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Nelson Piquet Was Reunited with His 1,400 HP BMW Brabham BT52 at the Austrian GP

When BMW first took a stab at Formula 1 it was back in 1982 and it involved a host of legendary names. Back then, the Germans were behind the engine of the Brabham BMW BT52 car that, with Brazilian driver Nelson Piquet behind the wheel, managed to become the first turbocharged model to win the world championship title in 1983.
BMW Brabham BT52 5 photos
Photo: BMW
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The man behind that incredibly fast car was none other than engineering genius Paul Rosche. He created a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged engine for it that made up to 1,400 HP. Yes, you read that right. However, the man was never sure how much it was capable of as the dyno they used couldn’t go past 1,280 HP.

However, for actual races, the engine was tuned to make a lot less power. In qualifying rounds it was rated at 850 HP while during the actual races it was limited to 640 HP. Those were the rules back then and everyone had to abide them. Oh, and the whole thing weighed 540 kg (1,190 lbs).

In 2013, exactly 30 years after Nelson Piquet’s triumph, the racer was roused from its automotive retirement and ushered back onto the race track. Numerous mechanics who were involved in its development more than three decades ago were recruited for its extensive restoration – among them Paul Rosche.

To get a better idea of how mad they were you should know that today’s Formula 1 cars use 1.6-liter engines that are also turbocharged that make around 600 HP as well. However, they also have KERS at their disposal that adds around 160 HP for short bursts.

Getting back to the matter at hand here, the Brabham BT52 car was driven by Nelson Piquet one more time on Sunday at the Austrian Grand Prix where he was joined by seven other big names of his day and age and their cars as part of the Legends Parade at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg.
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