The Ex – Dan Gurney, Only International Race Winning
1960 BRM P48 Formula 1
Few names in Formula 1 history evoke the same feeling of history, nostalgia and excitement as BRM. The brainchild of two men, Raymond Mays and Peter Berthon, British Racing Motors or BRM became what was effectively seen as the British national Formula 1 outfit in the post-War era.
The BRM Story
BRM arrived on the Grand Prix scene with one of the most ambitious Grand Prix car designs of all time. As the dust settled in 1947, Mays and Berthon planned to build an outstanding Grand Prix machine to take on the likes of Alfa Romeo and Mercedes-Benz. This resulted in what was to be a highly advanced design and extensive engineering exercise. It was penned with a 1,500cc V16 engine promising to deliver 400hp. The project needed large amounts of funding, however, if it was to become a reality. Mays went to several of the leading figures in the domestic British motor industry and the British Motor Racing Research Trust was formed.
The BRM had captured the imagination of the British public and had been hailed as ‘Britain’s Greatest Racing Car’ in the press exposure leading up to its debut. However, problems were frequent and complex. At Barcelona in 1950, Parnell and Walker gave the world a glance at the V16’s speed capabilities, topping the 185 mph mark. Despite the promise, by the time the 1,500cc Formula 1 litre formula ended in 1953, the V16 had yet to finish a Grand Prix.
The project folded up in 1953, and the outfit went to the open market. After receiving seven bids, it was A.E. Owen of the Owen Organisation who bought BRM as a whole. Under Ernest Owen’s patronage, the fortunes of BRM gradually turned around.
Berthon was instructed to design a new four cylinder BRM for the new 2,500cc Formula 1 regulations of 1955. Having learnt the difficulties of an overly complex design with the V16, the new engine was meant to be simpler and in theory, trouble free. The engine featured aluminium cylinder block and head castings, twin-over-head camshafts and over-square bore and stroke with very large diameter pistons working in a short stroke. Twin magnetos provided spark, while two very large 58 DCO Weber carburettors delivered the fuel and air. Power was cited as being in excess of 250hp.
The new car was known as the Type 25, or P25. With a light but strong space frame chassis, the engine was mounted conventionally in front of the driver, with a rear transaxle unit transferring power to the wheels. Suspension was double wishbone with coil over dampers on the front, and sliding de Dion axle on the rear.
Headaches were still felt, however. Despite lap charts confirming the BRM as being the fastest car racing as long as it circulated, reliability was tiresome. 1959 brought improvements with engine development, and Dunlop were tasked with curing brake faults that were experienced.
Stirling Moss tested the result at Zandvoort and completed a run of 105 laps. In doing so, he lowered the previous record held by the Vanwall by two seconds. Success finally came to BRM in the Dutch Grand Prix where Jo Bonnier came out on top at the conclusion of a hard fought race, to hold off pressure from Moss and Brabham in their Coopers.
The BRM P48
At Monza in September 1959, the new rear engined BRM design broke cover for the first time. Utilising the same engine as the P25, the new P48 prototype was smaller and lighter than it’s predecessor, reductions aimed by Peter Berthon as being as much as 3 square foot less frontal area and 50kg in weight. The new P48 was hastily constructed at Folkingham and to aid construction one of the P25s, 256 Ex – Behra, was dismantled to provide one car set of usable components. Furthermore, the entire front section of 256’s chassis was used within the P48 prototype, complete with front suspension assemblies. At the rear, independent suspension of a strut type with bottom wishbone was introduced.
Having only been shaken down at Folkingham, 481 ran at Monza both before and after the Grand Prix in six days of testing. Driven by Bonnier, Schell and Flockhart, the drivers all yielded different feedback but a theme was apparent: good potential, several issues to address. On the return from Italy, typically detailed reports were written by Tony Rudd, and can be read further in Doug Nye’s excellent books ‘BRM: The Saga of British Racing Motors’.
