• Brian Redman book signing meeting!

    Yesterday afternoon I went to a book signing by Brian Redman, hosted jointly by the Boston BMWCCA and PCA. Brian was joined by one of his former rides, BMW CSL #59, which he drove to victory in the 1976 Daytona 24hrs with Peter Gregg and John Fitzpatrick.



    It was a beautiful day for an outing here in the northeast, especially with my friend Phil doing the driving in his '72 3.0 CSi. Lots of other attendees were of a similar mind, and the parking lot was littered with nice cars, including a shiny new M4GTS, a Ferrari 360, an E-Type Jag, a Ford GT, and numerous other Bimmers and Porkas.

    Like many drivers of his day, Brian was a jack-of-all-trades behind the wheel, and jumped around from F2 to F5000 to WSC to F1 to Can-Am to IMSA, frequently many of them in the same season. He spoke for more than an hour about his amazing career, some highlights of which I remember:

    - Driving the wheels off an Austin Mini, literally: the front left wheel came off right over the lug nuts, which were still on the car
    - Jim Clark teaching him his exercise regimen of leg lifts: once a day he lifted them out of bed in the morning, then back into bed that night
    - Crawling back to the hotel with Jo Siffert at 4am after winning at Spa, then partying with the mechanics- his wife locked him out and the hotel manager had to beg her to let him in to keep the noise down
    - His favorite car was the Porsche 908, despite the fact that it nearly killed him at the Targa Florio. He slid into a concrete mile marker sideways, which ruptured the fuel tanks and ignited the car in a fireball. Redman was extremely lucky his belts released, and he was able to jump from the car before his eyes swelled shut, because there was of course no one around to put him out.
    - His other life-threatening accident happened in a Can-Am Chapparal at St Jovite, when the car lifted off and slowly back-flipped, breaking the roll bar when it came down upside down, and Brian's neck with it.
    - Brian had a long career, for a driver of the era. He drove only one race for Ferrari- the Old Man pushed him so hard that Brian turned down an offer to race in red for the rest of the year, because he was sure he would be dead before the end of the season.
    - Jo Bonnier was known to cut drivers off as he passed. Brian said you knew you'd have to lift if he came over, or he'd hit you, and in fact that's what finally killed him at Le Mans.
    - When asked about his least favorite car, he said it was the Porsche 917, which, ironically, I was due to drive that very night in Assetto Corsa with the Historics division. He said the car would not hold a line down the Mulsanne straight due to aerodynamic instability, and was known to break in half when things went south- literally separating around the cockpit, which was not a comforting thought. It was better in 1970, in fact he co-drove the winning 917 in the '70 Spa 1000kms, despite the car twice shredding its tires on the way to the Masta kink during practice!

    Great stuff! Lots more stories to be read in his book, "Daring Drivers and Deadly Tracks", quite the history of an amazing career.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Brian Redman started by Hutch View original post
    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Brette Brooks's Avatar
      Brette Brooks -
      Thanks for sharing Hutch! Sounds like a very interesting experience.

      I've seen Brian twice in the pits at the BRIC (Brian Redman International Challenge) at Road America in the early 2000s. It figures a great event with a variety of racing cars like that would carry his name. Its like "The Mitty" of the north.

      I have the Victory By Design Series of DVDs and he gives good recollection of his thrills driving different Porsches on the Porsche DVD - especially the relief felt after winning the 1000Km at Spa in the 917. When speaking of the danger element he said he felt like "The Sky was bluer.. and the Grass was greener" once you finished in one piece. He also described driving the Porsche 908 at the Nordschleife in good detail - including the fact that drivers feet are hanging out over the front axle with just a thin layer of body work covering them.

      He is quite the character.
    1. Tom's Avatar
      Tom -
      Sounds like that was a fun day!