Brabham BT52

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Brabham BT52
Brabham BT52B
BRABHAM BMW BT52 1983.jpg
Brabham BT52, BMW Museum, Munich, Germany.
Category Formula One
Constructor Brabham
Designer(s) Gordon Murray
Predecessor BT51
Successor BT53
Technical specifications[1][2] [3]
Chassis Carbon fibre monocoque with rear subframe
Suspension (front) Double wishbones, push-rod operated coil springs over dampers
Suspension (rear) Double wishbones, push-rod operated coil springs over dampers
Axle track BT52:
Front: 1,778 mm (70.0 in)
Rear: 1,657 mm (65.2 in)
BT52B:
Front: 1,753 mm (69.0 in)
Rear: 1,651 mm (65.0 in)
Wheelbase BT52: 2,860 mm (113 in)
BT52B: 2,845 mm (112.0 in)
Engine BMW M12/13, 1,499 cc (91.5 cu in), Straight 4, turbo, mid-engine, longitudinally mounted
Transmission Brabham/Hewland 5/6-speed manual Weismann Differential
Weight 540 kg (1,190 lb)
Fuel Castrol
Tyres Michelin
Competition history
Notable entrants Fila Sport Brabham BMW
Notable drivers 5. Brazil Nelson Piquet
6. Italy Riccardo Patrese
Debut 1983 Brazilian Grand Prix
Races Wins Poles F.Laps
15 4 2 4
Constructors' Championships 0
Drivers' Championships 1 (1983, Nelson Piquet)

The Brabham BT52 was a Formula One car designed for the Brabham team by longtime Brabham designer Gordon Murray for the 1983 season. The car ran on Michelin tyres and was powered by the massively powerful BMW M12/13 turbocharged engine which in 1983 produced about 850 bhp (630 kW) in qualifying trim, detuned to around 640 bhp (480 kW) for the races proper. Its drivers were 1981 World Champion Nelson Piquet and Riccardo Patrese.

After the ground effect cars were banned at the end of the previous season, the FIA mandated that all F1 cars be designed with flat undersides for safety reasons. The previously crucial sidepods were now generating lift rather than suction and so the BT52 had short, angular sidepods to keep lift at a minimum. The car featured a distinctive dart-shaped profile and oversized rear wing in an effort to claw back as much downforce as possible, while the monocoque was built from aluminium and carbon fibre composite to keep weight as low as possible. The 1983 season saw refueling stops reintroduced after successful experiments in 1982 so the BT52's fuel system was designed with this in mind and had a small fuel tank positioned high up behind the driver.

The car was easy to drive and Piquet used it to good effect that season. Fighting with Alain Prost in the Renault and René Arnoux of Ferrari, it seemed he would lose out on the title after a run of mid season bad luck. But after German company Wintershall developed a special batch of fuel and further development to the car was done, he became the first driver to win the world championship with a turbo engine after winning three races (Brazil (Rd.1), Italy (Rd.13) and European (Rd.14)), and scoring consistently with three 2nd and two 3rd places. Patrese on the other hand seemed to corner the market on Brabham's bad luck and while often as quick or quicker than Piquet (including leading the San Marino Grand Prix before crashing out with only 6 laps remaining, and grabbing pole at Monza) he didn't score a point until his third in Round 10 at the German Grand Prix. His only other points finish being his win at the season ending South African Grand Prix at Kyalami.

With Piquet winning his second World Drivers' Championship with 59 points, and Patrese finishing 9th on 13 points, Brabham finished third in the Constructors' Championship with 72 points, 7 behind second placed Renault and 17 behind winners Ferrari.

The BT52 was updated after the Canadian Grand Prix to the BT52B and proceeded to win three of the remaining seven races of the season. A further update came later in the season when Brabham adopted the Ferrari style 'winglets' on the rear wing in order to generate more downforce. The BT52 was replaced for the 1984 Formula One season by the Brabham BT53.

Brabham BT52 in the garages at the 1983 Detroit Grand Prix
BT52 gearbox


Complete Formula One World Championship results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Team Chassis Engine Drivers 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Pts WCC
1983 Brabham BMW M12/13
S4 tc
BRA USW FRA SMR MON BEL DET CAN GBR GER AUT NED ITA EUR RSA 72 3rd
BT52 Nelson Piquet 1 Ret 2 Ret 2 4 4 Ret
BT52B 2 13 3 Ret 1 1 3
BT52 Riccardo Patrese Ret 10 Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret
BT52B Ret 3 Ret 9 Ret 7 1

References[edit]

  1. ^ "STATS F1 • Brabham BT52". Statsf1.com. Retrieved 2010-08-23. 
  2. ^ "STATS F1 • Brabham BT52B". Statsf1.com. Retrieved 2010-08-23. 
  3. ^ "Brabham F1 Racecars Weismann Transaxles • Brabham BT52B". http://www.weismann.net. Retrieved 2010-11-03. 

External links[edit]

Awards
Preceded by
Porsche 956
Autosport
Racing Car Of The Year

1983
Succeeded by
McLaren MP4/2