Chequered Flag In Sight For BRM’s ‘New’ P15 V16 Racing Trio

Juan Manuel Fangio - BRM V16 at Goodwood in 1953 (image: GPL Spitzley)

Back in November 2020, BRM (British Racing Motors) announced they would be creating an authentic trio of ‘new’ P15 V16 race cars to be produced in Bourne, Lincolnshire, very close to where the originals were first engineered.

The three ‘new’ P15 V16 BRMs will be built at Hall and Hall to mark the 70th anniversary of the original British Racing Motors team via the discovery of three dormant chassis numbers originally allocated to the racing programme but were never built due to a change in Formula 1 technical regulations at the time.

BRM has revealed the ambitious project has now taken a significant step forward following a successful dyno test of an original engine after a painstaking restoration was undertaken. Hall and Hall, made use of the original ‘engine number two’ a V16 power unit dating back to the 1950s, to help engineers overcome the technical challenges presented by one of the most complex Formula 1 engines of its day – each with an incredible 36,000 precision-engineered parts.

BRM P15 V16

Hall and Hall founder, Rick Hall, said:
“It is a phenomenally complex engine, and there is a great deal of highly engineered parts to get right. Rebuilding and re-engineering many of the original parts have proved to be a key stepping-stone as we gear up for the manufacture of three all-new power units which will be at the heart of the new project.

“There is little margin for error with these parts, right down to 1,000th of a millimetre,” he added. “For example, we had some earlier issues with the Rolls Royce supercharger, which we had to rebuild from scratch, so through trial and error we are flushing out these issues and also learning a great deal about how this engine behaves.”

BRM P15 V16 Racers
The 1.5-litre supercharged V16 engine is put through its paces

This particular engine has not been run since one of the original BRM team drivers, Jose-Froilan Gonzalez, then 77 years old, accidentally over-revved it during the BRM’S 50th Anniversary celebration at Silverstone in 1999. It was comprehensively ‘lunched’, according to Hall and Hall technicians and has remained in storage ever since.

Martin Smith, Hall and Hall’s chief engine technician:
“We didn’t want to push it too hard on the dyno, but even so we estimate we got about 550BHP at 10,000 RPM and 2.5 psi – which is a huge step forward as we continue to build our experience and understanding of this astonishing engine.”

BRM P15 V16
Rick Hall and John Owen

The first car has been commissioned by John Owen, the 81-year-old son of BRM’s original owner, the renowned industrialist, Sir Alfred Owen and is expected to be delivered and presented in public later this year.

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