Extensive testing of the new model continued at Goodwood with Flockhart and Graham Hill, having moved from Lotus whose 16 had shown pace but proven unreliable. Progress was made and the P48 began to handle in a manner found to be acceptable and more consistent by the drivers.
The first production P48, chassis 482, was completed in March 1960 with a number of parts originating from the one of the P25s, and was followed by the second production P48 chassis, 483, completed in time for the models debut race at the Easter Monday Goodwood in April. Hill drove 482, with other new recruit Dan Gurney in 483, and Bonnier in P25, 258. Gurney clashed with Salvadori’s Cooper leading to their retirement, while Hill went on to finish 5th with Bonnier sixth in the P25’s final frontline race.
The development of the P48 continued to progress with particular gains found in the raising of the rear roll centre, and addition of a rear anti-roll bar proved to be vital. Results also improved with Bonnier and Gurney qualifying 2nd and 3rd respectively at Silverstone in May for the International Trophy. Bonnier led the race from the start but both retired leaving Hill to come through from eighth on the grid to finish a fine third.
The World Championship debut for the P48 came in Monte Carlo at the Monaco Grand Prix in late May. Bonnier qualified 5th in 484, Hill 6th in 482 and Gurney down in 14th with 483. Bonnier had a strong showing, leading in the early stages before both he and Gurney both retired with rear upright failures and Hill’s race was ended due to accident.
Next was to Zandvoort for the Dutch Grand Prix in June. The three BRMs qualified in consecutive order; Bonnier was 4th with 484, Hill was 5th in the new 485 and Gurney was 6th in 483. Both Bonnier and Gurney retired, while Hill again came home third behind Brabham’s Cooper and Ireland’s Lotus.
At Spa-Francorchamps for the Belgium Grand Prix, Bonnier and Hill used the cars they had at Zandvoort, while Gurney drove 482. Hill was the highest qualifier in 5th and made great progress, leading the race before joining Bonnier and Gurney in retirement.
The trio moved on to Reims for the French Grand Prix on the first weekend of July with the same chassis as had been employed at the previous two Grand Prix. Hill placed the highest with a time to put him third on the grid, with Gurney seventh and Bonnier tenth.
Chassis 486, this car
At Silverstone for the British Grand Prix, Gurney was assigned a new chassis, number 486. Featuring the various revisions developed by the BRM team over the season to this point, 486 also sported the new ‘Norris’ style nose which had been analysed by aerodynamicists, the Norris Brothers. After looking into various ideas of pontoons, fins and streamlined bodies, a revised, narrower nose aperture styled in the magnesium Elektron bodywork was the result.
Gurney tested 486 alongside 482, then qualified 486 in sixth place for the Grand Prix. At the conclusion of race distance, he was classified 10th with a broken gear lever broke. Hill had a tremendous run having stalled on the grid, he came through from last to first before spinning out at Copse. This exhibition of speed brought a high to the BRM team.
The next outing for 486 was at Oporto for the Portuguese Grand Prix where Gurney drove once more. Gurney topped the time sheets in practice ahead of Stirling Moss’ Rob Walker Lotus 18, well under the 1958 lap record of Mike Hawthorn’s Ferrari by just under five seconds. Gurney showed strong pace with 486 again on Saturday, improving his time by another two seconds at 2:25.63, only to be beaten to pole by multiple motorcycle World Champion John Surtees in his works Lotus.
From the start, Gurney took the BRM straight into the lead down the long straight. On the second lap, Brabham tried to make his way past in the Cooper into the hairpin, but was left with no choice other than to use the escape road. By the fifth lap, Gurney had extended his first BRM Grand Prix lead and lowered the lap record to 2:28.53, with Surtees giving chase in second and Moss in third.
