B&S Fabrications

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Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png B&S Fabrications
B&S Fabrications.png
Full Name B&S Fabrications
Base Spartec HQ.jpg
Luton, Bedfordshire, United Kingdom
Founder(s) Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png Bob Sparshott
Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png John Woodington
Team Principal(s) Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png Bob Sparshott
Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png John Woodington
Technical Director
Noted Former Drivers
Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png Brian Henton Also drove for Ensign and Hesketh in Formula One.
Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png Divina Galica Former Olympian.
Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png Rupert Keegan Not to be confused with Robert Kagan
Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png Stephen South Scored the team's first-ever F1 podium.
Flag of Sweden svg.png Conny Andersson Competed in ten World Championship events for B&S
Flag of Italy svg.png Luciano Sighinolfi Also an owner-driver in Dywa GP
Flag of Italy svg.png Lella Lombardi Former points finisher for Brabham.
Flag of Belgium svg.png Thierry Boutsen Future Benetton driver made his debut with B&S.


B&S Fabrications was an engineering company that specialised in constructing Formula One parts, and which also ran a privateer Formula One team between 1976 and 1978 before building their own Spartec chassis in 1979. B&S often struggled in World Championship events, with a best finish of 8th place by Stephen South at the 1980 Italian Grand Prix, with an even better result of 2nd place at the 1980 Race of Champions..

Formula One

1976

Whilst B&S Fabrications continued their business as a supplier of motorsports parts, business partner John Woodington was given the responsibility of taking the helm of the team's entry into Formula One. For their debut season in 1976, the team purchased two-year-old March 741 chassis and Ford Cosworth engines, with the cars to be driven by a selection of pay drivers. No fewer than five different drivers would compete for the team, escaping from pre-qualifying a total of four times between them and to the race proper twice. The team's best result was provided by former Olympian Divina Galica, who finished in 12th place in the 1976 British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch, the team's home race. Three more failures to make the grid would follow but Galica's 12th place helped the team to finish 17th in the Entrants' Championship. Despite this, money was tight by the end of the season.

1977

The B&S March-Renzo; the engine would not fit under its cover.

Faced with financial difficulty, things looked bleak for the team heading into 1977. The now three-year-old Marches were kept, but a further blow was struck when both of the Cosworth engines failed irreparably during a pre-season testing session. The cash-strapped team was forced to purchase the experimental (but very cheap) Renzo V8 engines which proved to be both uncompetitive and unreliable. In a questionable display, Woodington opted to sell the team's race seats to drivers looking for experience. No fewer than twelve drivers would represent the team over the course of the season, but few stayed around for longer than they had to in a team that was barely faster than the Dywas and Wheatcrofts at the bottom of the pre-qualifying timesheets. The team continued to bleed money with little to show for it, and were forced to curtail their European season after the German Grand Prix without ever escaping prequalifying. Only Divina Galica and Conny Andersson represented the team more than once in 1977, but one small olive branch came at the British Grand Prix, where the Tony Brise Memorial Trophy offered B&S some valuable track time in which she managed to score a 17th-place finish.

1978

The 1978 season was another painful one for B&S; unable to procure new machinery, the team planned only to attend the Championship rounds at Brands Hatch and Hockenheim respectively, in addition to the Race of Champions also at Brands Hatch. To do this, they retained the services of Galica and Andersson. However, as the season came to a close, Dywa Grand Prix Series driver Luciano Sighinolfi approached the team to ask if he could offer the funding for them to attend the Italian Grand Prix at Monza so as to familiarise himself with Monza in a suitably fast car.[1] The team did so and despite bringing their tally of DNPQs for the season to three, Sighinolfi lauded it as a useful experience and saying that he was "proud to now be a Formula One driver". By season's end, there were rumours that team might move out of Formula One after another season in which the only times they made the starting grid were non-Championship events, although Conny Andersson's 16th-place at the Tony Brise Memorial Trophy was a one-place improvement on the previous year.

1979

The Spartec G71A was the first Formula One car built by B&S.

