Rindt & Ickx's Brabham F1 car up for sale at Amelia Island
This grand prix winner driven to two motorsport legends is being sold by Bonhams at Amelia Island in March
When Formula 1 cars come across the auction blocks there is always a flurry of excitement, and this 1968 Brabham BT26 should be no exception, as a grand prix winner and driving tool of the likes of Jochen Rindt and Jacky Ickx.
Chassis BT26/3 competed from 1968-‘70, entering 14 FIA Formula 1 world championship grand prixs and a further 11 F1 and F5000 races. It was designed by Ron Tauranac, and was one of the last ever F1 cars to feature a spaceframe design. Sat behind the driver originally was a 182.7ci Repco 860 V8 engine, and was used by Jochen Rindt when he gave chassis BT26/3 its debut at the 1968 Gold Cup, a non-championship F1 race.
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He made three further appearances in the car that year, all in grand prixs, but retired from every race. On the plus side, he did take pole position on the car’s world championship debut. The Repco engine proved to be unreliable, and for ‘69 it was replaced with a similar sized Ford-Cosworth DFV V8.
For ‘69 the car also became the BT26A, and Ickx took over the controls. Once again the season started with retirements, at Kylami and Brands Hatch, and a fourth place in the International Trophy at Silverstone was followed by a sixth place finish at the Spanish Grand Prix. He bettered that in the Dutch GP, then took the car’s first podium in the French GP at Clermont-Ferrand.
Ickx switched cars after practice for the British GP, and didn’t return to BT26/3 until the Gold Cup at Oulton Park, where he took victory against a 15-car grid populated mostly by F5000 machinery. The result shouldn’t be dismissed though, as after a 10th place in Italy, Ickx took win, pole and fastest lap at the Canadian GP. It all but secured him second in the standings, which he made official with second place in the season-ending Mexican GP.
After its F1 success, the car ended up being campaigned in the SCCA Continental Championship by Gus Hutchinson for ‘70.
He got his first taste of the car in the final race of 1969 season, with second place in the L&M F5000 Championship Race at Sebring putting him straight into 14th in the standings. A year later and he was aiming for the title, winning two of the first six races before returning the car to F1 in his own hands. His United States GP cameo ended in a fuel leak though, which marked the last racing appearance for the vehicle. Hutchinson switched to a Lola T190 for the rest of the SCCA season, and ended up second in the standings.
In the last 49 years, BT26/3 has spent most of his time in America, and competed in the 2006 Monterey Historic festival. Monterey is one of the biggest automotive events in America, as is Amelia Island, where the car will be sold by Bonhams on March 7.
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