Brian Hart

Full Name:
Brian Roger Hart
Born:
7th September 1936
Enfield Town, London
Died:
5th January 2014 (Aged 77)
Epping, Essex
Nationality:
British
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

Brian Hart is primarily known as an engine builder but he also raced to good effect. Brian Henton won the 1980 European F2 Championship with a Hart-powered Toleman TG280 and the Harlow-based tuning expert developed a four-cylinder turbocharged engine for that team’s graduation to Formula 1 a year later.

Early career as engineer and driver

Hart was an apprentice engineer with the De Havilland aircraft company before joining Cosworth. He also raced in Formula Junior from 1958 and national success concluded with a 1963 Grovewood Award for the most promising young Commonwealth racing drivers.

He made his Formula 2 debut in 1964 with a Cosworth-run Lotus 22-Ford before switching to Ron Harris’s Lotus 32 for the Gran Premio di Pergusa at Enna. He won first time out and was third at Zolder. He drove a Lotus 35 in Formula 3 during 1966, both he and Keith Greene entered by actor Peter Sellers.

Grand Prix appearance

Hart's most notable season as a driver was 1967 when driving the distinctive F2 Protos-Cosworth. The Frank Costin design utilised a plywood monocoque and all-enveloping bodywork. Hart gave the car its best finish (second at Hockenheim) and drove it in the F2 class of that year’s German Grand Prix. He drove Bob Gerard’s Brabham BT23C-Cosworth in the 1969 Rheinpokal at Hockenheim and beat Hubert Hahne in a slipstreaming head-to-head.

Hart Racing Engines

He also founded his engine preparation company that year and with business flourishing, Hart retired from driving before the 1972 season. Hart Racing Engines originally tuned Ford FVA and BDA engines for F2 before building its own aluminum unit to challenge the might of BMW in that category.

That period culminated in Henton’s 1980 championship success and prompted Toleman and Hart to graduate to F1 in 1981 with a turbocharged 1500cc unit. Hart powered GP privateers until turbos were outlawed in 1988. He later worked with Cosworth to develop the DFZ and DFR F1 engines and built his own 3.5-litre V10 unit that powered Jordan in 1993 and 1994.

Engine capacity was reduced to 3000cc in 1995 and Hart’s new V8 was used by Arrows (1995 and 1996) and Minardi (1997) before he gave up the unequal struggle against the sport’s major manufacturers. He sold his company to Tom Walkinshaw Racing in 1997.

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
1971 European F2 Trophy
Bob Gerard Racing
1 (2) 0 0 0
0% win rate
20th 1
1969 European F2 Trophy
Bob Gerard
Merlyn Racing
4 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1968 European F2 Trophy
Church Farm Racing Team
Merlyn Racing
6 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
12th 4
1967 RAC British F2 Championship
Ron Harris Racing Division
2 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1967 F1 World Championship
Ron Harris Racing Division
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1967 European F2 Trophy
Ron Harris Racing Division
5 0 1 0
0% win rate
9th 8
1965 Autocar British F2 Championship
Brian Hart
Ron Harris Team Lotus
3 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1964 Autocar British F2 Championship
Cosworth Engineering
3 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
0