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1969 Brabham BT31

Racing Past Presented by Shannons Insurance.

This unique BT31 Brabham was built for the 1969 Tasman series, and was fitted with a Repco 830 V8 engine and a Hewland FT200 gearbox. The chassis was a spaceframe, as nearly all Brabhams were, and had a riveted alloy floor to improve stiffness.

However, it did not have the "semi-monocoque" panelling seen on the 1968 BT26 Formula 1 car. The fuel tanks were moulded tightly to the sides of the frame. The BT31 was very small by normal Tasman standards, but in other respects was similar in layout to the BT23E.

Car # 29
Engine: 3000cc Repco Brabham V8
Driver: Scott Stephenson

One change was to the front suspension, where the front bottom trailing arm had been replaced with a more conventional lower wishbone.

Jack Brabham did not intend to do the whole Tasman series, but the car arrived so late that it only appeared at one race, the Sandown Park Cup in February ’69. Brabham placed the car fifth on the grid, behind Graham Hill and Jochen Rindt in the works Lotus 49Bs, Chris Amon's Ferrari Dino, and the surprise package of Piers Courage in Frank Williams' 1967 ex-F1 Brabham BT24.

He got ahead of Courage at the start, and after Hill dropped out, the Australian finished third behind Amon and Rindt. Brabham came back to Australia over the Easter weekend and made an unexpected entry for the Gold Star race at Bathurst.

He had problems in practice, and nearly failed to start the race when the engine would not start, but when he finally got going he broke the lap record on his way to an easy victory. With Brabham returning to Europe for the F1 season, that would be the last time the car was raced in period.

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