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GPR APR 21 NTWAC Brabham 2
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Special feature

How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner

The Brabham BT46B raced once, won once, then vanished – or did it? STUART CODLING reveals the story of the car which was never actually banned…

Fans attending the Gunnar Nilsson Memorial Trophy at the recently reopened Donington Park on 3 June 1979 might have gone home disgruntled at the complete lack of a Formula 1 race – Silverstone and Brands Hatch’s owners had lobbied the FIA to nix it – but in future years they would come to cherish having witnessed two historic final outings.

In the five-lap time-trial event which replaced the planned Race Of Champions-style non-championship F1 thrash, James Hunt essayed his final competitive laps in an F1 car (he announced his retirement four days later) while British F3 champion and F1 rookie Nelson Piquet intrigued the crowd with a car making only its second ever appearance in front of a paying audience, and its last for the better part of three decades: the Brabham BT46B, better known as the ‘Fan Car’.

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