Today is Ron Tauranac’s 90th birthday and for those who may never have heard of the Australian engineer, it is worth pointing out some of his achievements, notably designing the Brabham Formula 1 cars of the 1960s and early 1970s, including the BT19 in which Sir Jack Brabham won the 1966 World Championship and the BT20 that carried Denny Hulme to the title the following year. Tauranac-designed cars won 13 F1 Grands Prix and were renowned for simplicity, strength and reliability, in contrast to the revolutionary but often-fragile Lotuses of Colin Chapman. When Brabham retired from race driving at the end of 1970 he sold his share of the team to Tauranac, who later sold the whole business to Bernie Ecclestone. Tauranac then went on to built Ralt racing cars, which enjoyed huge success in Formula 2, Formula 3, Formula Atlantic and Formula Super Vee.
Later this week the American living legend AJ Foyt will celebrate his 80th birthday. Foyt was the first four-time winner of Indianapolis 500 and the only man to win the Indy 500, NASCAR’s Daytona 500 and the 24-Hour sports car races at Le Mans and Daytona. Foyt never competed in F1 although he did three Indy 500s that were deemed to be rounds of the the Championnat du Monde des Conducteurs, which existed between 1950 and 1981 when the FIA changed the name to the FIA Formula One World Championship. Foyt was entered for three other Grands Prix: the United States and Mexican GPs in 1964 with BRM, and the 1967 Belgian GP with Dan Gurney’s Anglo American Racers but did not appear at any of them for a number of reasons.