On lap six the lead was up to five seconds, and before long Surtees began to close the gap. By lap ten, the engine in 486 had audibly lost its edge, and Gurney dropped back to fifth before retiring in the pits on lap 25 with valve gear issues, bringing an end to what had been a tremendous race for Gurney and 486.
486 went to the Lombank Trophy at Snetterton as the spare car, but was back in cation again the following weekend at Oulton Park for the Gold Cup. Gurney qualified eighth and then made his way up to finish sixth.
486 was in the mean time prepared for the United States Grand Prix at Riverside in California, held in November 1960. This was to be the BRM team’s North American debut, having not made the journey for the inaugural World Championship qualifying Grand Prix at Sebring the year before. All three drivers were present, with three cars including this car, 486, being shipped out. U.S. Customs were apparently bemused to find the hand luggage of the team members to contain several small coil springs. Finally, the modification to coil type valve springs from the problematic hair-pin type was to be made.
Gurney again drove 486, and noted after first practice that it was afflicted by excessive understeer. Team manager Tony Rudd recalled how he was terrified that the team may run out of serviceable engines through extensive testing mileage, but the appearance in the pits of Playboy magazine centrefold of the month, June Wilkinson, soon distracted the drivers attention away from the track!
The official BRM team report recorded sympathetically that Gurney was unwell with ‘an upset tummy’ on the Friday morning, but nevertheless set second best of the team’s times in first practice. He improved to set a 1:55.2 to take third place, and the front row spot in his home Grand Prix, alongside Moss’ Rob Walker Lotus and Brabham’s Works Cooper. Rudd’s report to Alfred Owen described the team tactics: “Gurney to challenge for lead with Bonnier in support.”
Off the startline, Gurney did indeed challenge Moss for the lead, with Bonnier in his sister P48 third. Gurney kept the pressure on Moss, keeping within five seconds of the leader, when on lap 18 a core plug on the engine failed equalling retirement. Gurney’s own report of the last World Championship race in the 2.5 litre era read “Unusual exhaust noise early on – believe pipe split – was saving brakes and could have gone much faster, also endeavouring to save engine changing up at 7,200rpm.”
From Riverside the cars were prepped for the Tasman tour and 486 had the blown core plug repaired. In reflecting after the GP, the drivers commented on how they agreed the roadholding was equal, if not superior to any other car racing, a view confirmed by Surtees, Salvadori, Ireland and McLaren. They also commented that if the brakes were used hard they could outbreak a Lotus and were as good if not better than the Works Coopers.
Rudd had calculated that the mean Riverside lap time for the P48s was faster than that of Cooper and Lotus, meaning that on paper the BRM P48 ended the 1960 World Championship season as the fastest team in Formula 1.
The first race in the Tasman tour was the New Zealand Grand Prix at Ardmore near Auckland. Gurney and Hill practiced to familiarise themselves with the circuit, and by the end of the first session their best times were 1:24.0 and 1:26.4 respectively, while local man Bruce McLaren’s best was 1:22.4. The following day, the times improved and Gurney clocked 1:22.6 which was officially logged as 1:20.8. He reported “Car going really well, could go faster but have to work hard…”. He improved again to 1:21.4, and after practice it was decided that the team would run BPK alcohol the next day.
In the heats, Gurney and Hill were instructed by Rudd to save their cars for the final and watch the revs with the tailwind. Gurney took third in his race and lined up on the third row for the final.
Both P48s had poor starts, with Gurney coasting into the pits with issues selecting third and fourth gears. When all were found to be there, he rejoined the race and went on to lap over a second faster than everyone else, and pulled clear of race leader Moss who was nearly a lap ahead. As others fell by the wayside, Gurney worked his way up to fourth until he was forced to retire at the pits with a head sealant failure.
From Auckland the cars and equipment were loaded to sail to Sydney, Australia, where they would be met by the mechanics and taken to the next round of the tour at Warwick Farm. After testing on the first day, extra venting was added to contract the extreme heat in the cockpits. An Australian magazine noted “Gurney, in particular, looked to be in his element, slamming his car around the course as if he had been brought up there…”.
