THE BRE DRIVERS AND CREW
THE 1969 BRE TEAM
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Pete Brock employed a large number of people during BRE's four years of competition with Datsun. Some were team-mates of Pete's from his days at Shelby American. Others he had raced against in California in the early 1960s. Many of them went on to forge impressive careers in the racing industry.
Below is a short resume of members of the
BRE crew during the Datsun 2000 Roadster years.
|Pete disbanded the team after a successful 1972 season. The team achieved two C Production Championships and two 2.5 Trans-Am Championships in a space of three years. Pete built up a successful parts business that later became Interpart. After disillusion with the racing game, he went on to design and build hang gliders with Roy Haggard, notably the very successful Dragonfly. In 1987 he joined Kaminari, where he designed a number of successful body kits. He is now a respected automotive writer and photographer.|
|Frank Monise - raced 1969 - previously reknowned for his campaigns with the Lotus XI and 23, in which he enjoyed many battles with Pete Brock, John Timanus and Ken Miles. Won the Southern Pacific Divisional Championship at the wheel of the Datsun 2000 roadster in 1969. After Pete Brock dropped Frank in 1970, he went back to the wheel of his Lotus and took it to the 1970 ARRC. Has an automotive business in Pasadena, California. Frank's son, Frank Jnr., is also a race driver.|
|John Morton - raced late 1969 & 1970 - previously campaigned the Lotus 7 and 23 while working at Shelby American where he met Pete Brock. Went on to win two C Production National Championships with the BRE 240Z (1970 and 1971) and two 2.5 Trans-Am championships with the BRE 510 (1971 & 1972). Went on to many success with, amongst others, Jaguar, Porsche and Nissan. Returned to campaign and win with the BRE 510 at the Monterey Historics in 2001 at Laguna Seca.|
|John McComb - raced 1970 - John previously won the A Sedan Championship in 1967 with his Mustang. He took Frank Monise's seat in the roadster for the 1970 season. Achieved a Divisional Championship at the wheel of the 2000 in 1970 after winning eight consecutive races. At the ARRC his back axle broke. John also campaigned the 240Z for BRE in late 1970. His second National Championship came with Group 44 at the wheel of a TR6.|
|Mac Tilton - Crew Chief and Engineer - later Tilton Engineering - developed many important parts for the team. 1987 saw the first victory by a Formula 1 car with a carbon-fiber clutch, which was invented by Tilton. He also introduced carbon brake pads and rotors to racing. In 2001 (among many other successes) Tilton Racing was the preferred supplier of driveline components to the majority of Winston Cup teams.|
|John Timanus - Mechanic - enjoyed many contests in his Lotus XI and 23 with Frank Monise and Pete Brock in the early 1960s. John was an instructor at Shelby's racing school where Pete Brock was chief instructor and also raced the Pete Brock-designed Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe with Rick Muther (another Lotus 23 racer) in 1965. After BRE, John became Technical Director of the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), where he gained an excellent reputation.|
|Art Oehrli - Engine builder, 1969 - previously a highly respected engine builder with Jim Hall's Chaparral team. At BRE, Art, who was an expert dyno man, developed the Datsun 2000 and 240Z engines into championship winning form. Soon after leaving BRE, Art was building engines for the 6-strong Porsche 914/6 SCCA team of Richie Ginther (see the Bob Hindson pages).|
|George Boskoff - Fabricator - previously with Pete Brock at Shelby American and a long time friend of John Morton. George left the team in 1970 only to return to work on John Morton's Formula A BRE Lotus-Ford in 1972. Pete Brock: "That guy is so slow it's agonizing. But he can make the most beautiful things with those big hands. Keeping George in the shop is like having a van Gogh painting."|
|Bruce Burness - Fabricator - previously with Pete Brock at Shelby American and helped John Morton in his early years racing his Lotus 7 and 23. In 1970, Bruce prepared an immaculate Surtees-Chevrolet TS5 for Formula 2 racer Mike Goth - he was later involved in chassis and suspension technology in CART racing.|
|Tom Kanbe - Nissan engineer.|
|John Caldwell - Engine chief from 1970 - After quitting BRE, John (like Art Oehrli) joined Richie Ginther's Porsche team. He built championship engines for Paul Newman and Bob Sharp as well as for factory teams like Triumph, Saab, Mazda, Toyota and Nissan (including championship winning GTS and GTP units). In 1993 John formed CDI. He was most recently in charge of the factory Chrysler Viper race engines, with many successes in GT2, ALMS, etc. At Le Mans in 2001, his engines scored one class win and also powered the Dallara prototype to 4th overall.|
|John Knepp - Gears and electrics - John formed the successful Electramotive racing team with Don Devendorf following the demise of BRE. The team enjoyed many successes and won valuable Nissan support. John's engines appeared in the 1985 Nissan IMSA 280ZX-T GTP car and Nissan's Group C cars.|
|Floyd Link - Engine man 1970 to 1972 - Floyd's son Steve was racing the Datsun 510 successfully in 2001.|
|Ray Gruss - Engine man 1970 to 1972 - became chief engine man when John Caldwell quit BRE in 1972.|
|Kirk Allegro - Mechanic. Kirk also raced his own Datsun 2000 roadster in 1972 - see the Kirk Allegro pages.|
Others who helped out on the team during the roadster years were Bruce Plekan (mechanic), Steve Delaney (gopher), and George Britting (various tasks). Ace suspension man Trevor Harris came on the scene later to largely concentrated on the 510 efforts and the ill-fated BRE single seater. Other late entrants to BRE included Yoshi Suzuka, who went on to design the Electramotive Nissan GTP 280ZX-T and is now a respected aerodynamic guru. Pete also employed Laurie Leva (transporter driver), Gary Hall (machinist), Barbara Hines (Pete's secretary) and Judy Stropus (timer and scorer - Judy is still on the race scene in 2002).
As for the drivers, in 1971 Dan Parkinson replaced John McComb in the #3 240Z. The understudy to John Morton in the 510 Trans-Am campaign was former Group 44 national champion Mike Downs. Pete let Mike go during the 1972 season ("a little while after the rest of the team thought he should have gone"), replacing him with Sam Posey. Pete also employed the talents of a number of big name racers in a "guest" 510 seat in 1972. These included stock car legends Bobby Allison and Hershel McGriff, Datsun racers Bob Sharp and Jim Fitzgerald, and Porsche racer Peter Gregg.
Another regular traveller with the team was
Yutaka Katayama, President of the Nissan Motor Corporation in the
USA, and now a legend.
Pete Brock (in 1972): "Katayama is a man of true feeling about racing and automobiles ... I race for Katayama, not Datsun."
My thanks go to John Caldwell for a number of the images you see on this page.
If you have any further information or images that you think would benefit these pages please E-Mail me.
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