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Brabham BT54, driven by Marc Surer at the 1985 British GP, Silverstone, ML

Brabham BT54, driven by Marc Surer at the 1985 British GP, Silverstone, by Martin Lee - Flickr.com

The Brabham BT54 was a Formula One racing car designed by Gordon Murray for the Brabham team for the 1985 Formula One season.

The car was powered by the BMW M12 4cyl turbo engine (the most powerful engine in Formula One at the time) and used Pirelli tyres.

The car proved to be competitive, but somewhat unsuccessful even in the hands of two time world champion Nelson Piquet. The reason for this turned out to be the Pirelli tyres which proved to be nowhere near as good as the Goodyear tyres used by rivals McLaren, Lotus, Ferrari and Williams.

The only track and conditions on the 1985 calendar that suited the tyres was the Paul Ricard Circuit used for the French Grand Prix and, combined with the BMW engine that was very effective on the Ricard circuit's long Mistral straight Piquet used these factors to his full advantage. He qualified 5th and won his only Grand Prix of 1985. The car did well on high-speed circuits, and Piquet often qualified up on the grid on circuits like Silverstone, the Österreichring, Zandvoort, Spa-Francorchamps and Kyalami.

Other than the Dutch Grand Prix where Piquet got his only pole position for the season, the BT54 was generally off the pace of the front runners leaving Piquet little chance of regaining the World Drivers' Championship, although at the European Grand Prix at Brands Hatch Piquet qualified 2nd, but was taken out by Keke Rosberg and Piquet's teammate Marc Surer got up to 2nd before retiring with a fiery engine failure.

Piquet, François Hesnault and Marc Surer, who replaced Hesnault from the Canadian Grand Prix for the rest of the season, could only score 26 points to finish 5th in the Constructors Championship.

Marc Surer recorded the fastest speed trap of the season for the BT54 when he was clocked at 338 km/h (210 mph) on the 1.8 km long Mistral Straight at Paul Ricard during qualifying for the French Grand Prix.

The BT54 was replaced for the 1986 season by the Brabham BT55 although the team did use the BT54 for the 1986 British Grand Prix after the lack of results from the BT55.

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Brabham vehicles


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