Brabham Pitstop – The German Grand Prix At Hockenheim 1983

murray.hock.pitstop83.signIn 1982 the Turbo engines lusty thirst for gas required large fuel tanks that increased the weight of the car.  Gordon Murray, like Colin Chapman before him, knew weight was the enemy so Murray devised a strategy incorporating a reduced fuel load in the Brabham for faster lap times coupled with mid race refueling. The tactic was first introduced to the modern era of F1 on August 15, 1982 at the Austrian Grand Prix.  In 1983 the BT-52 design furthered this strategy.  A newly designed pressurized fuel delivery system could deliver 100 liters of fuel in 3 seconds.  Murray also redesigned the air gun used in tire changes to speed up the process and invented the tire warmer to pre-heat the tires so the out laps after the stop could be faster. The Brabham team was filmed practicing pit stops for greater efficiency to further reduce the time in the pits.

Around the mid point of the 1983 German Grand Prix at Hockenheim I left the track to head back to the pits. There was a huge throng of media in the Brabham pit restrained by a rope.  It was impossible to fight through the photographers so I entered the empty Brabham garage and came out behind the car and crew as Murray directed the pitstop.  He is in the center of the photograph holding the end of the tape laid out to precisely position the car.  He orchestrated the team like a conductor.  The Brabham crew each raised their hands signaling completion of their task. The pitstop was all over in seconds. Thrilled by what we had witnessed all of us around the team spontaneously applauded the brilliant performance.

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