Many websites, forums and databases suggest that BRM’s last race was in 1977. That their last car was the BRM P207, and that the team abandoned racing. This info is false. At the end of 1978 the construction started on the unraced BRM P230, the car had many similarities with the successful Lotus 79. It was intended to use the BRM P230 in the Aurora series. Unfortunately, the car would not appear during a Grand Prix. However, Neil Betteridge tested with the car.
Actually, the intro is not correct. The Stanley-BRM P207B spec was contested in the Aurora AFX British F1 Championship of 1978. Behind the wheel was Teddy Pilette who did a reasonable job. The car attended twice a Grand Prix. During round two at Brands Hatch March 27, 1978 he finished fifth. His last race, round eight at Oulton Park June 24, 1978 he managed to finish fourth and set the fastest lap. This would be the last Stanley-BRM appearing on the track.
In late ’78 Stanley was given to go ahead for building the BRM P230. Aubrey Woods, Len Terry( he worked as designer for Lotus, BRM and Dan Gurney), and Cyril Maylem designed the BRM P230. The Chassis was built at Cyril’s CTG Factory in Ferndown, Hampshire. As quoted by Neil; “My father funded the building of the chassis, as BRM had no money build a new car”. The hope was to enter the BRM P230 in the 1979’s Aurora F1 Championship.
The first info that was published about the newest BRM came from a small article in Autosport’s edition of 18 January 1979. The article stated that a new, Lotus 79 copy like, ground-effect car was built under the banner of Stanley-BRM. BRM’s first wing-car was a fact. There were high hopes to bring BRM back in the auto sport.
When the chassis was finished at Cyril’s factory, it went back to Bourne for the final completion and setting up, before the BRM P230 would been shipped to Donington Park for a couple of Shake Down runs. The car painted in original British Green Racing colours with white stripes on the bodywork. The BRM P230’s monocoque was an aluminium frame. During the shakedown laps the BRM P230 was fitted with the fitted the BRM P202 V12, 2998 CC engine and was on Goodyear tyres.
Neil Bettridge did the shakedown laps in with the BRM P230 at Donington Park. However, Neil would only do a couple of rounds during the installation laps. After three of four rounds both the rear top rockers arms collapsed at the bottom of the Craner Curves, which brought the test to a halt, as Neil recalled. This was the only time that the BRM P230 would ran before the team, under Stanley, folded.
After the shakedown laps at Donington BRM folded and Neil’s father brought the BRM P230 back to their own workshop in Melksham. As they still owed money for the build of the chassis. The gearbox and the engine were removed from the car and back to Bourne, as these were owned by BRM. Around the same time, John Jordan bought the assets of the BRM team. John formed Jordan-BRM (no not related to Eddie Jordan as far as I know).
Bettridge ended up in a court case with Stanley. As Stanley wanted the ownership of the BRM P230 chassis. After a few meetings both Bettridge and Stanley came to an agreement. The chassis would return to Bourne. A few weeks later Bettridge had a meeting with John-Jordan, the new owner of BRM, about acquiring the BRM P207 chassis’ as well for the engines and the gearboxes and the BRM P230 chassis. With the intention to carry on the project. Sadly, Neil’s father couldn’t acquire the BRM P230 chassis, unable to acquire he decided to stop any interest or input in the project. John Jordan carried on buying the other cars and did a few races with the old BRM P207 cars.
The only question left is the whereabouts of the BRM P230? Well this is an interesting question. I could call the BRM P230 an inglorious bastard. After Stanley-BRM folded and after John Jordan did not use the P230. The car was bought by the Hepworths who turned the car into an Can-Am car. The Hepworth GB1 was shipped to the States for intensive testing. Eventually the car would run under the Garvin Brown Racing banner in the final two event of 1980. At Laguna Seca and Riverside by Danny O Sullivan.
However, the Hepworth GB1 never raced. Danny O Sullivan put the car into the wall during testing work. The team withdraw and the Hepworths brought the car, a couple of years later, back to the United Kingdom. The car would stay in their workshop for years until recently they decided to rebuild the car. The GB1 was shown and run at the Goodwood Festival in 2017.
It’s an sad ending for once a competitive team. Could the BRM P230 save the team? I think there was a chance for the team to make their comeback into motor racing. Sadly, under the banner of Stanley-BRM the team had no money at all. Though I will join Neil Bettridge in his quote about the, in my eyes, absolute beauty of the P230.
“It was a lovely looking car, very well made and we believed it as full of promise. It was a shame it never got to be driven in anger, it was a great shame to witness the end of a great marque”.