Despite the expectations of many, B&S did not fold ahead of the 1979 season. With the news that their long-suffering March 741s were to be illegal for the coming season, some doubted that B&S would be able to source a new car, even Sparshott insisted that it had "forced us to look forward, not back."[2] Instead, with Bob Sparshott taking on a more hands-on role in managing the team, they set about conducting their most ambitious program yet: not only did the team return to contesting all Championship events in Europe, also made the unexpected move of building their own Formula One car for the first time ever. The car, dubbed the Spartec G71A would be powered by Ford engines, not the Renzos the team had been stuck with for the past two seasons.[3] Much of the money to do this came from the team's two new drivers, Freddy Kottulinsky and Lella Lombardi, who would be contesting nine rounds each. The remaining drives were offered to two local drivers at their respective Grands Prix: Luciano Sighinolfi at Imola and Monza, and Rupert Keegan at Silverstone and Brands Hatch. This left the long-serving Galica out of a drive, although Sparshott insisted that she was still an important member of the team as a test driver, and that they intended that she continue to drive in non-Championship Formula One events.[4]

Investments into B&S

During the 1979 season, the Formula One paddock was left generally baffled by comments in which Sparshott intimated that his team had a plan and that another season in which the team failed to make it out of prequalifying was a part of that plan. In an interview with the Luton Herald and Post, Sparshott suggested that the team could yet "sit at the same table" as Williams and McLaren, and that their next car could "challenge for World Championship points". [5]. Such statements were met with widespread derision coming from the owner of a team with over 20 consecutive failures to prequalify over the preceding four seasons. However, as the season drew to a close, news of investment into B&S Fabrications began to emerge: first to break was that the owners of the British Formula One Racing Team had chosen to redirect their investment towards B&S in light of the news that teams would be required to commit to a full World Championship season. [6]. Shortly thereafter, Count Rodolphe van der Straten-Panthoz also redirected his investment from his eponymous VDS Racing team and into B&S, in return for an opportunity being given to a Belgian driver at the 1980 Belgian Grand Prix. [7]. However, the biggest news came after the season had ended, when the Auto Racing Sporting Enquirer broke the news that Team Lotus would be making an unprecedented investment into the Spartec project, to the tune of £800,000. [8] This investment stunned the paddock, even after it later emerged that the investment would be used to develop a prototype Hart turbo engine ahead of the 1980 season which might have been deemed too risky for the Lotus works outfit; the story was broken by Sue Jawhard, who incriminated herself in criminal matters by doing so. [9]

1980

As a result of this flurry of investments, as well as earnings made throughout the 1979 season, B&S Fabrications were able to build the brand-new Spartec G71B for the 1980 season, powered by the prototype Hart turbo engines, with talk of them possibly paving the way for Lotus to switch to the same turbos for the following year.[10] This made them only the second team to run a turbocharged engine in Formula One without the backing of an automobile manufacturer, the first being the chaotic Dywa-Renzo outfit in late 1979. The turbo engine offered 1.5 seconds of laptime compared to the previous year's Cosworths when fitted into the G71A.[11] The team also upgraded their drivers, with occasional 1979 entrant Rupert Keegan promoted to a full-time drive alongside new hire Stephen South, leading to the team being described as the "home of British talent" by one biased local publication.[12]

Despite all the enthusiasm, the early season was very difficult for Spartec: the new Hart engines failed to finish any of the first seven Championship Grands Prix, for either driver. However, an upgrade package helped to unlock previously unseen reliability from the engines: across the rest of the season, there were no fewer than nine classified finishes in Championship Grands Prix, one as high as an eighth place for Stephen South at Monza. However, the team's greatest achievement came in a non-championship event. The 1980 Race of Champions was originally due to be held at Brands Hatch before it was cancelled.[13] In response, not only did Bob Sparshott rail against the cancellation, but in an impressive display of influence he managed to rearrange the event to the Thruxton Service, also securing a full grid of 26 drivers. [14] When the race went ahead, South was paired with Finnish rookie Rikky Leiviska; the younger driver retired with engine trouble, but the British driver drove a clean race to come home in second place, behind only Riccardo Patrese's Arrows.

1981

Despite the many positives, the 1980 season had ended without points for Spartec. Despite this, Sparshott lauded a plan that was "not done yet" according to an interview he gave to a racing magazine.[15] He alluded to a possible partnership within the British automotive industry, although nothing was forthcoming for 1981. However, it was expected that the way ahead would have to continue without Rupert Keegan[16] The expectation was that he would be promoted to the main Lotus team, only for Chapman to bring in reigning World Champion Alan Jones to partner Mansell. Lotus' loss was Spartec's gain, and Keegan would race for the team for another year, again in a bright orange car. Rumours that Jonathan Palmer would take the seat proved to be unfounded.[17] There were even rumours that a strong enough season might lead to a possible "Rover" engine-badging deal with British Leyland, although this would not be announced until after the 1981 season if at all.[18].

