This is the 1978 Brabham BT46, designed by the legendary Gordon Murray and powered by an Alfa Romeo flat-12 engine, and it was amongst the front runners of the 1978 Formula 1 World Championship, securing a Constructors third place for the Brabham team.
The BT46 won two races in the ’78 season, but its win at the Swedish Grand Prix is one of the most unusual in the sport. You see this is the BT46 ‘B’, a design which raced only once, and which won by over half a minute.
Designed to take on the ‘ground effect’ Lotuses, Murray engineered an engine-powered fan to literally suck the car to the ground. Whilst it was claimed at the time the fan was used to cool the Alfa Romeo flat-12, it became obvious what its true purpose was when the drivers revved the engine, as the BT46B visibly squatted down on the track.
Effectively a reverse hovercraft, the Brabham BT46B dominated the field, which of course meant that like other ingenious developments in Formula 1, it was immediately banned. Because Formula 1 sucks.
The BT46B was never allowed to race in Formula 1 again and Brabham were forced to revert to their non fan-assisted variant, however TLCB regular and Master MOCer Luca Rusconi (aka RoscoPC) remembers one of Formula 1’s cleverest designs with his stunning Lego replica of the one-race-wonder.
Added to his ever growing portfolio of historic racing cars on Flickr, Luca’s BT46B includes working steering, suspension, a flat-12 engine, and – of course – a working fan. There’s lots more to see at Luca’s Flickr Album – click this link if you’re a fan.