S5253 Brabham BT11 Monaco GP 1965 – Frank Gardner
Actually the Australian Frank Gardner (1930-2009) was not predestinated for a career in motorsport. The man from Sydney rather tried as a lifeguard and potential boxing-champion. But then he switched to two wheels – and started with Speedway. At the age of 19 he completed his first touringcar-race on an MG. On four wheels Gardner was quickly successful. He won several races downunder and at the age of 29 he moved to Great Britain. There he hired first at Aston Martin later at Brabham. In the team of the triple Formula One worldchampion he was a promising Formula Junior driver (today Formula 3). But Gardner did not reach the level of a worksdriver of Brabham in F1. Nevertheless he took part in eight Formula-1-races in a private Brabham in 1964/65. His best result was an eighth place at the British GP in 1965 – in his orange Brabham BT11 which Spark reduced successfully in 1:43. This car was actually designed by Sir Jack Brabham as a customer vehicle and further development of the BT7. But the car ran so well that Brabham also used it as a factory car in 1965. Together with the second driver Dan Gurney they achieved various podium. How compatible and customer-friendly the BT11 was, shows his various engines in the back. The BT11 was powered by Climax, Ford, B.R.M. and Repco. Whereby the works-crew of Brabham trusted in Climax. Gardner was powered by an engine from B.R.M. The British entrepreneur John Willment was responsible for Gardners operations. Willment was one of the most famous Ford dealers in Great Britain. However his greatest success was not in Formula 1 but in Le Mans. Where he won in 1968 and 1969 with a GT40. However without Gardner at the wheel. Therefor the Australian won three times the British Touring Car Championship. What makes Gardner the most successful non-British driver in the BTCC until today.