British Racing Motors (BRM) was a British Formula One team that raced from 1951 to 1977 and won one constructors’ title in that period. It competed in 197 grands prix and clinched its first and only Constructors’ Championship in 1962, the same year its driver Graham Hill won the drivers’ title too.
BRM was founded by Raymond Mays and Peter Berthon sometime after the Second World War. May had already achieved success building hillclimb and road racing cars. He used this experience along with the financial backing from the British motor industry to start a Formula One racing team. Its first car, the Type 15, was designed by Peter Berthon. It featured a supercharged V16 engine. The car proved to be a failure after initial testing. Certain successful developments followed and soon the team and the car were ready to be launched at the 1951 British Grand Prix.
In its debut race, Reg Parnell earned the first points finish for the team by classifying fifth at the British Grand Prix. After that, it participated again only in the season’s Italian Grand Prix, where both its cars failed to start the race. Over the next two seasons the British team raced in only four grands prix, as reliability turned out to be its biggest handicap. In 1954, the team was bought by Sir Alfred Owen, and the team was officially known as The Owen Racing Organization, though it continued to be called as BRM.
The next time it showed any semblance to performance was during the 1958 Monaco Grand Prix, where Harry Schell ended its points’ drought by scoring two points. 1958 was the year the Constructors’ Championship was introduced and BRM scored 18 points to finish fourth in the standings. It continued to score points until the 1962 season. It was in this season that the British outfit tasted real success. That was when May and Berthon finally were able to produce a car worthy of posing a challenge for the title. The season started off auspiciously, when the team secured its first ever race win at the season opening Dutch Grand Prix, at Zandvoort, with Hill behind the wheel. Through the course of the season, it managed to maintain form and won another three races giving Hill the drivers’ title, and getting the team its lone Constructors Championship.
Until 1971, the BRM continued to win races and challenge for the title with drivers like Niki Lauda, John Surtees and Jackie Stewart racing for it. 1972 saw the team win its last race at Monaco. From then on the team’s performance started sliding. It hardly scored any points. The 1977 Italian Grand Prix was the team’s last race after which it quit the sport.
The BRM team was not a team to achieve legendary status like the Ferrari or Williams. Winning 17 grands prix over 26 seasons made up for a modest scorecard. But by producing a world champion driver, and winning a constructors’ title the team affixed and ascertained itself in Formula One history.