Aus­tralia II vs Brab­ham BT19

F1 Racing - - THE FEATURES -

Ask most Aus­tralians to name our coun­try’s great­est sport­ing suc­cess on the world stage that also in­volves a tri­umph for Aus­tralian tech­nol­ogy and most will say the 1983 Amer­ica’s Cup win.

And most of them will know that the win­ning Aussie yacht, Aus­tralia II, was bankrolled by busi­ness ty­coon Alan Bond, had a spe­cial ‘winged keel’ de­signed by Ben Lex­cen, and was skip­pered by John Ber­trand. Bondy’s legacy might be a bit tar­nished these days, but Lex­cen and Ber­trand are bone fide Aussie sports leg­ends – Lex­cen is so fa­mous Toy­ota even named a car af­ter him!

As an Aus­tralian sport­ing suc­cess, how­ever, that yachting vic­tory is dwarfed by the Brab­ham team’s

of dom­i­nance of F1 in 1966-67. An Aus­tralian team, led by its Aus­tralian driver and car de­signer, with an en­gine de­signed by an Aus­tralian and built in Mel­bourne. A small col­lec­tive of Aussies a long way from home con­spir­ing to beat the world’s best au­to­mo­tive houses and specialist rac­ing mar­ques, which they did over a 24-month pe­riod. The Ben Lex­cen of the Brab­ham oper­a­tion ought to be much more widely known and hon­oured in this coun­try than he is. At the very least, though, Ron Tau­ranac also has had some cars named af­ter him. Some very, very good cars.

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