Charlie’s Brabham Repco…

Posted: December 2, 2016 in F1, Rodways Repco Recollections
Tags: , , , ,

charlton

Dave Charlton fettling his Brabham BT11 to which he has just bolted a ‘brand spankers’ 3 litre Repco F1 RB620 V8…

I must admit this shot as a ‘who, what, where and when’ had me tossed! I thought the face was familiar, but given it was from Nigel Tait’s Repco Photographic Archive I figured it was an RBE technician installing the little V8 into one of Jack’s Tasman cars in Melbourne. Completely wrong! The installation of engine to chassis was done in South Africa, exactly where I am intrigued to know.

But at the back of my brain I did recognise the driver although its Charlton’s Lotus 72 days which resonate with me most. This Brabham, the BT11 was a very successful ‘Intercontinental’ model in Tasman racing and in South African National Formula racing. Bought for Charlton by South African enthusiast Aldo Scribante, it was originally delivered with the ubiquitous 2.5 litre Coventry Climax FPF 4 cylinder engine.

charlton bt 11 cliamx color

Charlton in the Climax engined Brabham BT11, Q8 and unclassified. Pedro Rodriguez won the race in a Cooper T81 Maserati, South African GP 1967 (Dave Kent)

Dave did the full South African season in it in 1966, not really challenging local rival John Love’s Brabham BT20 Repco. After cranking in the Repco V8 he won the ’67 Rand Autumn Trophy race. Into 1968 he raced on in the BT11, Love updated to an ex-works Lotus 49, the rivalry between the two drivers over the years intense and fair.

charlton sa gp 68

1968 South African GP, Dave in Scribante’s Brabham BT11 Repco. Q14 and DNF gearbox, the race won by Jim Clark’s Lotus 49 Ford, the great Scots last GP win (Doug Brown)

Charlton was a South African citizen but was born in Yorkshire in 1936, migrating to SA with his mother in his early teens.

He first rose to prominence after winning the 1960 SA GP sportscar supporting race in an Austin Healey 100/6. He later raced an ex-Whitmore Lotus 22 in Europe without much success and returned to SA with a depleted bank balance. Some great drives in a Lotus 20 Ford twin-cam bought him to Scribante’s notice and the rest as they say is history; South African F1 champion from 1970-75, 13 championship Grands Prix appearances. He died in February 2013.

After claiming a number of wins in the Brabham over the following season Charlton upgraded to a Lotus 49C Ford taking the 1970 South African F1 title (and 12th place in the South African GP). In a renta-drive he drove a factory Brabham BT33 in the ’71 South African GP, his engine failed mid-race.

charlton lotus

The two great rivals in South Africa for over a decade; John Love March 701 Ford 2nd and Charlton Lotus 49C Ford 1st, Leeukop Corner, Highveld 100, 1971 Kyalami (Brian Watson)

He went to to the UK to collect a Lotus 72D, racing it in the 1972 British Grand Prix at Silverstone, in spite of losing practice time to mechanical issues he qualified 13th.  His engine dropped on to seven cylinders on the warm-up lap, but the car won him the domestic SA championship for three consecutive seasons.

image

1972 British GP, Charlton leading one of the McLarens into Druids Hill, Lotus 72D Ford, DNF gearbox, the race won by Fittipaldi’s works 72D (Brian Watson)

For 1974 Charlton’s Scuderia Scribante team acquired McLaren M23/2, which Peter Revson had driven to victory in the 1973 British Grand Prix. Charlton dominated the domestic scene to a new level despite Ian Scheckter’s pace in a Lotus 72. Charlton took six wins and won a fifth consecutive championship.

image

Kyalami 1972, perhaps the Highveld 100 but help welcomes from South African enthusiasts. #2 John Love Surtees TS9, #1 Charlton Lotus 72D and #3 Willie Ferguson Brbham BT33, the blue McLaren M10B Chev perhaps Kipp Ackerman (Brian Watson)

The following year Scheckter raced a Tyrrell 007 and Charlton won twice but eight podiums in a year of consistency won him the title again. He sold the M23 on to Aussie John McCormack, who converted it to Formula 5000 spec and notched up further successes in the domestic Gold Star championship, while Charlton switched to Formula Pacific and won that for four consecutive seasons.

Click here for my article on McLaren M23/2 which has some material on Charlton’s racing of that great car; https://primotipo.com/2014/07/24/macs-mclaren-peter-revson-dave-charlton-and-john-mccormacks-mclaren-m232/

Charlton died in February 2013 aged 77.

dc lot 72 sidways

Charlton during the 1973 South African GP @ Kyalami with his Lotus 72D all nicely balanced on the throttle (Stuart Dent)

Etcetera…

image

Charlton at Kyalami in the BT11 still Climax engined in 1967 (Ken Stewart)

image

Charlton this side in the BT11 Repco with John Love in his BT20 Repco in 1968 (Dave Kent)

image

Carlton again in the BT11 Repco (Deon Smit)

dc with hulme

Paid guest drive of the works Brbham BT33, inside Denny Hulme’s McLaren M19, SA GP 1971 (Deon Smit)

dc lot 72 in cock

Charlton at the wheel of a factory Lotus 72, 1971 British GP (unattributed)

Credits…

Nigel Tait Collection, Repco Ltd Archive

Tailpiece: The flag drops-Luki Botha Brabham Repco, John Love Cooper Climax and on the far side Dave Charlton Brabham BT11 Repco, 1967 Coronation 100 …

charlton burnout

(Deon Smit)

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s