Jack Brabham, engineer


I found February’s Lunch with Mike Costin most interesting. Talking of the DFV, Mike mentions that “the pick-up after a gear change wasn’t very good. Dare I say it, it was Jack Brabham who solved that”.

Brabham was testing at Goodwood and found the engine pick-up was not smooth at small throttle openings. He would then hold the throttle at that position, turn the engine off and coast back to the pit, where the team would mark the fuel cam at that spot. It was then removed and placed on a jig consisting of a wood base with a plastic protractor. Once the fuel cam was mounted, a dial gauge indicator was placed against the cam at the marked spot and a few thou were stoned off. The process was repeated several times until the engine throttle response was good throughout. Cams were then modified to match on the engines we were running.

When our engines were sent back to Cosworth for service we replaced our modified throttle cam with a standard one, but one time this procedure was missed out, allowing Cosworth to pick it up. We found out about this when further engines were sent for service and we were charged for replacement cams.

On another occasion we were running in Germany at the Nürburgring when Keith Duckworth came into our garage. In chatting to Jack he mentioned they were having trouble with small foreign particles in the fuel system. Jack showed him our filter system which consisted of a piece of piano felt 3in diameter by 1 in thick in a split aluminium housing which had solved the problem. Besides being a top driver, Jack was a good mechanical engineer which served the team well.

Ron Tauranac, Bondi junction, NSW, Australia