Jack Brabham 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 Locker.


Nelson Piquet Bt48

First Transverse gearbox destined to Nelson Piquet's Alfa Romeo powered F1 Brabham

A switch in power train shelved this design , which was replaced by a true "ground-effect" gearbox for the BT49  


Zunino 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.


Pete designed a special differential for Gordon Murray's stunning Championship winner Brabam BT52.


Derek Warwick Bt55

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!

BT55 Proposal

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 transaxle.
Note the height difference of the side pods and the original upright seating position.

BT55 Model

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

BT55 Transaxle

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.


Ricardo Patrese testing at Estoril in 1986

Derick Warwick at Silverstone

Ricardo Patese in the Brazilian GP

Ricardo Patrese in the French GP

Ricardo in the Monaco GP

Ricardo in pre-season testing


Although the 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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