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Martin Brundle

Full name
Martin John Brundle
Born
1st June 1959 (Age 61) - King's Lynn, Norfolk
Nationality
British
British
Years Raced
30
Recent Race
Starts
205 (7)
Wins
24
Poles
11
Podiums
42

The son of a Norfolk motor trader who had competed in rallies and rallycross, Martin Brundle’s own racing career path proved unorthodox. He started in grass track racing with a Ford Anglia during 1971 and he switched to short-track hot rods four years later – Brundle is a rare modern Formula 1 driver who did not graduate through karting.

Saloon cars and single-seaters

For his circuit racing debut, Brundle chose the British Touring Car Championship and an old Toyota Celica. The teenager caught the eye and he made his first steps into single-seaters in Formula Ford 2000 during 1979. Not that he abandoned saloons – winning the 1980 BMW County Championship for Norfolk and then Audi team-mate to returning veteran Stirling Moss in the 1981 BTCC.

His career really caught fire in 1983 when Ayrton Senna’s chief adversary in Formula 3. True, the mercurial Brazilian won the opening nine rounds but Brundle stood resolute and took the title fight to the final round. In all, Brundle won seven races in Eddie Jordan’s Ralt RT3-Toyota and enhanced his reputation immeasurably.

Formula 1 with Tyrrell

Both drivers jumped straight into F1 in 1984 with the Englishman driving a Tyrrell 012-Ford. Pitted against the might of the turbo teams, he finished a fine fifth on his debut in Brazil before crashing spectacularly during practice at Monaco. An impressive second at Detroit, Brundle crashed again while qualifying at Dallas and broke both his ankles. That ended his promising campaign and his efforts would eventually count for nothing. A fuel sample taken from his Tyrrell in Detroit was found to be illegal and the team was excluded from the 1984 championship with all results to date stricken from official records.

He remained with Tyrrell for the next two seasons but did not repeat his exuberant rookie displays – a lapped fourth in the 1986 Australian Grand Prix was his best finish for the team. 1987 with Zakspeed was a disaster (fifth position at Imola his only points score) and Brundle was forced to sports cars and Jaguar in search for a competitive car.

Sports car success and the return to F1

He won both the World Sportscar Championship and Daytona 24 Hours for Tom Walkinshaw’s squad during 1988 and he was seventh in the Belgian GP in a one-off replacing the ill Nigel Mansell at Williams. Brundle spent 1989 back in F1 with Brabham and would have finished third in Monaco but a pitstop to change a faulty battery dropped him to sixth. The season was hampered by the team’s financial uncertainty and so he returned to Jaguar for the following season. The highlight of 1990 was victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours when Brundle made a late switch to the winning Jaguar XJR-12 after his own car had retired.

With new owners and a works Yamaha engine deal, Brabham persuaded Brundle to rejoin for 1991 but fifth in Japan was his only top-six finish. 1992 was the year when Brundle finally had an F1 car in which he could win but unfortunately his team-mate that year was Michael Schumacher.

Walkinshaw was now managing Benetton’s F1 operation and it was Brundle’s most successful season in the category – finishing sixth in the world championship and almost winning in Canada. But comparison to the brilliant young German was inevitable and unfavourable.

Further seasons with Ligier (1993 and 1995), McLaren (1994 during its fallow Peugeot-powered campaign) and Jordan (1996) were those of a driver on the way down. There were moments when Brundle was centre stage – finishing second for McLaren in the 1994 Monaco GP, crashing into a Japanese marshal later that year and barrel-rolling on the opening lap of the 1996 Australian GP – but Brundle had a decision to make.

Television career

He retired from F1 to accept an offer from ITV Television to join its new commentary team. It was immediately obvious that he was a natural behind the microphone and his pre-race grid walks became a signature element of his burgeoning broadcasting reputation. Brundle transferred, first to the BBC when it won the broadcast rights, and then to Sky in 2012.

