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Might it have secured the team’s future?

In the sixties wings began to be attached to racing cars to increase cornering speeds. These wings used the air rushing over the fast moving racing cars to create down-force to press the tyres harder onto the road to improve grip. Tony Rudd, BRM’s technical chief, looked upon wings as an inelegant way to achieve this.

Peter Wright, a newly graduated engineer who had recently joined BRM, shared Tony’s views so he was put to work to design a car that would use its total bodywork to generate the same down-force as the “add-on” wings. The work started in secret at BRM’s store in Exeter Street. The plan was to have this revolutionary new car ready to race at the Italian Grand Prix in September 1969.

The project was known to very few. Not even the management at Bourne was fully aware of what was going on. Wind tunnel tests were made using models (see photo) and work was begun on the new car. When the full magnitude of what was going on became clear to those at Bourne they (with the support of John Surtees - the team’s then driver) closed it down so to concentrate work on the development of their current car. 

Soon after this both Tony Rudd and Peter Wright left BRM. It was some eight years later that the successful Lotus 78 and 79 Formula One racing cars, proved that the ideas behind the “Secret BRM” were indeed very much on the right lines. By this time both Tony Rudd and Peter Wright were working at Lotus!

Information Sheet - BRM's Secret Car – the 1969 P142