Brabham BT52
BT-52 Detroit 1983
Constructor Brabham
Designer(s) United Kingdom Gordon Murray

United Kingdom David North

Predecessor BT51
Successor BT52B
Formula One World Championship
Years Active 1983
Constructors Fila Sport Brabham BMW
Drivers 5. Brazil Nelson Piquet

6. Italy Riccardo Patrese

Debut 1983 Brazilian Grand Prix
Races 8
Wins 1
Poles 0
Fastest Laps 3
Constructors' Championships 0
Drivers' Championships 1 (1983, Nelson Piquet)

The Brabham BT52 was a Formula One car designed for the Brabham team by longtime Brabham designer Gordon Murray for the first half of the 1983 Formula One season. It was replaced by the BT52B at the British Grand Prix.


Development of Brabham's 1983 entrant began before the end of the 1982 season. The original car designed for use during 1983, the ground effect BT51, had been extensively tested before rule changes for 1983 stipulated that ground effect aerodynamics were to be banned for the oncoming season. Unlike most teams who modified their existing designs, Brabham's designer Gordon Murray decided to design a whole new car; the BT52.

Overall the car featured a distinctive dart-shaped profile. Gone were the long sidpods used to generate the crucial surface area for ground effect. New short angular sidepods were designed to keep lift at a minimum and the radiators within were bolted onto the rear subframe. This enabled the mechanics to remove the complete rear end of the car complete with fluids, allowing for much quicker and easier engine changes. New large front and rear wings were added in an attempt to regain the lost downforce. While other teams used carbon fibre chassis, Murray remained conservative opting for a conventional sheet aluminium bottom half with a carbon-fibre top half. With double wishbones and push-rod actuated coil springs over dampers, the front and rear suspension was also conventional. A relatively small fuel tank was fitted due to the reintroduction of refueling stops

This would be the first full season with the BMW M12/13 turbo engine. The four-cylinder unit was actually based on a production engine. The stock cast-iron block was fitted with a bespoke alloy head with four valves per cylinder. A KKK turbocharger helped boost the power to 640 bhp in race trim and well over 750 bhp in qualifying. The BMW engine was mated to a Brabham gearbox with Hewland internals that had five or six forward gears depending on the circuit.

Technical specificationsEdit

Component Specification
Chassis Aluminium and carbon-fibre monocoque, rear subframe
Front suspension Double wishbones, push-rod operated coil springs over dampers
Rear suspension Double wishbones, push-rod operated coil springs over dampers
Tyres M Michelin
Brakes Carbon ceramic discs, all-round
Wheelbase / Track (fr/r) 2,860 mm (113 in) / 1,778 mm (70.0 in) / 1,657 mm (65.2 in)
Weight 540 kg (1,190 lb)
Engine BMW M12/13, 1,499 cc (91.5 cu in), Straight 4, turbo, mid-engine, longitudinally mounted
Gearbox Brabham/Hewland 5-speed manual Weismann Differential
Fuel Castrol
Fuel tank 195 Litre

Racing HistoryEdit

Retaining the same driver line up as the year before, 1983 was a make-or-break season for the Brabham/BMW partnership. Their main rivals for the season were the Renault and Ferrari team, both running their own V6 turb engines. Piquet got the year off to a good start by winning the season opener in Brazil. He achieved two further podiums at France and Monaco, both second places. Patrese however did not have as good a run, althought seemingly as quick as Piquet he had the most of the bad luck and reliability issues, only registering one finish at round two. From the British Grand Prix onwards the BT52 was replaced with the B-spec car. Piquet went onto win the Driver's Championship with a total of 59 points while Patrese finished ninth with 13 points giving Brabham a third place finish in the Constructors' Championship.

Complete World Championship resultsEdit

(key) (note: results shown in bold indicate pole position; results in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant Engine Tyres Driver 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Pts. WCC
1983 Fila Sport Brabham BMW BMW M12/13
S4 tc
Brazil Nelson Piquet 1 Ret 2 Ret 2 4 4 Ret
Italy Riccardo Patrese Ret 10 Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret

* 45 points scored using the Brabham BT52B


Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.