22 September 2022
Following WWII, Raymond Mays and others saw motorsport as an aid to revitalising the British motor industry and as a way to enhance national cohesion and pride.
Mays planned to build a world-beating Formula 1 racing car by utilising his networking skills. By 1946 he had persuaded 40 companies and donations from private individuals to finance his British Motor Racing Research Trust to finance and develop the vehicle, which was to be marketed as British Racing Motors, or BRM.
Numerous other companies enthusiastically backed the project either with cash or help in kind in the form of parts, staff secondments, access to testing equipment and technical information.
On 25 April 1947, the British Motor Racing Trust was formed.
The design was very ambitious and complex: a front-engine, 1496cc, double overhead camshaft V16 fed by a complex centrifugal supercharger built by Rolls-Royce running at 70psi, an unheard-of pressure for a car, plus disc brakes, five-speed gearbox and telescopic front suspension. The BRM P15 V16 was born.
The BRM P15 strongly divided drivers’ opinions, Stirling Moss refused to drive it, and Mike Hawthorn hated it. Still, Juan Manuel Fangio (nicknamed El Maestro) called it ‘the most fantastic car I ever drove – the most incredible challenge in every way.’