Gurney lined up on the front row in 486 for the Warwick Farm 100 with Moss and Hill alongside. Moss set off in the lead, with Hill second and Gurney third. On lap six, the bottom seam on Hill’s left hand fuel tank burst, with its contents being emptied onto the front of 486 which was in close succession behind. While Hill retired, Gurney continued in second place until he to was forced to retire with a broken fule pipe.
From Warwick Farm the team travelled the 1100 miles to the RAAF Ballarat circuit. At RAAF Ballarat, they set up shop in one of the hangars and transport workshops loaned to them by Wing-Commander Fairbanks. Both cars then had their engines changed for fresh units. In practice on the Friday, Gurney broke his gear lever (not for the first time), which was then re-welded and reinforced ready for the next day.
However, early on Saturday morning at about 2am, the hangar was broken into and 486, Gurney’s car, was taken away. The break in was detected, the four men later taken into custody, and when the BRM mechanics were called to the airfield, they found 486 a mile away undamaged but covered with straw bales! They towed it back to the hangar, gave it a check over and Gurney went on to race it without issue.
The Ballarat meeting was run with two 18 mile heats qualifying drivers for the 100 mile final. The organisers specified each race to have a dummy start, which left the two BRMs with slipping clutches. Despite this, both Hill and Gurney won their respective heats, Gurney at the wheel of 486 once more. Both clutches were then changed by the team overnight in preparation for the final the next day.
Gurney had been the faster heat winner, so lined up in pole position for the final, with Hill on the second row in the sister P48. Gurney rocketed away from the start into the lead, a lead he kept throughout the race to take his first win for BRM, in what would be his last race for the manufacturer, siding to drive for Porsche the following season. He was delighted: “That was the only time I ever finished a proper race in a BRM – it was nice to win it…”. 486’s Ballarat victory was taken in both car and driver’s last race for the works BRM team and it would also prove to be the only international race victory for the P48.
Engine 2586, this engine
The history of this engine, 2586, merits this section, given the cornerstone part of the BRM 2.5-litre story that it played. The cylinder head at least appears to originate from 1956 with the stamping 2562 (Type 25, 1956, 2) visible underneath the 2586. It would appear that BRM’s race records from 1956 did not record the engine number used in each chassis, although with the help of Doug Nye and BRM records, it may be possible to shed more light.
Doug describes in his book, ‘BRM: The Saga of British Racing Motors, Volume 1’, how engine 2562 was fitted into the ‘Hawthorn Special’, chassis 251 which had been modified to be long wheelbase ahead of testing at Monza. Tony Brooks was tasked with driving duties, and the BRM running log describes how ‘Car No. 1’ pulled 174mph on the straight. Over the following days, chassis 251, with engine 2562 was tested by Ron Flockhart and Roy Salvadori and completed 293 miles with a number of changes trialled.
The over stamping with engine number 2586 would probably have come when the engine was upgraded to 1958 specification. Having learnt lessons with the development of the 1958 specification engines, 2586 was described as being brand-new ‘modified to latest technique’ in time for Oporto in August, where it went as a spare for the team. (The initial version of the 1958 engines featured five-bearing crankshafts but examination showed that they suffered from great frictional losses and 2586, the second last of the 1958 engine produced, was run with a four-bearing crank).
Engine 2586 would make its race debut at Monza in September for the Italian Grand Prix, in chassis 256 driven by Jean Behra. He qualified 8th and was running in 2nd place, until issues with hydraulic systems forced retirement in the race which could have conceivably cost BRM their first Grand Prix win.
Following the conclusion of the 1958 Grand Prix season, engine 2586 was fitted into chassis 259, the latest P25 to be produced in preparation for a series of races in the southern hemisphere which would later become the Tasman Series. Driven by Ron Flockhart at the first round at Ardmore for the New Zealand Grand Prix in January 1959, he qualified second for the race. He went on to win the second heat, setting fastest lap in the process. For the main race, he started on pole, but was delayed at the start and ran third before oil system failure caused retirement on lap 23.
