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AUTOSPORT Awards 2014: Gordon Murray wins John Bolster Award

Legendary Formula 1 designer Gordon Murray has been honoured with the John Bolster Award, 40 years after the first grand prix victory for one of his cars

AUTOSPORT Awards 2014: Gordon Murray wins John Bolster Award

Murray started his career with the Brabham team in 1969 and was made chief designer by Bernie Ecclestone in 1973.

The following season the Brabham BT44 scored its maiden F1 victory when Carlos Reutemann won the South African Grand Prix at Kyalami.

The BT44 scored a total of three victories in 1974 and notched up two more the following season courtesy of Reutemann and Carlos Pace.

"I started Formula 1 at 23 and I was running the team at 26, and you just want to win the race. Then when you've won a race and a world championship, you just want to win another one," Murray recalls.

"It was fantastic. I was lucky to be operating in that period. One of the reasons I stopped was that the regulations were getting very tight and you couldn't innovate anymore."

Among Murray's best known designs was the infamous Brabham BT46B, which became known as the 'fan car.' The BT46B generated enormous levels of downforce thanks to a large fan that extracted air from underneath the car.

Introduced to combat the dominant Lotus 79 and its ground effect innovation, the BT46B won on its debut at the 1978 Swedish Grand Prix. It was voluntarily withdrawn by the Brabham team before the next race after protests from rivals.

Murray's F1 contenders at Brabham won a total of 22 grands prix and delivered Nelson Piquet to the drivers' world title in 1981 and '83.

In 1987, Murray joined McLaren as technical director and helped produce the all-conquering MP4-4 in 1988.

With Murray on board, McLaren enjoyed one of the most dominant eras in Formula 1 history as the Woking-based team won four consecutive constructors' titles and drivers' titles with Ayrton Senna in 1988, '90 and '91 and Alain Prost in '89.

In 1991, Murray was chosen to head up McLaren Cars. He designed the McLaren F1 road car - which also won the 1995 Le Mans 24 Hours in its racing guise - and was part of the team that produced the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren in 1998.

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