Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon

The Complete History of Grand Prix Motor Racing by Adriano Cimarosti
Buy from Alibris

BRM - The Saga of British Racing Motors Vol. 1 : The Front Engined Cars 1945-60
Buy from Alibris

BRM: The Saga of British Racing Motors: Volume 2 -Spaceframe Cars 1959-1965
Buy from Alibris

BRM: The Saga of British Racing Motors: Volume 3: Monocoque Cars 1962-1968
Buy from Alibris

F. Gordon Crosby - Nazzaro wins the French GP at 42

British Racing Motors
BRM After Ferrari's success in 1961 the story would be completely different the next year. As is their wont at Ferrari their 1962 season suffered due to internal politics that exploded into a major rebellion at the factory that saw a mass walkout of engineers and technical staff including their chief engineer and team manager. The 1962 season would be fought with reworked 1961 cars driven chiefly by Phil Hill and supported by Willy Mairesse, Ricardo Rodriguez, Giancarlo Baghetti and Lorenzo Bandini in the face of a strengthened British and German challenge. The German challenge was not in the form of either Mercedes or Auto Union but Porsche. Using a flat eight air-cooled engine which was mounted to a much improved tubular chassis they were ably driven by American Dan Gurney and popular Swedish driver Jo Bonnier. At Lotus Innes Ireland was unceremoniously replaced with Trevor Taylor to partner Colin's "new boy" Jimmy Clark. To match his new star Chapman created the Type 25 using a monocoque chassis which resulted in the driver siting in an almost bathtub like structure. This type of construction allowed for increased rigidity and reduced weight, two of the most important aspects in chassis design. BRM had Graham Hill and Richie Ginther as numbers 1 and 2 respectively while Cooper had Bruce McLaren and Tony Maggs. Brabham, who had left Cooper, was busily preparing his own cars that would debut later in the season.

Dan GurneyThe season's opening race was at Zandvoort, Holland. The raced opened with Clark, Gurney and Graham Hill battling for the lead. Mechanical failures would remove his two protagonists leaving Hill to win his first Grand Prix and BRM only their second. At the next race in Monaco both Hill and Clark looked set to resume their fight but soon both of their cars would let them down. Bruce McLaren went on to claim the victory followed by Phil Hill in the Ferrari. The Belgian Grand Prix at Spa would be remembered as the site of Jimmy Clark's maiden victory. Ever since he began in Formula 1 it was not a question of if, but only when he would reach the top step of the podium.

The French Grand Prix was held at Rouen in Normandy. The first three positions on the grid were taken by Clark on the pole followed by Hill and McLaren. Ferrari was forced to withdraw from the race and when all the leaders suffered from mechanical trouble it was an opportunistic Dan Gurney who claimed a maiden victory for himself and for Porsche. Next up was the British Grand Prix held at Aintree. Ferrari was only able to enter one car which was driven by Phil Hill but he was unable to climb higher than 9th place when he was forced to retire with mechanical trouble. The crowd saw a race long duel between Clark and ex-motorcycle champion John Surtees in a Lola. But after losing second gear Surtees had to settle for second place. With his second win of the season, Clark was now in a tie with Graham Hill for the Championship.

Graham Hill, winner of the 1962 German Grand PrixThe German Grand Prix at the famous Nurburgring saw Porsche determined to win the race in front of their home crowd. They did not disappoint their fans when Dan Gurney claimed pole position 3 seconds clear of Graham Hill's BRM and ten seconds faster than the previous record held by Phil Hill in a Ferrari. The front of the grid was occupied by five different carmakers - Porsche, BRM, Lotus, Lola and Cooper, the race had all of the ingredients of becoming a classic. The drivers whose names would become legends, were Gurney, Hill, Clark, Surtees and McLaren. The weather was such that would chill even the most ardent driver's heart. With several minor landslides along the 14-mile track visibility dropped to less than 100 yards or the distance a race car would travel in just over one second. The start of the race was postponed for an hour to allow flood water on the track to subside. After circulating the track on their warm-up reconnaissance lap the cars warily formed on the grid. The crowds exceeding 350,000 even in the face of the atrocious conditions stood in silence in memory of their fallen hero, Wolfgang von Tripps. Then the flag dropped and the cars thundered away, that is all except for Clark's Lotus which stalled on the grid but miraculously was not collected by a back-marker. At the end of the first lap Gurney's silver Porsche led, much to the satisfaction of the assembled dignitaries. But by the second lap Graham Hill was able to force his way into the lead. And so it remained for this battle between three great drivers at the top of their game with never more than 5 seconds separating the first and third cars. On a day when even the slightest mistake would mean disaster not a wheel was put wrong by this trio. Surtees who had passed Gurney was 3.5 seconds behind Hill with the taste of victory in his mouth he looked for the slightest opportunity to pounce. Setting himself up to slingshot past the leader on the last lap he was more determined than ever that the day would be his. Just at the decisive moment when he would make his move they came upon a lapped car and Hill was just able to reach the line 2.5 seconds in front of the raging Surtees.

Graham HillWith three races left in the Championship the turning point would come in the next race at Monza. The two leaders in the title fight were first and second on the grid. Clark surged into the lead at the drop of the flag but by the time the cars came around for the completion of the first lap the BRM of Graham Hill was in the lead. The third time around the green Lotus was nowhere to be seen, that is if you were looking for it on the track rather than back at its pit. Out with a seized transmission Clark could only watch his friend and rival Hill raced to a solid win and claimed a commanding lead in the Championship. Ginther in the other BRM was able to make it 1-2 for the team from Bourne.

After fifteen years and numerous setbacks that at times led to public ridicule, the championship was in their grasp. Unfortunately for them nobody had informed the Scotsman Clark that all was lost and after a convincing win at the United States Grand Prix the title would be settled in South Africa. Hill, who enjoyed a nine point lead on his rival had earned the maximum points allowed based on his complete races but Clark could still take the Championship on victories. And so it was that the failure of a 50 cent piece of hardware ended Clark's Championship hopes in East London and gave the crown to Hill. Racing is all about skill mixed in with preparation and a little bit of luck and no one begrudged the new Champion on that day. At thirty-three, after six years of racing and only nine years from receiving his first driver's license Graham Hill became England's most popular champion. Starting as a mechanic earning 1£ a day he reached racing's highest goal, Formula 1 World Champion.

Be sure to visit our Auto Racing Book Store
Mon Ami Mate by Chris Nixon A Racing Motorist  by S.C.H. Davis Gentlemen, Start Your Engines by Wilbur Shaw Grands Prix 1934-1939 by Rodney Walkerley Full Throttle by Tim Birkin Auto Union V16 - A Technical Appraisal by Ian Bamsey Sir Henry Segrave by Cyril Posthumus Managing a Legend by Robert Edwards It was Fun!: My Fifty Years of High Performance Power and Glory by Wiliam Court My Cars, My Career by Stirling Moss