BMW M1 Procar Championship

Despite the questionable attributes of their new Spartec Formula One car, B&S Fabrications were also approached by Bernie Ecclestone to prepare a field of 24 BMW M1 Procars for a new-for-1979 Formula One support series. In return for their efforts, B&S were granted an entry for a two-car team in the series. The Luton outfit approached long-standing Formula One driver Divina Galica and recovering ex-Dywa GP driver Kelby Rogerson, who was making his comeback into motorsports after a devastating spinal injury sustained at the Coppa Renzo Bizzarri ended his open-wheel career.

After Formula One

Sparshott withdrew his team at the end of the 1987 Formula One season [dependent upon a 1987 retcon], citing his inability to keep up with the arms race that Formula One had become. He continued to enter teams into the British Touring Car Championship and British Formula Three Championship for some years, as well as continuing the fabrications part of his business by building and maintaining cars for junior formula racing. As the team stopped entering racing series and focussed on fabrications, the business was renamed to "Racing Fabrications" in the years before Sparshott retired; the business and premises were sold to McEwan Automotive in 2012.

Motorsports Results

Formula One World Championship Results

Year Team Chassis Engine No. Driver 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 Pts WCC WEC
1976 B&S
Fabrications
March
741
Ford Cosworth
DFV 3.0 V8
Flag of Argentina svg.png
ARG
Flag of South Africa 1928-1994 svg.png
RSA
Flag of the United States svg.png
USW
Flag of Spain svg.png
ESP
Flag of Belgium svg.png
BEL
Flag of Monaco svg.png
MON
Flag of the Soviet Union svg.png
SOV
Flag of France svg.png
FRA
Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png
GBR
Flag of Germany svg.png
GER
Flag of Austria svg.png
AUT
Flag of the Netherlands svg.png
NED
Flag of Italy svg.png
ITA
Flag of Canada svg.png
CAN
Flag of the United States svg.png
USA
Flag of Japan svg.png
JPN
0 n/a NC
43 Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png Brian Henton DNQ DNQ DNPQ DNPQ
Flag of Sweden svg.png Torsten Palm DNQ DNPQ
Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png Divina Galica 12
44 Flag of Sweden svg.png Conny Andersson DNQ 17† Ret DNPQ DNPQ
Flag of Austria svg.png Dieter Quester DNQ DNPQ
1977 B&S
Fabrications
March
741
Renzo
DFV 3.0 V8
Flag of Argentina svg.png
ARG
Flag of South Africa 1928-1994 svg.png
RSA
Flag of the United States svg.png
USW
Flag of Spain svg.png
ESP
Flag of Belgium svg.png
BEL
Flag of Monaco svg.png
MON
Flag of France svg.png
FRA
Flag of Italy svg.png
TUS
Flag of the Soviet Union svg.png
SOV
Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png
GBR
Flag of Germany svg.png
GER
Flag of the Netherlands svg.png
NED
Flag of Austria svg.png
AUT
Flag of Italy svg.png
ITA
Flag of Canada svg.png
CAN
Flag of the United States svg.png
USA
Flag of Japan svg.png
JPN
0 NC
43 Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png Guy Edwards DNPQ
Flag of Belgium svg.png Bernard de Dryver DNPQ
Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png Andy Sutcliffe DNPQ
Flag of the Netherlands svg.png Michael Bleekemolen DNPQ
Flag of Italy svg.png Lamberto Leoni DNPQ
Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png Divina Galica DNPQ DNPQ
44 Flag of Spain (1945-1977) svg.png Emilio Zapico DNPQ
Flag of Sweden svg.png Conny Andersson DNPQ DNPQ
Flag of Switzerland svg.png Loris Kessel DNPQ
Flag of Austria svg.png Hans Binder DNPQ
Flag of Italy svg.png Beppe Gabbiani DNPQ
Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png Ian Ashley DNPQ
1978 B&S
Fabrications
March
741
Renzo
DFV 3.0 V8
Flag of Argentina svg.png
ARG
Flag of South Africa 1928-1994 svg.png
RSA
Flag of the United States svg.png
USW
