BRABHAM F1 RACECARS
won the 1966 Formula 1 using a Weismann Locker and a special automatic low gear designed by Pete to give Jack and Denny Hulme the advantage
on standing starts . Jack and Denny and later Jacky Ickx would just need to select second, over-riding
first instantly and eliminating the time to go thru neutral and
select second. Denny Hulme then won the 1967 World Championship!
He and Jack were the strongest proponents of our
First Transverse gearbox destined to Nelson Piquet's Alfa Romeo powered F1
A switch in power train shelved this design , which was replaced by
a true "ground-effect" gearbox for the BT49
For the BT49, the motor was changed to a Cosworth and Pete Weismann
designed his second aero-dynamic transaxle to help Gordon revolutionize
F1 cars by making the first true tunnel cars.
Our BT49 Transverse
Transaxle compared to the BT47 Hewland Longitudinal Transaxle
at the same axle center! This is the top view of the two transaxles.
The width of ours in 8 in.
The smooth sides of the transaxle were the actual sides of the tunnel ahead of
the axles where the venturi effect was most important.
The axles are
positioned higher relative to the crank center, so under downforce
loading, the axles would run pretty much straight improving Cv
joint life considerably.
It also helped get the axles out of the airflow.
a special differential for Gordon Murray's stunning Championship
winner Brabam BT52.
The late Elio de Angelis' first test in the BT55 at Estoril, Protugal.
The first laydown engine Formula 1 car.
The original concept for
this ultra-low center of gravity car was the brain-child of Pete
Weismann way back in 1973 when he pursuaded Roman Slobodynskyj
(designer of the 1972 Gurney Eagle) to design the Laydown Lightning
for Indianapolis with an Offenhauser engine laid over. Unfortunately for
the Offy powered cars like the Lightning, the Cosworth Indy V8
was introduced in 1974 and the car never showed its true potential.
Then in 1985,
with the BMW 4cylinder turbo also out of breath, Pete commissioned his son Chris to build a 1/20th scale plastic
model using a Tamiya BT50 model as a base, to illustrate the concept
in 3D to Gordon Murray. The BT55 and the future of Formula 1 car
design evolved from our model!
The front of the car retained the BT50 form, and the back was
repackaged with the BMW straight 4 laid over, suspension, undertray,
radical coke-bottle body work, and a tidy balsa wood Z-shaped
Note the height difference of the side pods and the original upright
Gordon needed no convincing and the BT55 was born. The BMW turbo-charged
straight 4 cylinder engine was rotated to the left to 18 degrees
up from horizontal and moved over to the right for proper weight
distribution. The crankshaft was not on center with the car, but
the transmission was, so the axles would be the same length. The
case housed the very first 7 speed transaxle in F1 to make the most of the
narrow 1000 rev power range
The driver was practically lying down, which didn't bother the
drivers, so the car would have the lowest center of gravity possible,
while at the same time cleaning up the air to the rear wing, enabling
the BT55 to have a more efficient, smaller wing.
testing at Estoril in 1986
in the Brazilian GP
in the French GP
Ricardo in the
Ricardo in pre-season
car never won a race and Gordon was pushed out of Brabham that
year, Murray and Weismann teamed up again just two years later
to design 2 ultra-low CG cars inspired by this one, one for turbo-charged Honda
and one for the naturally-aspirated Honda,
and this time all the right pieces were in place to prove the
concept to the Flatlanders
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