Aside from television, Brundle ran 2MB Sports Management with Mark Blundell before selling his stake to his former Brabham team-mate in 2009. He also negotiated David Coulthard’s driver contracts during the latter years of the Scot’s career and he served as Chairman of the British Racing Drivers’ Club from 1999 to 2003.

Brundle has never quite retired from racing, making occasional returns alongside his broadcast career. He returned to the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2012 when 15th overall with Greaves Motorsport’s Zytek Z11SN-Nissan, his son Alex and Lucas Ordóñez. Most recently, Brundle finished second in the GT3/LMP3 race that supported the 2016 event with United Autosport’s Ligier JSP3-Nissan.

Championship Seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points Results

2012

World Endurance Championship

Greaves Motorsport

0

0

0

0

74

1

1996

F1 World Championship

Benson & Hedges Total Jordan Peugeot

16

0

0

0

11

8

1995

F1 World Championship

Ligier Gitanes Blondes

11

0

1

0

13

7

1994

F1 World Championship

Marlboro McLaren Peugeot

16

0

2

0

7

16

1993

F1 World Championship

Ligier Gitanes Blondes

16

0

1

0

7

13

1992

F1 World Championship

Camel Benetton Ford

16

0

5

0

6

38

1991

World Sportscar Championship

Silk Cut Jaguar

3

1

3

1 - 34% win rate

24

12

1991

F1 World Championship

Motor Racing Developments

14 (2)

0

0

0

15

2

1990

World Sports-Prototype Championship

Silk Cut Jaguar

9

1

3

1 - 12% win rate

8

19

1989

F1 World Championship

Motor Racing Developments

14 (2)

0

0

0

16

4

1988

World Sports-Prototype Championship

Silk Cut Jaguar

11

0

9

5 - 46% win rate

1

240

1988

IMSA Camel GT Championship

Tom Walkinshaw Racing

2

1

2

2 - 100% win rate

U

0

1988

F1 World Championship

Canon Williams Team

1

0

0

0

U

0

1987

World Sports-Prototype Championship

Silk Cut Jaguar

3

0

1

1 - 34% win rate

25

20

1987

F1 World Championship

West Zakspeed Racing

16

0

0

0

18

2

1986

World Sports-Prototype Championship

Silk Cut Jaguar

1

0

0

0

U

0

1986

F1 World Championship

Data General Team Tyrrell

16

0

0

0

11

8

1985

World Endurance Championship

Tom Walkinshaw Racing

3

0

1

0

42

8

1985

F1 World Championship

Tyrrell Racing Organisation

15 (1)

0

0

0

U

0

1984

F1 World Championship

Tyrrell Racing Organisation

7 (2)

0

0

0

U

0

1984

European Touring Car Championship

Tom Walkinshaw Racing

0

1

1

1

U

0

1983

Marlboro British F3 Championship

Eddie Jordan Racing

6

1

6

6 - 100% win rate

2

123

1983

European Touring Car Championship

Tom Walkinshaw Racing

0

1

2

2

U

0

1983

European F3 Championship

Eddie Jordan Racing

2

2

2

2 - 100% win rate

7

18

1982

Marlboro British F3 Championship

Dave Price Racing

2

2

2

2 - 100% win rate

4

60

1982

European F3 Championship

Dave Price Racing

0

0

0

0

U

0

Non Championship Races

Title Date Circuit Laps Position

2001 Le Mans 24 Hours

16/06/2001

Le Mans

321

R

1999 Le Mans 24 Hours

12/06/1999

Le Mans

366

R

1998 Le Mans 24 Hours

06/06/1998

Le Mans

351

R

1997 Le Mans 24 Hours

14/06/1997

Le Mans

361

R

1990 Le Mans 24 Hours

16/06/1990

Le Mans

359

R

1990 Le Mans 24 Hours

16/06/1990

Le Mans

359

1

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