianapolis Raceway Park, 21 Sep 1975. Total of 12 recorded races.
Brabham BT40s in 1976
Brabham BT40s in Europe
Of the F2 cars, the ex-works BT40/12 was still in Spain in 1976; John Wingfield's BT40/14 was last seen in August 1975; the ex-Vittorio Venturi BT40/19 with "King" in Sicily; Hans Wittwer was still running BT40/20; the Falconer-bodied ex-Graham Eden BT40/21 Formula Atlantic car was with David Winstanley, and Tom O'Leary was still racing the ex-works BT40/36 in Irish Formula Atlantic. There is nothing to suggest either of the CSAI school cars left Italy. So the only European BT40 missing at this time was John Wingfield's BT40/14.
Brabham BT40s in North America
In 1976, BT40/11 was still with Gary Wallace; BT40/13 was still with Mike Rand; BT40/16 was still with Doc Hartley; BT40/17 moved to Peter Gates; Ned Clark is believed to have had BT40/18; Ron Southern advertised his BT40/22 in January 1976; BT40/24 was in the Caribbean; BT40/30 was with Mark Munroe; BT40/33 was with Ted Titmas; and BT40/37 was with Ron Householder. Of the unidentified cars, John Elder's ex-Mike Hall car goes missing; and Howard Kelly had the ex-Craig Hill car at the start of the season; but the ex-Gilles Léger car had gone missing a year earlier and the ex-Dan Carmichael went missing after 1975.
Brabham BT40s in Asia
Albert Poon still had his BT40, but John MacDonald had acquired a Ralt, and his BT40 had not been seen since late 1975. The two Japanese BT40s, as noted above, were not seen after 1975.
Brabham BT40s from 1977 onwards
Brabham BT40s in Europe
Of the F2 cars, the ex-works BT40/12 was still with Eugenio Baturone in Spain in 1976; the ex-Vittorio Venturi BT40/19 had gone to "King" in Sicily and apparently stayed there; the ex-Hans Wittwer BT40/20 was now with Siegfried Grabher in Austria; and the ex-Tom O'Leary BT40/36 was with Gerry Kinnane for Irish Formula Atlantic. We can be confident that the CSAI school cars were still in Italy. So that leaves two BT40s last seen in England: John Wingfield's BT40/14 last seen in August 1975, and David Winstanley's Falconer-bodied BT40/21 last seen at the end of 1976.
Brabham BT40s in North America
In 1977, BT40/11 was still with Gary Wallace; BT40/13 was still with Mike Rand; BT40/16 was still with Doc Hartley; BT40/17 moved to Jon Sley; Ned Clark is believed to have had BT40/18; BT40/22 was on its way from Ron Southern to George Nolte; BT40/24 was in the Caribbean; BT40/30 was with Mark Munroe; BT40/33 was with John Angus; and BT40/37 was with Ron Householder. However, all four of the unidentified FB cars were missing by this time.
Brabham BT40s in Asia
All the BT40s in Asia had faded from sight by this time.
Bought from George Dixon (Norton Disney, near Lincoln) by Paul Hutson (Lincoln), and raced in libre racing from 1977 to 1979. When Hutson acquired it, it came with two noses, one wide, and one narrow. He used two engines in it, a 1600cc Lotus twin cam and a 1800cc Ford BDA. The car was sold to Channel Islander Mick Cataroche, who raced it with a 1800cc Brabham BT40 in hillclimbs at Le Val des Terres between 1980 and 1986. It was initially all white, and sponsored by Whistlers, but was later blue and sponsored by Sheppards & Chase. It was later bought by Chuck McCarty and exported to Italy some time in the 1980s. When advertised from Italy in 2009, it had a Hewand FT200 gearbox and fuel-injected Cosworth BDA engine. It still had stickers on it from the Pace Petroleum RAC National Hillclimb Championship of the early 1980s, and sponsorship from "Sheppards and Chase Members of the Stock Exchange". The main section of the bodywork had been cut back, implying it once had a very different nose, and had acquired a badly altered chassis plate reading "BT40-9". It does not have an AM (Arch Motors) number on the rear of the frame.
Driven by: Paul Hutson and Mick Cataroche. First race: Mallory Park, 18 Sep 1977. Total of 11 recorded races.
Barrie Dutnall (Gillingham, Kent) had a new car built for him by Ken Harrison around a Brabham BT40 monocoque over the 1980-81 winter. The car was fitted with the Buick V8 engine and suspension from Dutnall's previous BT30X, and was fitted with Falconer bodywork. He raced this car in libre and hillclimbs in 1981, but very few results are known. Some sources say that this was the car raced previously by John Hart, although this may be speculation, as both cars had Falconer bodywork. It is also said to be BT40/12, but this may also be speculative. The Dutnall car is then said to have gone to Simon Law, who hillclimbed it in 1982 and kept it until the engine blew up. Law was killed at the Brighton Speed Trials in 1993, after which the Brabham was stored until 2000. It then went to Steve Worrad (Whitchurch, Shropshire) as a restoration project but was not started, and in 2002 the whole project was sold to Peter Boel (Brisbane, Australia). In 2004, the car was in the process of restoration. Still owned by Boel in New Zealand in August 2020.
Driven by: Barrie Dutnall and Simon Law. First race: Gurston Down, 21 Jun 1981. Total of 2 recorded races.
A BT40 first known when it was bought from Giuseppi Lucchini (owner of BMS Scuderia Italia) by Giorgio Schon (Milan, Italy) in 1989. It is believed to be the second BT40 bought by Eugenio Dragoni for the CSAI drivers school. Schon sold it to Dave Rugh (Portland, OR) in September 1999, and from him it went to Gale Schour (Indianapolis, IN), then from Schour to Doug Mockett at auction in 2006. Mockett sold it to Jonathan Burke (Berkeley, CA) in March 2007, who raced it at the Monterey Motorsports Reunion in 2012 and in 2014, and in the CSRG "Charity Challenge at "Sonoma Raceway" in October 2016. Burke calls the car "BT40-15".
In addition to the above, unknown Brabham BT40s were driven by Jean-Pierre Jaussaud, Héctor Rebaque, Jon Milledge, Kiyoshi Misaki, Narcisco de la Merced, Alfred Irving, Gene Shimko, William Ray Frantz, Colin Richardson and Rodney Olson.
The story of Eugenio Dragoni arranging the acquisition of two Brabham BT40s for the CSAI school is covered in Autosprint No 73/39 page 6 (dated 24 September - 1 October 1973) and also in Autosprint No 73/44 page 12 (dated 29 October - 5 November 1973)
The first draft of these car histories was put together by Chris Townsend in 2004, and since then there has been valuable input from Bryan Miller, David McKinney, Steve Wilkinson, Dan Rear, Philippe Demeyer, Ted Walker, Steve Bay, Jeremy Jackson, Jeremy Hall, Simon Hadfield, Alan Brown, Tony Nicholson, Pete Brennan, Richard Young, Eli Solomon, Andrew Fellowes, Steve Griswold, Gary Jarlson, Douglas Brenner, Jonathan Burke, Richard Knox, RJ Nelkin, Mike Rand, Marc Bahner, Phil Franzone, Mike Spagnola, Collin Jackson, Marcus Pye, Paul Hutson, Peter Boel, John Streeter, Cameron MacArthur and John Hafkenschiel.
These histories last updated on .