Undamaged by any lack of lubrication, engine 2586 remained in chassis 259 for the Lady Wigram Trophy at Christchurch later in January. Again Flockhart shone in practice, taking pole position ahead of the Works Coopers of relative locals Jack Brabham and Bruce McLaren. After a perfect start, Flockhart completed the first lap with a 1.8 second lead over Brabham. After an intense battle with Brabham in his Cooper, Flockhart went on to win by 2.7 seconds. BRM became a winner in New Zealand with Flockhart and engine 2586.
From Christchurch to Invercargill, also on the south island of New Zealand. A record entry was in attendance. Flockhart again lined up in pole position for the main race with engine 2586. After a poor start, he fought back through the field to take a strong second to McLaren, who took his first International win on home soil.
Back at home, the teams at both Bourne and Folkingham were focused on further development of the P25 over the winter before the 1959 season. Two new chassis were made, 2510 and 2511.
At Silverstone on the first weekend of May for the BRDC International Trophy, engine 2586 was fitted into chassis 256 for Stirling Moss to drive. He immediately starred in Thursday practice, lapping just 0.2 seconds off the existing lap record, and a second faster than Flockhart. In fact, he was faster than the Works Ferraris and Aston Martins as well. On the Friday, Moss drove both Type 25s to equal times, a full 1.4 seconds under the lap record. Moss took pole position with chassis 256 and engine 2586, 0.8 seconds ahead of Tony Brooks’ Works Ferrari.
Moss commented that he preferred the handling of 2510 over 256, but the engine, 2586, in 256 was excellent. As such he asked the team to put engine 2586 into chassis 2510 for him to race the next day. Moss battled with Brabham for the lead before he was forced to retire with brake failure.
For the Monaco Grand Prix a week later, engine 2586 was fitted back into chassis 256 for Jo Bonnier to drive, where he qualified 7th and fastest of the BRM team. In the race he held fifth place until suffering brake failure which caused his retirement.
Following Monaco and the repeated brake failures which affected the team on so many occasions, Alfred Owen had given the use of two cars for the BRP team. Engine 2586 was this time fitted in chassis 259, and was piloted by Harry Schell who qualified in sixth position. Schell ran fourth but his race was cut short when the gearbox seized on lap 46 while his team mate Bonnier would go on to take the first Grand Prix victory for BRM and the only for the P25.
The next outing for 2586 was the French Grand Prix at Reims. This time in chassis 257 and again driven by Schell, he qualified 9th and finished 7th in the race.
At the British Grand Prix, held at Aintree in July, Schell again used his favourite chassis 257 and engine 2586. He qualified on the front row in third position, well ahead of Bonnier, Flockhart and Moss in the other BRMs. Initially running second he went on to take forth. Aintree was the last Grand Prix which engine 2586 completed in a P25, as it was used in the development of the new rear engined prototype, which would become know as the P48. Chassis 481 was initially fitted with a five bearing crank engine, with 4 bearing crank engine 2586 present at the initial September Monza tests, and fitted after the second of six days.
Following the initial tests at Monza, several developments were made to 481, and engine 2586 was refitted in time for the next test at Goodwood. After running well, it was removed to make place for the latest specification of engine, while it was itself apparently updated to 1960 specification. Engine 2586 was then fitted into the first production P48, chassis 482, in time for its race debut at Goodwood in the International 100 race for the Glover Trophy with Graham Hill in April 1960.
Hill qualified 9th in the new car, and went on to finish fifth in the first race finish for the new rear engined P48. From Goodwood, the team tested chassis 482 at Snetterton with Hill and Gurney. A rear anti-roll bar was added for the first time which proved to be a game changing step, making the handling a considerable amount better in the driver’s opinions.