Flag of Spain svg.png
ESP
Flag of Belgium svg.png
BEL
Flag of Monaco svg.png
MON
Flag of France svg.png
SUI
Flag of Italy svg.png
TUS
Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png
GBR
Flag of France svg.png
FRA
Flag of the Netherlands svg.png
NED
Flag of Germany svg.png
GER
Flag of Austria svg.png
AUT
Flag of Italy svg.png
ITA
Flag of Canada svg.png
CAN
Flag of the United States svg.png
USA
0 NC
43 Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png Divina Galica DNPQ DNPQ
Flag of Italy svg.png Luciano Sighinolfi DNPQ
44 Flag of Sweden svg.png Conny Andersson DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ
1979 B&S
Fabrications
Spartec
G71A
Ford Cosworth
DFV 3.0 V8
Flag of Argentina svg.png
ARG
Flag of Brazil svg.png
BRA
Flag of South Africa 1928-1994 svg.png
RSA
Flag of the United States svg.png
USW
Flag of Spain svg.png
ESP
Flag of Belgium svg.png
BEL
Flag of Monaco svg.png
MON
Flag of Europe svg.png
EUR
Flag of San Marino svg.png
SMR
Flag of France svg.png
FRA
Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png
GBR
Flag of Germany svg.png
GER
Flag of Austria svg.png
AUT
Flag of the Netherlands svg.png
NED
Flag of Italy svg.png
ITA
Flag of Canada svg.png
CAN
Flag of the United States svg.png
USA
0 NC n/a
43 Flag of Sweden svg.png Freddy Kottulinsky DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ C
Flag of Italy svg.png Luciano Sighinolfi DNPQ DNPQ
Flag of Italy svg.png Lella Lombardi DNPQ
44 DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ C DNPQ
Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png Rupert Keegan DNPQ DNPQ
1980 B&S
Fabrications
Spartec
G71B
Hart 415T 1.5 L4t Flag of South Africa 1928-1994 svg.png
RSA
Flag of Argentina svg.png
ARG
Flag of Brazil svg.png
BRA
Flag of the United States svg.png
USW
Flag of Spain svg.png
ESP
Flag of Belgium svg.png
BEL
Flag of Monaco svg.png
MON
Flag of Mexico svg.png
MEX
Flag of San Marino svg.png
SMR
Flag of France svg.png
FRA
Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png
GBR
Flag of Germany svg.png
GER
Flag of Austria svg.png
AUT
Flag of Italy svg.png
ITA
Flag of Canada svg.png
CAN
Flag of the United States svg.png
USA
Flag of the United Arab Emirates svg.png
DUB
0 NC
31 Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png Rupert Keegan C DNQ Ret Ret DNQ Ret DNPQ Ret 18 Ret 10 11 14 Ret Ret 13 Ret
32 Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png Stephen South C Ret Ret Ret Ret DNPQ Ret 19 17 11† Ret Ret 8 Ret Ret Ret
Flag of Belgium svg.png Thierry Boutsen Ret
1981 B&S
Fabrications
Spartec
G71C
Hart 415T 1.5 L4t Flag of Argentina svg.png
ARG
Flag of South Africa 1928-1994 svg.png
RSA
Flag of Brazil svg.png
BRA
Flag of the United States svg.png
USW
Flag of Spain svg.png
ESP
Flag of Belgium svg.png
BEL
Flag of Monaco svg.png
MON
Flag of San Marino svg.png
SMR
Flag of Mexico svg.png
MEX
Flag of France svg.png
FRA
Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png
GBR
Flag of Germany svg.png
GER
Flag of Austria svg.png
AUT
Flag of France svg.png
EUR
Flag of Italy svg.png
ITA
Flag of Canada svg.png
CAN
Flag of the United States svg.png
USA
0* *
29 Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png Rupert Keegan Ret INJ ENT ENT ENT ENT ENT ENT ENT ENT ENT ENT ENT ENT ENT ENT ENT
Flag of Argentina svg.png Ricardo Zunino DNQ
30 Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png Stephen South Ret Ret ENT ENT ENT ENT ENT ENT ENT ENT ENT ENT ENT ENT ENT ENT ENT
1982 B&S
Fabrications
Spartec
BS82
TBC Season yet to be held
1983 B&S
Fabrications
Spartec
BS83
TBC Season yet to be held
1984 B&S
Fabrications
Spartec
BS84
TBC Season yet to be held
1985 B&S
Fabrications
Spartec
BS85
TBC Season yet to be held
1986 B&S
Fabrications
Spartec
BS86
TBC Season yet to be held
1987 B&S
Fabrications
Spartec
BS87
TBC Season yet to be held

