The company would have some issues just with an increase to 2.0-liters. The main problem the team would run into would be fitting the larger engine into the car itself. This would require the car's wheelbase to be increased by some two inches. The removal of such elements, such as lights and other such sportscar equipment from the car, the T40, as it would become known, would be quite light. This would even enable the first gear from the transmission to be removed as it was really quite useless.
The whole T40 project would get a rather late start. By the time the engine had even been fitted to the car the season was already into the summer months and the rounds of the 1955 Formula One season were becoming fewer and farther between, especially given the tragic events at Le Mans that year.
Obviously, the goal for the team and for Brabham was to have the car prepared in time to take part in the British Grand Prix on the 16th of July. And while Mercedes-Benz would be rolling in with four of its W196s, ready to compete, Cooper's team, and Brabham, would be scurrying around the night before practice and qualifying just to get the car all put together.
By July of 1955, the Formula One World Championship was more or less over in more ways than one. Juan Manuel Fangio continued to dominate in the W196 and was in a commanding lead in the championship battle. Secondly, the tragic events at Le Mans the previous month would send the motor racing community into a state of shock and knee-jerk reactions. The fall-out from the terrible mass of deaths at Le Mans would be tremendous. The French, German, Swiss and Spanish grand prix would all be cancelled. In the case of Switzerland, a grand prix would never be held on Swiss soil ever again. Some of those on the schedule would remain, like the Dutch Grand Prix and the British. However, what that meant by the time the teams and cars started arriving on English shores is that the championship had only two rounds remaining before it was all over, and it wasn't even August yet.
What this all meant for Brabham, Cooper Car Company and the T40 was that there was no time for the team to test its new Formula One racer. It would, in all accounts, undergo a baptism by fire.
The 1955 British Grand Prix would see a lot of changes, not only would people soon witness a revolution in the series, but, for the first time since the end of World War II, people would have to travel some place other than Silverstone to witness the British Grand Prix. Through some clever negotiating on the part of Earl Howe and Raymond Mays, Aintree would come to play host for the 6th round of the Formula One World Championship.
Aintree Grand Prix Circuit would be the first, and actually remains, the only purpose-built grand prix circuit in Britain, but it would be just for horsepower…well actually that's not true. The site of the Aintree Grand Prix Circuit would be the same as the famed Grand National. Mixing within and without the hallowed Grand National Steeplechase course, a 3-mile grand prix circuit would be made that would come complete with grandstands already erected and set to go. And, in 1955, it would present the first opportunity for Brits further north to ever see the famed Silver Arrows of Mercedes-Benz.
And it would be true that few would pay any heed to the tiny car being hastily assembled prior to practice. All eyes would be on Mercedes-Benz for there were the incredible Silver Arrows, but also, England's Stirling Moss. And if anyone was to put any money down on a potential winner of the British Grand Prix the odds certainly would have been overwhelming in the odds of Moss and Mercedes-Benz over the Cooper T40.
The Cooper team and Brabham would be ready, barely, for practice. Stirling Moss would further pad his odds advantage going out and posting a lap time of 2:00.4 around the 3-mile circuit. This time would prove to be two-tenths of a second faster than the remarkable Juan Manuel Fangio and would give the Brit the pole for the British Grand Prix. Jean Behra, in the factory Maserati, would keep it from being a clean Mercedes sweep of the front row by taking the 3rd starting position and posting a fastest lap time a full second slower than Moss.
While the front row would be running times nearly in the sub-two minute range, Brabham would be struggling with the 2.0-liter Cooper to keep its lap times under two minutes and thirty seconds. Moss' average speed on his pole winning lap would be nearly 90mph. Brabham, in contrast, would be averaging just above 70mph. Therefore, Brabham's best effort of 2:27.4 would leave his 27 seconds in arrears and would cause him to start the race from the tenth, and final, row of the grid. He was 25th, dead-last.
Even into the night before the race, the car still needed work to be truly finished. Then, in the morning of the race itself, the clutch would fail leaving Brabham with the task of driving the race without the aid of a clutch. What would make matters worse when the field lined up on the grid and prepared for the start of the race would be the incredibly hot temperatures in Liverpool that day. These high temperatures were bound to play a role over the course of the 90 lap race.
The engines would come up to a roar and the flag would drop to start the race. Fangio and Moss would tear away from the grid almost equal. Behra would get caught off guard and would get swallowed up by a number of other competitors. At the back of the grid, however, the clutch issues would come into play with the Cooper T40. Brabham would struggle and would be unable to pull away from the grid without the help of the Cooper team giving him a push.
Heading into the first corner, known as Waterway, Fangio would get a leg up on the British favorite. Behra's struggles off the line would enable it to be a one-two-three-four sweep for Mercedes-Benz. At the completion of the lap, however, Behra would charge his way back up through the field and would find himself in the very place he started, 3rd. Problems with Andre Simon's car would cause him to pit at the end of the first lap. Therefore, Brabham would find himself, at the end of the first lap, running in the 23rd position.
By the 3rd lap of the race it would be Moss leading the way over Fangio and the two Mercedes drivers would hook up and leave the remainder of the field behind. Behra would do his best to keep touch with the two teammates but an oil pipe problem after 9 laps would bring his race to a very early end.
While Moss and Fangio continued to pull away from the rest of the field, at the tail-end of the field, Brabham would be running a steady and controlled race considering his fight to drive lap after lap without the use of a clutch. Though he was at the tail-end of the field, attrition would help to move him up in the order.
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