- June 30, 1931
- September 11, 1983
- Not Active
Brian Muir (1931-1983) was a racing driver from Australia who was active from the early 1960s to the early 1980s, and he was most successful in touring car competitions. He was a vice-champion in the British Saloon Car Championship and European Touring Car Championship, also gaining some success in the Australian Touring Car Championship.
Muir also participated four times at 24 Hours of Le Mans between 1966 and 1976, sharing cars with racing legends (Graham Hill, Jacky Ickx, Jackie Oliver or Peter Brock), but he didn't reach the finish in neither one of those four attempts.
Participant of the inaugural Armstrong 500 race
Born in June 1931, Brian Muir started his career in the Australian touring car races. In November 1960, he was a participant of the inaugural Armstrong 500 endurance race at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, the race that later became the Bathurst 1000. In that race, he was driving a Morris Major and finished fifth in Class C.
Muir's next attempt in the Armstrong 500 was in 1963, in the first race that took place at Mount Panorama Circuit in Bathurst. He raced again in Class C, driving a Holden EH S4 and finishing ninth in the class.
Maiden Bathurst podium in 1964
In October 1964, Muir climbed to the podium at Mount Panorama Circuit after finishing second in the Class A standings, together with Ron Clarke in a Vauxhall HA Viva. In 1964, Muir also participated in the single-race Australian Touring Car Championship at Lakeside International Raceway, finishing seventh overall in a Holden EH S4.
In 1965, the Australian Touring Car Championship took place at Sandown Raceway. Muir grabbed a podium in the 40-lap race, finishing third in class (fourth overall) in a Holden EH S4.
Moving a career to Great Britain in 1966
In 1966, Muir moved his career to Great Britain, having a double racing programme both in the British Saloon Car Championship and British Sportscar Championship. In BSCC, he won one race in a Ford Galaxie, triumphing at Goodwood Circuit. In sports car races, he was driving a Lotus 30 (Ford) but without some notable results.
In June 1966, Muir made an unexpected debut at 24 Hours of Le Mans. He was invited by Alan Mann Racing as a spare driver to replace Dick Thompson who was banned because of an accident. Muir was sharing the #7 Ford GT40 with Graham Hill, ending the race after 110 laps due to a broken suspension.
DNF for Muir and Ickx at 1967 Le Mans 24h
In 1967, Muir's main competition was the British Saloon Car Championship, at the wheel of a Ford Falcon Sprint. He was also driving a Chevrolet Camaro at Tourist Trophy, the round of the Europea Touring Car Championship, finishing fifth.
At 1967 Le Mans 24 Hours, Muir joined John Wyer's team to share the #15 Mirage M1-Ford with Jacky Ickx. Muir's race ended prematurely again, after just 29 laps (4 hours) due to a broken engine.
BSCC vice-champion in 1968
In 1968, Muir recorded his best season in the British Saloon Car Championship, dominating in Class D in a Ford Falcon Sprint. He won six races over eleven championship rounds, finishing second in the overall standings of the championship, behind another Australian Frank Gardner.
In October 1968, Muir returned to Australian to participate in the Hardie-Ferodo 500 at Mount Panorama Circuit. Driving a Holden HK Monaro GTS327 for Holden Dealer Racing Team, he finished in the fifth place, sharing a car with George Reynolds.
Victory at Barcelona 6 Hours in 1968, one more DNF at Le Mans
Parallel to his touring car commitments in 1968, Muir also participated in selected sports car racing events. In April, he and Francisco Godia-Sales won Barcelona 6 Hours in a Ford GT40.
Five months later, in September 1968, Muir was driving the #11 John Wyer Ford GT40 at Le Mans 24 Hours, sharing a car with Jackie Oliver. In his third attempt at Circuit de la Sarthe, Muir recorded third DNF. He had an accident at Mulsanne corner, parking the car into the sand. He was trying to dig a car out, but after three hours of digging he burned the clutch out.
Class victory at Brands Hatch 6 hours
In 1969, he raced on a part-time schedule in the British Saloon Car Championship, driving a Ford Falcon Sprint and Ford Mustang.
In sports car races, he joined Gold Leaf Team Lotus in national racing events. He and John Miles scored P2.0 class victory in a Lotus 62-Vauxhall at Brands Hatch 6 Hours, the round of the International Championship for Makes.
Victory at 1970 RAC Tourist Trophy
In 1970, Muir's greatest achievement was a victory at RAC Tourist Trophy, the most famous British touring car race, a fixture of the European Touring Car Championship. He won a race in Malcolm Gartlan Racing's Chevrolet Camaro Z28.
At the wheel of the same car, he was a winner three times in the British Saloon Car Championship, finishing the season second in Class D and third in the overall classification. He spent one more BSCC season in a Chevrolet Camaro, scoring seven class victories in 1971. Outside BSCC, he raced with different cars in touring and sports car racing events but without success.
Successful season in a Ford Capri RS 2600
In 1972, Muir switched to Ford Capri RS 2600, using that car both in the British Saloon Car Championship and European Touring Car Championship.
In the ETCC, his greatest success was a victory at Paul Ricard 6 Hours, together with John Miles as his co-driver. In the BSCC, Muir was a race winner two times, finishing fifth in the overall classification.
1973 ETCC vice-champion with BMW
Another change of machinery followed in 1973 when Muir switched to BMW 3.0 CSL, driving for Alpina Racing in the ETCC and for Dealer Team BMW in the BSCC. He won two times in the BSCC and finished fifth in the points.
With five podiums in ETCC races, including a victory at Monza 4 Hours for him and Niki Lauda, Muir became the ETCC vice-champion, losing a title to BMW factory driver Toine Hezemans. In July 1973, at Spa 24 Hours, Muir witnessed the death of his co-driver Hans-Peter Joisten. In the next race, at Zandvoort 4 Hours, Muir's co-driver was James Hunt and they finished second.
One more attempt at Le Mans in 1976
Muir spent just one season with BMW, returning to a cockpit of Chevrolet Camaro in 1974, driving for SCA European Road Services in the ETCC, but without notable results. Next, in 1975, he contested in a Mazda RX-3 in some BSCC races and in a Triumph Dolomite Sprint at Spa 24 Hours.
In June 1976, Muir recorded one more attempt at 24 Hours of Le Mans. He had no luck again, retiring after 156 laps. He was a member of the Team Brock, together with Australian racer Peter Brock and Frenchman Jean-Claude Aubriet, driving the #46 BMW 3.0 CSL. Later in 1976, Muir also raced at Spa 24 Hours in a Ford Capri 3.0 II (DSQ) and at Tourist Trophy in a Triumph Dolomite Sprint (DNF).
Racing with Jack Brabham at Mount Panorama in 1978
In the following years, Muir raced in different cars in Europe, most notably in a Ford Capri III 3.0S or BMW 635 CSI, but also returned to Mount Panorama in Bathurst.
In October 1978, he joined racing legend Jack Brabham in his #8 Holden LX Torana at Hardie-Ferodo 1000, completing 153 laps and finishing in the sixth place.
Brian Muir died a few hours after his last race
In 1982, Muir spent half of the season with Patrick Motorsport in the British Touring Car Championship, driving a Rover 3500. He was on a podium two times, finishing 20th in the points. At Tourist Trophy, sharing a car with Win Percy, he didn't reach the finish.
Muir's last race in a career, but also in life, was the 1083 Tourist Trophy, at the wheel of the #29 BMW 635 CSI which he was sharing with Frank Gardner. They finished in tenth place.
On the same day, while he was on his way home, Brian Muir died.
Photos: Rich Harman, Simon Lewis,