Neil Brown started Neil Brown Engineering in 1973, personally building engines in a small workshop at the side of his home. Two years later, Roy Forman joined from the B.R.M. Bourne factory, where he was Chief Test Engineer. Together, Neil and Roy built and rebuilt Ford Formula 3 and Cosworth B.D.A Engines.
Another employee was soon hired to meet the growing demand, and in 1978 he secured a major contract with the Ford Motor Company to build the Capri 3.0 Litre Group 1 Engines. This led to our first race win in the Spa 24 Hour Race, quickly followed by three consecutive British and European Group 1 Championships in 1979, 1980 and 1981. During this busy time Neil increased the staff to five with the recruitment of two more engineers.
A decade of success
The introduction of the Formula Ford 2000 series in 1982 led to Neil receiving several personal requests from drivers to build their engines for their series. The engines enjoyed victories throughout the 80s in 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, and 1987. In 1988, the engines won the British F3 Championship. During this period, NBE also built sports 2000 Championship winning engines between 1984 and 1988.
Other notable successes include building Toyota’s Formula 3 engines for Tom’s GB Ltd, and rebuilding the Cosworth DFV Formula 3000 engine for LUCAS. Neil also worked with LUCAS on a new engine management system for Formula 1 and F3000. By the end of 1988 he had a team of nine.
After being appointed Mugen-Honda’s European agents for their Formula 3 and 3000 engines, NBE chalked up an impressive 15 British Formula 3 Championship wins between 1990 and 2005, including 10 consecutive triumphs from 1996 to 2005.
In 2013 a new set of engine regulations were developed for the FIA European F3 Championship. Neil Brown Engineering was one of the first engine tuners to consider the new engine regulations by developing its own 2.0-litre direct injection engine to take on manufacturers Mercedes and VW.
Touring car project
In 1993, Neil Brown entered into a joint venture with Mr Hirotoshi Honda of Mugen Company, Japan, resulting in four podium places in the 1995 Honda Touring Car Project in the UK, Germany and Belgium, and by the end of 1999 a total of 30 podium places.
Honda & BMW BTCC
Since 2000 the BTCC has had 3 sets of major engine regulation changes, for each of these, Neil Brown Engineering has developed engines that scored countless race and championship wins for Honda Factory team, Team Dynamics.
The Honda K20 engine was the first to the 2002 BTCC regulations, followed by an engine to suit the S2000 and currently an engine to suit the NGTC regulations.
Since 2012 NBE have also developed a BMW 2.0l engine to meet the NGTC regulations for West Surrey Racing securing the Drivers’ and Team championship in 2014.
The Honda and BMW engines have won 8 driver championships to date.
By this stage, the company had expanded to 20 staff to build, service and develop the growing number of engines. In 2001 NBE were contracted by Audi Team ABT to develop a 4L V8 engine for the DTM Championship. Despite short turnaround times, the engine was the only other engine/chassis combination to challenge the Mercedes in the 2001 championship winning four races and gained two 2nd and 3rd places. 2004 saw the return of Audi into the DTM series as a works team. Neil Brown Engineering was asked to continue its work designing, developing and building the V8 engines in conjunction with Audi Motorsport, fighting off Mercedes and Opal Works teams Audi won the 2004 DTM championship.
The company continues to work alongside Audi Motorsport; an impressive 14 year relationship. The engines have gone on to take 7 drivers championships (2004, 2007-2009, 2011, 2013) and 6 Constructors championships (2004, 2007, 2011, 2013-14, 2016)
Historic Car Racing
In recent years Neil developed a passion to be behind the wheel, at the age of 63 he bought a Ford Lotus Cortina with Fortec Motorsport boss, Richard Dutton. This was shortly followed by a 1966 ex Alan Mann Racing Ford Mustang and an Austin A35 ‘Powerful Peanut’. In this short period of racing he has chalked up an impressive number of wins and has competed twice in the St Mary’s Trophy race at the Goodwood Revival paired up with BTCC champions Matt Neal and Gordon Sheddon.
Neil’s passion behind the wheel has opened the door to the classic motorsport market for NBE, in particular the Lotus Twin Cam and A-series engines. The work ranges from simple rebuilds to improving and reverse engineering some of the components.