The Brabham name is back and this time it’s on a road car – the Brabham BT62.
After a few false starts, experimenting with a return to racing via crowdfunding and a general struggle to make things work, this is a bolt from the blue.
Over the past two months the Brabham Automotive Twitter account has been getting on with teasing the new project. We knew something was coming, but the details were scarce. Impressively so.
What is it?
As you know, racing cars all have codenames. Brabham was huge in Formula One for years but slowly slid into ignominy. Its last car, the BT61, was never even built for the 1993 season. And that was it. The Brabham name returned in the form of Jack’s son David in 1994, driving for Nick Wirth’s Simtek and partnering poor Roland Ratzenberger who died the same weekend as Ayrton Senna.
The BT62 is a trackday car in the same vein as the McLaren Senna. As a tribute to the company’s racing heritage, the first 35 cars will feature a paint job from the Brabham team’s history. That’s pretty cool, although if you want a hot pink car, you’re probably not going to want any of that first lot. The car in the pics was inspired by the BT19, the car Jack Brabham drove to victory in the 1966 French Grand Prix.
The car itself is interesting. Built on a tubular space frame – the Senna has a carbon tub, remember – the company says the 522kW/700bhp monster’s aero produces up to 1200kg of downforce. Dry weight is a Lotus-like 972kg, which is astonishing.
Power comes from a Brabham-prepared V8 mated with a six-speed sequential box with paddle shifters. Along with the 522kW/710PS you get 667Nm. That will ensure a lively response.
Suspension is by double wishbones at both ends with pushrod, Ohlins four-way adjustable coilover dampers.
As it’s a track car, the interior is super-racy. Trimmed in carbon fibre and Alcantara, there’s a F1-style steering wheel with bits missing. The wheel has buttons and switches everywhere, sp you’ll feel like the real thing. A digital screen sits behind the wheel and beyond that, the track. You and your passenger will both be held in by a six-point racing harness, which seems eminently sensible.
The Brabham BT62 will cost you a minimum £1 million. That’s probably not a big deal as just 70 BT62s will roll down the line, celebrating 70 years of Brabham family’s start in motor racing.
You don’t just get a car, though. Brabham will train you at various track days, with first deliveries expected at the end of 2018.
The production line is already in motion and the factory is (surprisingly) located in Adelaide, South Australia. That city used to be the home of GM Holden’s and Mitsubishi Australia’s factories as well as a brilliant street track.
David Brabham is in charge of the company and wants to go racing, but not with the BT62.
BT62 [it’s] not really been designed to race in any particular championship, it’s outside of those boundaries. But it’s the foundation and the architecture we want to move forward with, so when it comes to the next variant car, with GT racing in mind that will be more shaped towards the future racing cars.
He also stopped short of ruling out a road-going spec Brabham BT62…
Peter Anderson is the Editor and founder of the theredline.com.au. He’s been writing about cars for years and finds it difficult to talk about anything else.