Listen to BRM P15 V16's unholy havoc — half banshee, half flamethrower

·2 min read

A year ago, British Racing Motors (BRM) announced it was producing three continuation P16 race cars, which campaigned in Formula One in the early 1950s. What BRM didn't say was that it was already a year into the creation of the first, which is now ready for its first owner. English restorers Hall & Hall have spent two years re-creating the single-seater and its 1.5-liter supercharged V16 engine from scratch using nearly 20,000 original drawings to fabricate more than 36,000 pieces, at least 4,000 of those for the engine alone.

The first car has already been through a shakedown run at Blyton Park track. This weekend, at the Goodwood Revival, John Owen — son of BRM original team manager Sir Alfred Owen — will present the car to the public.

The continuation does the same work as the original, working up more than 600 horses at roughly 12,000 rpm thanks to two superchargers originally developed for Rolls-Royce Merlin airplane engines. Sounds properly mean, too, as the video above of the engine set up on a test bed in a rural English barn proves. One of the engineers on the Hall & Hall team said, "It's quite a substantial noise. It can be heard in my village, which is 10 miles away." Rob Hall, who drove the test run at Blyton, said, "We took the engine up to 9,000 rpm but got a ticking off from the circuit because we exceeded their 95dB noise limit."

During this 70th anniversary year for BRM, Owen will preside over the largest gathering of BRM racers seen since the team's creation, with 35 examples on the Goodwood lawns spanning 1949 to 1974. There will be five BRMs with V16s, although only one of the Type 15 cars is thought to exist. When they raced, they weren't as reliable as required to fulfill their mission, which was to beat the conquering Continental European teams like Mercedes and Alfa Romeo.

But getting three brand new ones back on the track, screaming like they were built to do, will be an overdue victory in itself.

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