This BRM P207/1 is one of two Formula One chassis built in 1977 and was very much the swansong for the famous British marque. It was the the last BRM F1 car to qualify for and start in a Grand Prix (the Brazilian GP in January 2007 in the hands of Australian Larry Perkins).
British Racing Motors (BRM) was founded back in 1945 by Raymond Mays and Peter Berthon. It participated in 197 Grand Prix between 1951 and 1977, winning a total of 17 Grand Prix and one constructors’ title in 1962 when Graham Hill became world champion.
The BRM P207 was designed by Len Terry for the 1977 Formula One season and powered by a 3.0-litre V12 engine, with a claimed output of 488bhp. It looks fast but was quite the opposite, only qualifying once out of nine GP entries.
It’s reported that the car failed to appear at the season opening Argentine Grand Prix because it was too wide to fit in the hold of the aircraft that was going to transport it to South America.
This P207/1 was driven by Larry Perkins in the second F1 GP of the season in Brazil but retired on the opening lap due to overheating. Its qualifying time was six seconds slower than that of the second-to-last starter.
It is the second BRM F1 car bought and shipped to New Zealand by SAS Autoparts MSC F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series regular Peter Burson. Burson’s link to BRM’s is through his business, TATES Ltd, a supplier or truck and trailer componentry which for over 20 years has been the NZ representative of the Rubery Owen Group which used to own BRM.
Peter and son Aaron originally decided they wanted to buy an ex Howden Ganley P160 but when they tracked it down neither fitted in it and they decided to pass on it. Soon after though they were offered and bough their first BRM F1 car, a 1974 P201 that was ex Jean-Pierre Beltoise.
The experience of owning this car got Peter thinking and when fellow F5000 racer Frank Lyons told him about the P207. Inquiries were made and the guy who now looks after the cars had rebuilt and sold P207/2 to a guy n the US and agreed to finish putting P207/1 back together and sell it Peter.
The car has been here for just over a year now and this weekend at the final round of the 2018/19 SAS Autoparts/MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series held at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park. It is the first time that Peter has had a chance to give it a run.
The key with owning a car like this says Peter is looking after it. To that end he also bought big boxes of parts that went with it including a second engine, and gearbox. Peter says he is very happy with the car which he fits perfectly and now only needs to do a couple of things like extending the roll cage height a little, moving the gear lever so it is in a more comfortably position, and dialing in the gearing for each circuit. For instance the car is really low geared at the moment, even hitting the re limited (10,000rpm) before the finish line at Hampton Downs.
ON that point the car sounds stunning, and Peter says that back in the day it was revved to 13,500rpm, now it is rev limited to just 10,000rpm in the interests of longevity!