At Silverstone in May for the International Trophy, Hill again raced chassis 482 with engine 2586. After qualifying 8th in the wet with a slipping clutch, Hill made his way through the pack in the race to finish a fine third. Engine 2586 was not present in a car at the Monaco Grand Prix, but returned to Zandvoort in June when fitted in chassis 484 for Bonnier where he qualified in fourth but crashed in the race.
Engine 2586 then missed the Belgium Grand Prix, and was fitted back into chassis 482 for the French Grand Prix at Reims to be driven by Gurney. He qualified seventh, and ran as high as fourth before on the 18th lap retirement was forced by broken valve springs.
Engine 2586 remained in chassis 482 at the British Grand Prix, where it was used as the spare car and tested by Gurney for 30 miles running. Once more, engine 2586 and chassis 482 were the spares at the Portuguese Grand Prix, where Gurney again tested it for only 23 miles.
On returning to base, engine 2586 was removed from chassis 482 and prepared for to be fitted into Tony Rudd’s new independent rear suspension Mark II P48, chassis 487, ready for testing. While in chassis 487, the engine was also fitted with fuel injection as insisted on by engine designer Peter Berthon.
After being tested by Hill, the new chassis 487 was part of the BRM line up at the Lombank Trophy at Snetterton in September. Hill qualified 487 and engine 2586 on pole position before a misfire developed in morning warm-up, and he instead raced the older chassis, 485. Gurney took over the controls of chassis 487, but the fuel injection was temperamental to start and he could not get it going for the race.
Chassis 487 was then refitted with a carburated engine for Hill to race at Oulton Park for the Gold Cup. Following Oulton, engine 2586 was reinstalled with 2 inch injector bodies and tested by Hill at Silverstone in November. Engine 2586 would then remain fitted into chassis 487 over the winter, and lined up on the grid at Goodwood in April 1961 with Tony Brooks, making his return to BRM. Brooks qualified 4th and on the front row next to team mate Hill. In the race he went on to finish sixth, in what would be the last contemporary race for engine 2586.
It is impressive to note that having been derived from early 1956 engine 2562 which was fitted into the first Type 25, 2586 was also that used in the P48 prototype and moreover the P48 MkII prototype. 2586 proved itself to be a very competitive engine. Over its apparent five years of use it took; 6 pole positions, 6 podiums and 2 wins. The list of drivers who used it is also impressive; Jean Behra, Ron Flockhart, Stirling Moss, Jo Bonnier, Harry Schell, Graham Hill, Dan Gurney and Tony Brooks.
Life after BRM
In 1962, the Ex – Gurney Ballarat winning chassis, 486, was sold by BRM to Scottish garage proprietor and hillclimber Ray Fielding. Having completed some 1,642.96 miles to that point, 486 was supplied to Fielding with engine 2586. Fielding debuted 486 at Prescott for the opening round of the 1962 RAC Hillclimb Championship. He got off on the right foot with the now metallic blue 486, setting third fastest time of the day just 0.5 seconds behind winner Tony Marsh in 484.
At Wiscombe Park, on the first occasion it had held a round of the RAC Championship, Fielding turned the tables on Marsh and set the Fastest Time of Day making the long trip from Inverness worthwhile. The next round was rather closer to Fielding’s home, with it being held at Bo’ness in Scotland. This time Fielding was beaten to third place and Marsh set FTD.
Another Scottish based round followed at Rest-and-be-Thankful, where Fielding was again third fastest. Next was to Westbrook Hay and Fielding set third fastest time with 486. At Craigantlet in Ulster, Ireland, it was fourth, and at Shelsley Walsh in August with wet conditions Fielding was fifth. In the final round of the 1962 RAC Championship at Prescott, Fielding again went well and claimed second in the championship, just five points behind the winner.
