For the 1976 season Brabham principal Bernie Ecclestone signed an exclusive deal with Alfa Romeo to use their 3-litre, 12-cylinder engine. The Ecclestone’s surprising decision apparently had some reasons behind it. First, Ferrari won both titles in 1975 using an engine of similar construction proving that Ford Cosworth DFV is not a rival. Second, Alfa Romeo had a three season experience with V12 in the back of the Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 sports racers, culminating in a dominant victory in the 1975 World Championship. Third, Alfa Romeo engines would be supplied free of charge due to the deal with Brabham’s Italian sponsor Martini & Rossi. Alfa Romeo type 115-12 flat 12-cylinder engine with 500 hp was constructed by Carlo Chiti who opted to use a 180 V-angle and horizontally opposed configuration resulted in a very low centre of gravity. It was equipped with a Hewland six-speed transmission, and the frame was as an aluminum monocoque. The chassis was designed by Gordon Murray. Brabham retained the duo of fast and experienced South American drivers for 1976. For Carlos Reutemann it was his 5th consecutive season with Brabham, and Carlos Pace was in the 3rd year with the team. Despite the promises the BT45 suffered reliability problems, especially the engine, the whole season. The best results in 1976 were three fourth places. After seven retirements and only one finish in the points in the first twelve races, Reutemann negotiated a release from his Brabham contract to sign with Ferrari, who was looking for a temporary replacement for the injured Niki Lauda. After Reutemann left the team the seat was provided to Rolf Stommelen (for the Italian Grand Prix) and Larry Perkins (for 3 last races of the season). Stommelen also drove 3rd Brabham BT45 #77 in the German Grand Prix at Nurburgring and finished 6th. The German’s car from this race is represented in this scale model by True Scale Miniatures (TSM).
|Rolf Stommelen||77||Martini Racing|
|1:43||True Scale Miniatures|