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Brabham BT44
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The groundbreaking Brabham that gave F1 a preview of Murray's design genius

Gordon Murray became one of Formula 1's true design legends, but was a relatively little-known engineer when he devised the innovative Brabham BT44. STUART CODLING charts the genesis of Murray’s trapezoidal calling card

One of Formula 1’s great technical-commercial partnerships came about almost entirely by accident. It nearly didn’t happen at all. In December 1969, the early phases of a winter so bitter it would go down as the stormiest on record until 2014, 23-year-old engineer and sometime racing driver Gordon Murray arrived in England from his native South Africa in the hope of getting a job with Colin Chapman at Lotus.

Imagine, in hindsight, what a combination that might have been. But the stars were destined not to align. Murray had exchanged letters with Chapman and caught a bus to Lotus’s Hethel HQ expecting to be interviewed by Lotus Cars chief engineer Brian Luff. Instead he discovered that not only had he arrived into a protracted bout of inclement weather, an economic downturn had gripped the car market. Lotus
wasn’t hiring – quite the opposite.

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