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Britain’s original Formula 1 team, British Racing Motors (BRM), took a major step forward with its plans to build three authentic ‘new’ 1950s V16 race cars with the successful dyno test of an original engine after a painstaking restoration.

BRM’s technical partners, Hall and Hall, used 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 more than 36,000 precision-engineered parts.

Hall and Hall founder, Rick Hall, said: “It is a phenomenally complex engine, and there are a great deal of highly engineered parts to get right.  Rebuilding and re-engineering many of the original parts has 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.”

The re-built engine itself was cautiously tested at Hall and Hall’s dynamometer at RAF Folkingham, Lincolnshire, where the original BRM Formula 1 engineering team worked during the 1950s.

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 at 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.

“We didn’t want to push it too hard on the dyno”, said Martin Smith, Hall and Hall’s chief engine technician, “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.”

The three ‘new’ P15 V16 BRMs have been made possible by the discovery of three unused chassis numbers which were originally allocated to the racing programme, but never built due to a change in the Formula 1 technical regulations at the time.

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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31 Responses

  1. What an absolutely fabulous project. I can’t wait to see it come to fruition. I really hope we get to see them run later this year.

    1. Thank you Mark! We’re heading to Goodwood Festival of Speed and Revival later this year, so make sure to come and hear the V16 for yourself and say hello if you’re there. Thank you for your support!

      1. Tickets for the Sunday of the Revival now booked. Can’t wait to see and hear the BRMs. I’ll definitely be over to say hello.

  2. Well done Rick! This is great news and takes me back to the summer of 1956 when I worked in the test house at Folkingham with Willie Southcott. That was a great experience and I still have an enduring affection for the make. Is there any plan to put one (or more) of these engines into a car?

    With best wishes,

    Chris Warman

  3. It would fabulous to see and hear the BRM V16 at Goodwood! Good luck with this historic project.

    1. We’re thrilled to be attending both Revival and FOS this year, so make sure you come along, say hello, and hear the noise!

  4. What a fantastic project, the tone and resonance of the V16 is locked in my memory since I was a Youngster, I bought the extended 45 record of the car going down the Mulsanne straight. I still have that record which I played many times.
    I look forward to hearing and seeing the engine and car at Goodwood.

    1. We might be biased, but there’s no better sound than a V16. We’ve got some incredibly exciting things on the horizon…see you at Goodwood!

  5. The BRM V16 is the ring tone on my phone. Always loved it and no other engine comes anywhere near. I last heard it live giving a demo run at the Oulton Park Gold Cup quite a few years ago now.

    1. It’s undoubtedly an engine that has to be heard to be believed – glad to hear you love it as much as we do!

  6. Dear god I almost sh*t myself when that thing fired. I now have tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat, wow and thank-you.

  7. Saw a V16 demonstrated by the late Sir Stirling Moss at Brands Hatch in the late 60’s, the sound was incredible, from Paddock Hill bend the car could be heard at the farthest part of the GP circuit. It was an unforgettable experience.
    Cannot wait to hear these new cars in anger.

  8. My interest in motor racing came from reading my grandmother’s copy of the weekly magazine “Picture Post”. This particular copy had a photo
    of a racing car on its cover and a five page article inside all about the car. It said it was being built to put Britain on the map in International Grand Prix Motor Races. That car was, of course, the V16 BRM. That copy of “Picture Post” was dated 13 May 1950 and ever since I have maintained my interest in motor racing and BRMs in particular. I still have a copy of that “Picture Post”. I was 13-years old when it was published.

    Now at 83-years I am excited as ever over the news that Hall&Hall are to build new BRM V16s with the support of the Owen Family. I already have my tickets for the coming Goodwood Revival Meeting where I hope to see the new Vl6 running, The V16 BRM -The Noise of Motor Racing.

    1. Dear Peter Putterill,

      Loverly hearing from you, I am coming to Goodwood Revival 2021. Like to talk to you,

      I have also a copy of” Picture Post 13 May 1950″. Greatings till GOODWOOD REVIVAL 2021.

      I am completly vaccinated and can’t waith to see B.R.M. V16 Reply car.

  9. Three letters say it all: OMG!!!… Godspeed with this project! Can’t wait to see – and hear – the results!

  10. Goodwood Festival of speed 1996 there i was walking through the pits not expecting to see 3 BRM V16s in one place the noise and eye watering smell of the fuel was very intoxicating i will never forget it personly i woud rather see you guys rebuild the 2 BRM V16 P30 MKII because they are so much louder

    1. It’s such a fantastic new era for BRM, and it’s brilliant to hear you’re just as obsessed with the noise as we are! We have lots of new projects on the horizon, so stay tuned…

  11. The entire project is a shot in the arm for motor sports enthusiasts during these difficult times.
    I live in Folkingham and was able to stand on my front drive and listen to the engine being run-up in the testing shed. Sundry dog walkers were quite puzzled to see me looking intently across the fields in an apparent state of rapture.

    1. Puzzling dog walkers with noisy cars is the unspoken sport of motor enthusiasts – we’re thrilled to hear you got to hear the engine in all its glory, and are grateful you’re joining us for this new era!

  12. I’ve only had the pleasure of hearing recordings of the V-16 and it sends shivers down my spine. Perhaps 1 of the new P15’s will be acquired by an American and I’ll finally have a chance to see and hear it in person. Wishing all the best on this ambitious project!

    1. Thank you! We’re biased, but we think everyone should hear the V16 in person – there really is nothing like it!

  13. I spent nearly a year (1962) living in Stanford and driving to Bourne everyday; employed by BRM. Had completely free movement around the entire factory, the engine test house at Folkingham, drawing office etc,etc., with Willie Southgate (?). Did quite a lot of testing of the first 1.5 litre V8 fuel injected car. Graham Hill won the World Championship in 1962. Ritchie Ginther was the second driver and had a number of incidents with it; once it caught fire as a result of fuel vapor, coming from the very high pressure fuel pump (100 psi) making contact with very hot exhaust pipes Ritchie was able to abandon ship but the car with was burnt out and he had bad burns to his back. I Drove it at Oulton Park in the Gold Cup (1962). They also built a different chassis with a carburettor motor which I drove a number of times at the end of the year in South Africa. Regards Bruce Johnstone

    1. Hello Bruce! Thank you for sharing that with us – what an absolutely incredible story, and on behalf of everyone at BRM, we are immensely grateful for your service and dedication to such an iconic period of our history! If you’d ever like to share any anecdotes or stories with us, I’m sure that our team would be more than happy to hear from you.

  14. We moved to Bourne early in 2012. Later in 2012 we discovered BRM when the town celebrated everything BRM which included demonstrations of the iconic cars driving through the town centre. The sound of the V16 was unbelievable.

    1. Thank you for sharing that Neil – Bourne is a proper hub of all things BRM, and we’re thrilled you’re following along with this new era of the journey!

  15. My grandfather Ken Richardson was involved in the original V16 project (Lived in Bourne for most of his life) and I have some super pictures of the car and him working on it. I was fortunate to see the V16 fly up the hill at Stormont in the late 90’s. The great years of racing! I will be following the project with anticipation! Good luck!

  16. My grandfather Ken Richardson was involved in the original V16 project and I was lucky enough to see a V16 in person at the Stormont Hill climb in the late 90s I will never forget it. I have several historic images of him involved with the car what an exciting project!

  17. Spent many hours burning the midnight oil working on the V16, Albi, Dundrod, Monza, Silverstone Etc. Would do it all again. Even Fangio got his hands dirty at Albi. Great motor racing days. Hope I can make it to Goodwood.

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