In mid 1963, 486 was sold by Fielding via intermediate owner Sir John Townley to Yorkshireman Brian Waddilove. Waddilove made his single-seater debut in 486 at Harewood in September 1963. Entered under B. Waterhouse & Sons Ltd, Waddilove set sixth fastest time in the racing car class. At Oliver’s Mount near Scarborough, Waddilove ran ‘spectacularly’ there at the late season televised meeting which used part of the motorcycle circuit.
At the beginning of the following season on Easter Sunday in late March, 486 was driven by Greg Wood in the 16 lap Daily Mirror Trophy handicap race at Rufforth. Wood proceeded to win the race and also lined up for an accompanying Formula Libre race. Starting as the favourite, Wood and 486 retired on the first lap. Wood had been suitably impressed by Waddilove’s 486 and bought a BRM of his own later on.
On the 12th April 1964, Waddilove drove 486 at Harewood and had a not inconsiderable accident. Greg Wood remembered: “Two weeks earlier we’d set up the car for circuit racing at Rufforth and Brian tackled Harewood without changing the settings…” Waddilove had lost control under braking for the last corner and hit the wooden fencing. The impact removed the left front wheel and damaged the nose part of the bodywork.
486 was then sold to Mike Stow, by now repaired. The work on the chassis’ left front corner was done so well that it is thought that it may well have been done by one or more of Stan Hope’s original Bourne build team, and the by now white bodywork featured a removable nose as a result. Stow planned to use the engine and gearbox from 486 in his Bourne supported P 25 recreation, which pre-dated those of Tom Wheatcroft by some time.
The current owner bought both 486 and the part finished P25 project from Stow in the early 1970s and has kept them since. While the Type 25 project was completed with significant input and backing from the Owen Organisation and Bourne, 486 remained unrestored until around 2010. Having raced the P25 successfully in historic racing over multiple decades, engine 2586 was reunited with 486 in its restoration.
Undertaken by BRM experts Hall & Hall, the restoration of 486 to its period glory has truly been with no expense spared. With the whole chassis in good and useable condition, it was refinished and restored to the condition which it is today. Where a part was deemed unusable or missing, replacements were either found in Hall & Hall’s BRM parts inventory or re-manufactured with the use of the original drawings.
Engine 2586, which had continue to function well in the P25, was rebuilt to bring it back to fresh condition. A new and correct gearbox was commissioned and made by Hall & Hall, while the original body showing all of the paint colours used through its life was set to one side for posterity and a complete new version in the correct Elektron magnesium sheet was made.
The restoration of 486 was completed in 2018 and shaken down by Rob Hall before going to the Silverstone Classic to run with the HGPCA. After a successful practice day, it was found that engine to gearbox studs had begun to shear and the entry was withdrawn. Having been rectified, another shake down test was undertaken in preparation for 486’s historic racing debut at the Goodwood Revival.
Running in the Richmond and Gordon Trophy race, 486 qualified sixth with our own Ben Mitchell at the wheel. In the race itself, after a safety car period 486 showed very well, immersed in the fight for third position. The braking ability was found to be surprisingly effective, and the nature of the engine to perform best in mid to high range power over low range torque as felt by the Works drivers of the day, could be understood. 486 finished a close 5th at the chequered flag, having set the 3rd fastest lap time of 1:26.035. With the preparation and track support of Hall & Hall, 486 ran faultlessly.
BRM P48, chassis 486 and engine 2586 form a huge part of the 2.5-litre BRM story. Both car and engine were at the forefront of Grand Prix racing and handled by some of the best names in the business of their time. Particularly significant is Gurney’s win with 486 at Ballarat which was to be the only International race victory for the P48 model, and in Gurney’s last race for the great British manufacturer. Today 486 is in impeccable condition having been restored so thoroughly by BRM experts Hall & Hall. Remaining period correct, it truly is a rare opportunity to own and experience such a tangible corner-stone of BRM history.