January 9, 2009 Yet another famous British automotive name is to be resurrected in 2009, with the news that Bee Automobiles’ recently announced 250 mph AWD electric racing car will compete as the BRM Bee Four ERV in the British Hill Climb Championships this year. The car should be an awesome beastie as it is reportedly using a new topology of electric motor featuring a segmented armature and the novel use of materials. Each 13 kg motor (one for each wheel) delivers a peak torque of 130Nm (10Nm/kg) and peak power of about 50kW. Simulations show that the same motor, developed by the Electronic Power Group within the Engineering Department at the University of Oxford, is capable of achieving a peak torque of over 200Nm and a peak power of over 150kW.
All of the car’s direct technological influences have not yet been revealed, but the web site hints at who might be involved when it states the car has been “designed by a team accustomed to winning Formula 1 Grand Prix”, and it will be driven by the spectacular Graeme Wight Jr who will follow in the footsteps of such luminaries as Graham Hill and Sir Jackie Stewart who gave the marque 17 F1 wins and a drivers and two constructors title.
It is quite fitting that the marque should be revived in 2009, as it will be sixty years since BRM was founded by Raymond Mays, who had built several hillclimb and road racing cars under the ERA brand before the war, and Peter Berthon, a long-time associate. Mays' pre-war successes (and access to pre-war Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union design documents) inspired him to build an all-British Grand Prix car for the post-war era, as a national prestige project (which, naturally, he would drive himself!) with the backing (both financially and in kind and labour) of the British motor industry and its suppliers channelled through a trust fund.
This proved an unwieldy way of organising and financing the project, and as some of the backers withdrew, disappointed with the team's slow progress and early results, it fell to one of the partners in the trust, Alfred Owen of the Rubery Owen group of companies, which primarily manufactured car parts, to take over the team inits entirety. Between 1954 and 1970, the team entered its works F1 cars under the official nameof the Owen Racing Organisation and won 17 Grands Prix, The Drivers World Championship and two World Constructor's titles.
According to the press release, “the BRM Bee Four electric racing car will be consistent with BRM's long history of innovation and teamwork, and will be a great demonstration of Rubery Owen's modern focus on environmental technologies. It will also be a 'marker' for a new breed of motorsport, one which minimises environmental impact and is overwhelmingly cost effective, but at the same time is phenomenally fast and very 'inclusive'.”
Paul Owen, Grandson of Sir Alfred and Managing Director of Rubery Owen's Environmental Technology Subsidiary Rozone Limited commented: "Rubery Owen is very pleased to see the BRM name once again being used to drive forward an innovative development to take motorsport to new levels. For the last decade, our Rozone subsidiary has been seeking to develop technologies under the umbrella of "Sustainable Solutions" - solutions which try to balance economic, social and of course environmental considerations, all within a framework of teamwork and co-operation.
"We believe that the BRM Bee Four project demonstrates this perfectly - acknowledging the past, enhancing the present, and creating the future. At a time when we are all examining the cost effectiveness and environmental impact of many parts of what we do, we hope that the project will demonstrate that motor sport can be both these things - but without forgetting the 'social' aspect or the importance of fun, enjoyment and competition' - the main reasons we all do it in the first place!"
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