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Brabham and Ralt designer reaches his 90th birthday

The Historic Sports and Racing Car Association celebrate the 90th birthday of Ron Tauranac, HSRCA patron and the world’s most prolific and successful racing car designer.

Formed in 1982 the role of the HSRCA was then and still is to promote Historic Motor Sport in New South Wales and throughout Australia. From its inception, the HSRCA has promoted hundreds of Historic race meetings including the highly successful Tasman Revival where like the original 1960’s Tasman Series, drivers brought their race cars from the US, UK, Europe, NZ and Japan.

Ron Tauranac along with his friend Jack Brabham formed Motor Racing Developments in 1960 with the aim of building racing cars under the Brabham name. From then to 1972 a total of 592 Brabham cars were built, with each of them carrying the suffix – BT or Brabham Tauranac. Jack Brabham won the 1966 World Championship in a car designed by Ron Tauranac.

After Ron Tauranac sold Brabham to Bernie Ecclestone in 1971, he reintroduced the name he first used in a short line of racing cars from the early 1950s. Between 1975 and 1993 a total of 1,051 Ralts (Ron and Austin Lewis Tauranac) were produced. A total of 19 race cars were also built for Honda for their race school. With over 1,662 competition cars produced it clearly makes Ron Tauranac the most prolific and successful producer of racing cars in the history of Motor Sport. As to Ron’s forward thinking, Mike Lawrence noted in his 1999 publication Brabham, Ralt, Honda – The Ron Tauranac Story, published by Motor Racing Publications “Let’s not forget that it was Ron Tauranac, not Colin Chapman, who first ran a Formula One car with wings at a Grand Prix meeting.”

On Tuesday 13 January, Ron’s actual birthdate, the HSRCA celebrated his birthday in style in Parramatta Park, west of Sydney. The restaurant was appropriately chosen as just metres from its door was what used to be the Parramatta Park motor racing circuit where Ron raced his early air-cooled Ralt cars in 1951.

Over 100 of Ron’s friends attended the lunch and later heard words of congratulations from the likes of Dan Gurney, Nigel Mansell, Patrick Head, Gordon Murray, Tony Brooks, Bernie Ecclestone, John Judd, Eddie Jordan, Ron Dennis and Neil Trundle.

Following on David Kent, the acting President of the HSRCA presented Ron with a specially published book containing a collection of photos and other memorabilia dating from the early 1950s through to the present day.

Ron Tauranac is a shy man and keeps his words to a minimum. In response he said “I just can’t believe it! Thank you everyone for coming.” 

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