Home Formula 3 Renowned engine builder Neil Brown dies aged 74

Renowned engine builder Neil Brown dies aged 74

by Ida Wood

Photo: Macau Grand Prix

Neil Brown, one of the most famous engine builders in the history of junior single-seater racing, has passed away aged 74.

His company Neil Brown Engineering was founded in 1973 and became synonymous with Britain’s single-seater scene for several decades, as well as the domestic touring car scene.

NBE started supplying engines to Formula Ford 2000 teams in 1982, and by 1988 it had won the British Formula 3 title as it built Toyota’s engines for the category (through the Toyota-supported TOM’S GB company).

In the 1990s and 2000s it was Toyota’s rival Mugen-Honda using NBE’s services for their European racing programmes at multiple levels, and NBE won 15 British F3 titles between 1990 and 2005.

The FIA changed the technical regulations for F3 in the 2010s, and NBE remained involved in the category. It designed and built an all-new engine that was used in the European championship in 2014 as well as at the Macau Grand Prix, where Nick Cassidy [pictured top] finished third.

Last year British Formula 4 switched to a new chassis and engine, with the new turbocharged Abarth-branded units being prepared by NBE for the series. The company had been in charge of equalising the Ford engines previously used.

Other single-seater categories that NBE-prepared engines have either been raced in or developed for have included Formula Atlantic and most recently FF1600.

NBE powered British Touring Car and DTM champions, and has also achieved success in historic racing thanks not just to their modern engine preparation equipment but also due to the expert knowledge that Brown and his colleagues had accumulated on historic engines many decades ago when they were new designs.