BRM-type25




The 31 May 1959 will remain a really memorable day for both BRM and Joakim Bonnier : the surprising victory at the Dutch GP of the Type 25 (sometimes referred to as P25 as well) 2.5 liter Formula 1 front-engined BRM was indeed the first World Championship race success for BRM and their pertinacious team manager Raymond Mays, a significant landmark in BRM and British motor racing history. A long wait for Raymond Mays and all the staff in Bourne, but the reward was there. For Jo, it was also his first (and unique) F1 victory, a première for a Swedish driver. He would never really come close to repeating such a success, so that Dutch glory day would remain the apogee of his long F1 career (16 Grand Prix seasons, before moving later on towards sports cars with success),

And yet, that victory was rather unexpected, as the type 25, since its debut at
a local race at Aintree in September 1955, had acquired a really bad reputation of being desperately troublesome and unreliable, the single rear brake layout in particular proving to be a recurring major issue. For the 1959 season, the Lockheed had been replaced by Dunlop brakes, but the single rear disc had been retained. So, for the 1959 Dutch GP, quite logically, the BRMs of Joakim Bonnier and Harry Schell were really not considered as a real threat for the best opposition especially the Ferraris and the mid-engined Coopers. But, as it sometimes happens, on that May 30-31 week-end, everything altogether went perfectly well (miraculously ?) : the car did not encountered any problem, and Jo drove superbly although smoothly, during practice and the race. Starting in pole position, he never run below second during the race. After an intense battle with the Coopers of Jack Brabham, Masten Gregory and Stirling Moss successively, he became in lead of the race when Moss’ gearbox failed, and kept leading until he took the chequered flag, taking the win by 14.2 secs from Jack Brabham. Bravo Jo !

Sadly for BRM, that resounding victory at Zandvoort was a trompe-l’oeil, the Type 25 being already virtually obsolete, victim of the mid-engined cars revolution, which forced BRM to work out their own mid-engined car for the 1960 season. They did it quickly,
using many existing parts from dismantled P25s but in rear-engined format. For the sake of the P48 project, all the type 25s were cannibalised for parts except one, #298, the Bonnier’s Dutch GP winning car, as Raymond Mays had given instructions to keep it in its original condition. So, thanks to Raymond Mays, #298 was the only truly original type 25 to be salvaged and survive.

The resulting P48 made its debut at the Goodwood International 100 in April, in the hands of
Graham Hill and Dan Gurney, Jo having made choice of giving the type 25 its last race. Then BRM would score sixteen other F1 wins, before closing down in 1977.

A last word : whereas the type 25 didn’t become famous for its performance and race results (except the one-off above), on the other hand it was unanimously recognised, from an aesthetic standpoint, as a beautiful race car that one has pleasure contemplating. It was said that Jo Bonnier himself was in admiration of the beauty of his bolid.