Non-Championship Formula One Results

Year Team Chassis Engine No Driver 1 2 3 4 5
1976 B&S
Fabrications
March
741
Ford Cosworth
DFV 3.0 V8
Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png
INT
Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png
OUL
43 Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png Brian Henton Ret
44 Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png Divina Galica Ret
1977 B&S
Fabrications
March
741
Renzo
DFV 3.0 V8
Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png
INT
Flag of Italy svg.png
TDF
Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png
OUL
Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png
TBT
43 Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png Divina Galica Ret 17
44 Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png Ian Ashley Ret Ret
1978 B&S
Fabrications
March
741
Renzo
DFV 3.0 V8
Flag of the United States svg.png
CLE
Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png
INT
Flag of Italy svg.png
TDF
Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png
ROC
Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png
TBT
43 Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png Divina Galica Ret Ret
44 Flag of Sweden svg.png Conny Andersson Ret 16
1979 B&S
Fabrications
Spartec
G71A
Ford Cosworth
DFV 3.0 V8
Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png
INT
Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png
ROC
Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png
TBT
Flag of Sweden svg.png
GNT
Flag of the Netherlands svg.png
NED
43 Flag of Italy svg.png Luciano Sighinolfi 14 12
Flag of Sweden svg.png Freddy Kottulinsky Ret 18 DNPQ
44 Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png Divina Galica 12 10
Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png Rupert Keegan Ret Ret
Flag of Italy svg.png Lella Lombardi DNPQ
1980 B&S
Fabrications
Spartec
G71B
Hart 415T 1.5 L4t Flag of South Africa 1928-1994 svg.png
RSA
Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png
INT
Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png
ROC
31 Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png Rupert Keegan 10 Ret
Flag of Finland svg.png Rikky Leiviskä‎ Ret
32 Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png Stephen South Ret Ret 2

Procar Championship Results

Year Team No. Driver 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Pts Pos
1979 B&S
Fabrications
Flag of Spain svg.png
JAR
Flag of Belgium svg.png
ZOL
Flag of Monaco svg.png
MON
Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png
BRH
Flag of Italy svg.png
IMO
Flag of France svg.png
DIJ
Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png
SIL
Flag of Germany svg.png
HOC
Flag of Austria svg.png
SPL
Flag of the Netherlands svg.png
ZAN
Flag of Italy svg.png
MNZ
0 NC
43 Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png Divina Galica 18
44 Flag of Ireland svg.png Kelby Rogerson 20

References

  1. Sighnolfi to make F1 debut at Monza?, Ragusa News (1978)
  2. "Don't count us out yet" - Sparshott, Motor Sport Magazine (1979)
  3. Sue Jawhard, The Formula One car Luton gave us, Luton Herald and Post (1979)
  4. Galica "still valued" at B&S - Sparshott, Motor Sport Magazine (1979)
  5. Local Leaders: Bob Sparshott, Luton Herald and Post (1979)
  6. British Formula One Racing Team to redirect investment, Motor Sport Magazine, p. 48 (1979)
  7. Letter to Count Rodolphe van der Straten-Panthoz, Bob Sparshott (1979)
  8. Ambitious Spartec Announce Lotus Partnership Auto Racing Sporting Enquirer (1979)
  9. Huge Changes At Spartec Headquarters Motor Sport Magazine (1980)
  10. Huge Changes At Spartec Headquarters, 'Motor Sport Magazine, 1980
  11. Spartec "delighted" with Hart turbo engine Autosport (1980)
  12. B&S "the new home of British talent" - Sparshott Luton Herald and Post (1980)
  13. Race of Champions cancelled Autosport (1980)
  14. Race of Champions saved for 1980 Autosport (1980)
  15. Spartec project "not done yet" - Sparshott Auto Racing Sporting Enquirer (1980)
  16. [https://gprejects.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=409360#p409360 Rupert Keegan "expects promotion to Lotus for 1981" - Source} AutoReject (1981)
  17. Sue Jawhard, Sue Jawhard's 1981 Season Preview, Motor Sport Magazine (1981)
  18. B&S Fabrications in talks with Leyland, J.O.U.R.N.A.L. (1981)