Today is the 74th birthday of former Grand Prix driver and longstanding engine manufacturer Brian Hart.
Hart made his one and only F1 start at the 1967 German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring in a wooden-chassised Protos F2 car when the regulations permitted F2 cars in the main field. He finished 12th.
Born in North London, Hart trained professionally in airframe and aero engine design at the De Havilland aircraft company. The firm employed a number of engineers who built and raced their own cars in the 750 Motor Club series, and it was here that Hart met Mike Costin and Keith Duckworth (‘the ‘Cos’ and ‘Worth’ of ‘Cosworth’), and when the pair set up their own engine company in 1958, Hart was hired.
Hart worked as a Cosworth development engineer and continued to race in Formula Junior and sports car events, before moving up to Formula 2 in 1964, winning at Enna. Hart remained in F2 for several years, but retired from all competitive driving in 1971.
By 1969, however, he had left Cosworth to set up his own engine company, and was commissioned to develop engines for its rally programs, and he later developed race-winning engines for the Formula 2 championship.
By 1978, the Toleman team commissioned him to provide them with engines, and the team romped to the F2 championship in 1980. Hart then developed a turbocharged engine for the outfit as it graduated to Formula 1, and stayed with the outfit until it was bought out by Benetton. He also later supplied engines to RAM, Haas Lola, and Tyrrell in the 1980s, and Jordan, Minardi and Arrows in the 1990s.
[Original image via 8W]