The hypercar world was set alight on 2 May when Brabham, the most famous Australian name in motor racing, was reborn.
The first race car to bear the Brabham name in more than two decades, the ‘BT62’ was unveiled alongside historic Brabham racers at a special event at Australia House in London, where the new ‘Brabham Automotive’ manufacturing concern also made its official debut.
An Anglo-Australian venture, Brabham Automotive will be based in the UK, but the hypercar will be manufactured here, at what’s said to be an advanced 15,000 sqm. facility close to the former Holden plant at Elizabeth.
Managing Director for the new firm is David Brabham, one of Sir Jack’s sons and a former F1 racer and Le Mans 24 Hour winner. Reflecting this pedigree, Brabham’s aim is to take the BT62 racing, specifically at the Le Mans 24 Hour.
David led the Brabham Automotive team who designed and developed the BT62, which according to the company’s Director of Technology and Engineering, Paul Birch, literally started with a blank page.
“Our first car takes Brabham into an exciting new era, whilst honouring and upholding the marque’s glorious past,” Birch said. “Using contemporary materials, processes and technologies, and following a rigorous two-year engineering and development programme, the BT62 is a car that demands total engagement and commitment from its driver, delivering immense reward and satisfaction.
V8 and light weight
The BT62 continues the ‘BT’ naming convention established by Jack Brabham and Ron Tauranac for their Formula racers, while the livery of the unit unveiled in London paid tribute to the BT19 in which Brabham won the 1966 French GP and became the first – and so far only – driver to win the F1 world championship in a car of his own design and construction.
With the likes of the McLaren 720/Senna and Ford GT in its sights, the BT62 is a racetrack-only machine, of broadly similar dimensions to those competitors, with abundant aerodynamic and lightweighting measures - including an all-carbon fibre body - in its design. Dry weight is just 972kg, with the aero design delivering a claimed 1200kg of downforce.
Power comes from a mid-mounted, naturally-aspirated 5.4-litre V8 of undisclosed origin, but believed to be based on a Ford engine. Matched to a motorsport-specification six-speed Holinger sequential gearbox and driving the rear wheels (no AWD), this package produces a claimed 522kW (700hp) at 7400rpm and 667Nm (492 ft/lb) at 6200rpm.
Power-to-weight is listed at 730ps per tonne, and while top speed and 0-100km/h times have not been revealed, teaser videos showing a camouflaged prototype testing at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit suggest it is abundantly quick. Brabham Automotive state that the car is capable of setting “blistering lap times”.
Suspension is fully adjustable, with 18-inch centre-lock wheels and Michelin competition tyres standard, while stopping is handled by “carbon on carbon” Brembo brakes with six-piston calipers on both the 380mm front and 355mm rear carbon fibre discs.
Reflecting its intended mission of endurance racing, standard features include a carbon fibre driver’s seat with a six-point racing harness, adjustable pedals, in-built fire suppression and jacking systems, and a 125-litre fuel cell with quick-fill connectors.
Only 70 units of the BT62 will be built; the total honouring the 70-year heritage of the Brabham name in motorsport. All will be track-only machines and while the bulk of production is intended to be built in left-hand drive, Brabham Automotive say they will build in RHD to customer request.
The first 35 units built will be ‘Celebration’ models, individually liveried in tribute to each of Brabham’s 35 race wins in Formula 1, while the remaining 35 will be ‘Signature’ models that can have the livery, paint and interior colours modified to customer request.
Pricing is listed at £1,000,000 per unit (around AU$1,780,000 direct conversion) before taxes and options.
Each owner will be able to join a Brabham Automotive ‘driving experience’ program tailored to enable them to fully exploit their car’s performance potential.
David Brabham and the team behind him are confident that they have a competitive product in the BT62, which will start reaching customers later this year.
“It’s with great pride that I honour and continue my father’s legacy in revealing the next chapter in the evolving Brabham story,” David said at the launch.
“I set out twelve years ago to re-establish the iconic Brabham name, determined to see it return to global competition. My father had an incredible determination to succeed and, like him, I’ve worked tirelessly through this time, drawing on my experience as a racing driver, leader and mentor, never once losing sight of that goal. It’s been challenging at times, but what we have achieved is simply staggering.
“The team we have in place, and the vision it shares, provides a solid platform for Brabham Automotive to execute its long-term business strategy. Our first step to deliver on that strategy is the Brabham BT62, a car truly worthy of carrying the iconic Brabham name.”
Further information on Brabham Automotive and the BT62 can be found at: brabhamautomotive.com