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1972 Brabham BT34 'Lobster Claw'

After his retirement from active competition Sir Jack Brabham started his own Formula One team, sadly after limited success he sold the team to his partner and fellow countryman Ron Tauranac deciding to return home to Australia to pursue other interests. The company was renamed Motor Racing Developments Ltd., as the Brabham racing facilities were named officially, in personal union.

The BT34 superceeded the very successful BT33, a car powered by a Ford Cosworth engine and driven by German driver Rolf Stommelen in 1970 and Tauranac created the BT34 to compete in the 1971 F1 season the following year. In contrast to it's predecessor, the BT34 was a very modern design, very unusual for the more or less conservative thinking and acting Tauranac. It was a box-shaped monocoque chassis made from aluminum sheeting. It had two water radiators which sat in front of the front wheels and were aerodynamically covered giving the front of the car the 'Lobster Claw' shape. Between the two radiators a great front wing was placed. This was designed to bring both greater downforce and better weight balance.

The drivers recruited for the 1971 season were Graham Hill, who arrived from Rob Walker's private Lotus team and Tim Schenken who moved over from Frank Williams' semi-works De Tomaso and things looked promising. Hill started the season in the new BT34, while Schenken had to make do with the conventional BT33 from 1970, both in the traditional turquiose and yellow colours. Hill won at Silverstone in May, a non-championship event called the International Trophy driving the BT34 which gave hope for further victories in the following Grand Prix season, however further victories did not come. Brabham decided to stick with the Hill BT34 combination but Schenken had to make do with a modified BT33 for the rest of the season, managing a fine 3rd place at the Austrian Grand Prix. At the same event Hill scored his best result with the BT34 when coming home in 5th position, this summed up how poorly the car had performed of the car over the course of the season. At the end of the year M.R.D. finished 9th and last in the Constructors' world championship and the car was eventually replaced the following season with the BT37.

Tauranac realised that designing, team managing and selling the Brabham customer cars in the lower formulas, was too much for a single person and he sold M.R.D. to Bernie Ecclestone, remaining as a designer on the team. Ecclestone's first move was to partner Graham Hill with the Latin American young star Carlos Reutemann from Argentina and also added Wilson Fittipaldi from Brazil, he was the the older brother of Emerson Fittipaldi. Graham Hill had criticised the BT34 and for the following season switched back into the BT33, handing over his car to Carlos Reutemann. In his first ever Grand Prix, at his home ground of Buenos Aires, the Argentine took the now white coloured car to pole position and eventually finished a creditable 7th.

After a disagreement with Ecclestone, Ron Tauranac lost his job at M.R.D. and was replaced by Ralph Bellamy. His first change to the BT34 was to replace the twin radiator design to a conventional single radiator and created its successor the BT37, it´s debut was at the Spanish Grand Prix at Jarama with Graham Hill in the cockpit. Wilson Fittipaldi eventually bought the BT34 together with his brother, Emmerson and this car can now be seen in their private museum based in Interlagos, the Copersucar Fittipaldi factory.

This will be a full detailed build depicting the pole setting No. 2 Carlos Reutemann car from the 1972 Argentinian GP.

 

Scale 1/20
Kit Manufacturer
Year 1972
Driver Wilson Fittipaldi (Brazil)
Event 1972 F1 Championship