The BRM V8 powered P57, originally referred to as the P578, was a Formula One racing car built for the 1962 Formula One season. The P57 gave BRM its only world championship in that year, and was subsequently used for the 1963 season. The P57 was also raced by privateer teams until the end of the 1.5-litre era in 1965.
The P578's design can be traced back to the Climax powered P57 (also called P48/P57) raced in 1961. The car's chassis, a tubular spaceframe, and suspension remained unchanged. The underpowered Coventry Climax engine was replaced with BRM's own V8, producing 190 horsepower. Also new for BRM was a Lucasfuel injection system. Although it produced about the same power as the Climax, BRM's unit revved up to 11,000 rpm, some 3,500 revolutions faster. Mounted to the back of the engine was Colotti's new 6 speed gearbox. However, reliability problems forced BRM to revert to their own, older specification, 5 speed unit. The original eight exhausts were mounted vertically, but they were prone to working loose and were replaced by a more conventional horizontal layout.
Graham Hill was retained from previous seasons, but veteran Tony Brooks retired from Formula One. His replacement was Richie Ginther, a young American coming off a promising year with Ferrari. The season began with Hill taking a well-deserved first victory at Zandvoort. The championship proved to be a season-long battle between Hill and Jim Clark, driving the revolutionary monocoqueLotus 25. Clark's Lotus was the faster, but Hill's BRM was the more reliable. Clark took 6 poles and 3 victories, but only finished in the points 4 times. Hill's BRM remarkably finished every race and won 3 of the last 4 races of the season in Germany, Italy, and South Africa on the way to his first championship. Ginther's year proved disappointing, taking just two podiums and retiring 4 times. Despite Ginther's underwhelming season, BRM outscored Lotus to take their only constructor's title.
A new model was not prepared in time for the 1963 season. To keep the P57 competitive, a 6 speed gearbox was mounted to the engine, which also featured a new injection system. The first race of 1963, the Monaco Grand Prix, looked to be a repeat of the previous year. Clark led from pole before the fragile Lotus broke, handing Hill the first of his five Monaco Grand Prix victories. However, problems with the new gearbox forced Hill to retire from the next two Grands Prix while Clark achieved 4 consecutive wins. Clark won 3 of the last 5 races and stormed to the championship. Hill took another victory in the United States, but it was little consolation. In Germany and Italy, Hill drove BRM's new monocoque P61, but its problems forced BRM to revert to the P57. Hill and Ginther scored a combined 10 podiums, and were 2nd and 3rd in the driver's championship. BRM's 29 points placed them behind only Lotus.
The P261 superseded the P57 in 1964, but privateers such as Scuderia Centro Sud ran P57s until the end of 1965.
Complete Formula One World Championship results