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Information Sheet - BRM at the Le Mans 24hr race

The Rover Car Company approached BRM to produce a car powered by one of their small gas turbine (jet) engines with a view to taking part in the famous Le Mans 24-Hour Race. A prize had been offered by its organisers for the first gas turbine car to exceed 3,600km during the course of their race. The details were agreed and, in some haste, the car was built for the 1963 event. It was largely based on BRM's 1961 F1 racing car.

It easily exceeded the set target distance and, had it been taking part in the race proper, it would have finished eighth! The drivers of the car were the BRM Team's Graham Hill and Ritchie Ginther.

In 1965 BRM returned to Le Mans to take part in the 24-Hour race with an attractive small car powered by a much-revised Rover gas turbine engine. It was again to be driven by the BRM Team's driver Graham Hill but this time his co-driver was the up-and-coming Jackie Stewart, who had now joined the team. The car finished the race in tenth place despite suffering a loss of power from damage caused to its engine early in the race.

The gas turbine engine suffers from a delayed response to the throttle and this was a major problem

for the car's drivers. On entering a corner they had to apply full power in anticipation of the need to accelerate when they exited it. They fine-tuned the car's speed against the power delivery by the use of its purposely over-sized brakes! One advantage of these gas turbine powered cars was they need no conventional gearbox or radiator.

Bourne's BRM Racing Team was the first to race a gas turbine power car.

The 1963 Rover-BRM testing at Le Mans

The 1965 Rover-BRM at Le Mans