Brabham BT56

The Brabham BT56 was a Formula One car designed by John Baldwin and Sergio Rinland and raced by the Brabham team in the 1987 Formula One season. The car was powered by the straight 4 turbocharged BMW engine and raced on Goodyear tyres. Brabham finished 8th in the 1987 Constructors Championship with 10 points scored. It was driven by Andrea de Cesaris, Riccardo Patrese and Stefano Modena; both de Cesaris and Patrese scored a 3rd place driving the BT56.

Brabham BT56
Brabhams at the 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed.jpg
Brabham BT56 (bottom)
CategoryFormula One
Designer(s)John Baldwin
Sergio Rinland
Technical specifications[1]
ChassisCarbon fibre and Kevlar composite monocoque
Suspension (front)Pullrod double wishbone
Suspension (rear)Pushrod double wishbone
Axle trackFront: 1,778 mm (70.0 in)
Rear: 1,651 mm (65.0 in)
Wheelbase2,832 mm (111.5 in)
EngineBMW M12/13, 1,499 cc (91.5 cu in), Straight 4, turbo (4.0 Bar limited), mid-engine, longitudinally mounted
TransmissionBrabham / Weismann 6-speed manual
Weight545 kg (1,202 lb)
Competition history
Notable entrantsMotor Racing Developments
Notable drivers7.Italy Riccardo Patrese
7.Italy Stefano Modena
8.Italy Andrea de Cesaris
Debut1987 Brazilian Grand Prix
Constructors' Championships0
Drivers' Championships0

This was the last Formula One Car until 2000 to use BMW engines, not counting the Megatron-badged engines used by Arrows in 1988.

After a disappointing 1986 season with the BT55, the team reverted to a more conventional design in 1987. Long time Brabham designer Gordon Murray had moved to McLaren leaving the BT56 as the first Brabham car not designed by Murray since the Ralph Bellamy designed Brabham BT37 that raced in the 1972 and 1973 seasons. The BT56 was not a very competitive car; although it was quicker than some others (Patrese ran as high as second before retiring at the San Marino Grand Prix that year) it was nowhere near as competitive as the Williams, McLaren, Ferrari or Lotus cars that year. It was also a very unreliable car; of the 16 races, Patrese finished 6 races, and de Cesaris only finished one race- which was his third place at the Belgian Grand Prix that year; although he had a bad reputation for crashing, most of his retirements were due to mechanical failures, but some suspected that this was down to his questionable temperament and his harsh treatment of the car. Patrese also managed a third place in Mexico, although earlier in the season he had been unlucky to lose second place at the San Marino Grand Prix with alternator failure.

This was the last Brabham to use a turbocharged engine. It was also the last Brabham designed while longtime owner Bernie Ecclestone ran the team- he sold the team for US$5 million to Swiss businessman Walter Brun at the end of 1988 after buying it in 1972 for US$120,000 from the team's co-founder Ron Tauranac. Brabham would actually not appear on the Formula One grids through the 1988 season and would return in 1989 with the naturally aspirated Judd V8 powered Brabham BT58.

Complete Formula One resultsEdit


Year Entrant Engine Tyres Drivers 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Pts. WCC
1987 Motor Racing Developments BMW M12/13
S4 tc
Riccardo Patrese Ret 9 Ret Ret 9 Ret Ret Ret 5 Ret Ret Ret 13 3 11
Stefano Modena Ret
Andrea de Cesaris Ret Ret 3 Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret 8


  1. ^ "STATS F1 • Brabham BT56".