The first Brabham supercar, the BT62, will race at Le Mans and you will be able to buy a homologation road version of it, David Brabham confirmed today at the Autosport International Show in Birmingham.
The target is for a racing development of the BT62 to compete in a factory team in the GTE Pro class of the World Endurance Championship of 2021/22, including that season’s Le Mans 24 Hours.
“Returning the Brabham name to Le Mans is something I have been working on for years, so it’s fantastic to make this announcement today,” said David Brabham whose fledgling Brabham Automotive company first demonstrated the BT62 – first new Brabham since 1992 – at the Goodwood Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard in 2018.
The 700bhp mid-engined V8 BT62 was developed as a track-day car but it was always imagined that the newly booming GTE class of endurance sports car racing would prove irresistible to David Brabham. Its participation in international motorsport, and particularly at Le Mans, is an enthralling one for motorsport fans, promising a clash with former Formula 1 rivals such as Ferrari and McLaren not seen for decades.
While three-times F1 World Champion Sir Jack Brabham did race at Le Mans – in the one and only French Grand Prix held there in 1967 – the famous La Sarthe circuit and the Brabham name are synonymous more from both David and brother Geoff’s winning drives for Peugeot in the 24 Hours classic, in 2009 and 1993 respectively.
Brabham Automotive says the factory team for 2021/22 will be funded in-house and directly linked to the Brabham BT62 Driver Development Programme. That is led by David Brabham who as well as Brabham Automotive managing director is lead test driver. The company is promising that early owners of the BT62 will be part of the test team as well as being offered the chance to race a part of the GTE Am (amateur) class.
No pro drivers for the assault on Le Mans have been so far named named, but the prospect of David emulating his father’s achievements and racing a car bearing his own name must be considered a possibility.
With its normally-aspirated 5.4-litre V8 and dry weight well within the GTE class 1,245kg minimum, the BT62 already closely mirrors GTE class specifications, and Brabham says the car was designed to be FIA compliant from the start. As a trackday car, the BT62 delivers an astonishing 1,200kg of downforce.
To be homologated as a race car Brabham will need to sell 25 road cars out of the 70 BT62s it has said it will build in total at the firm’s plant in Adelaide, South Australia. Performance of the road version is yet to be confirmed, but the company has said the road car will retain the V8’s power output of 700bhp.
As a track-day car the BT62 weighs in at just under a tonne but with numberplates on it will inevitably put on weight as Brabham adds creature comfort items like a passenger seat, air conditioning and upholstery. Other expected changes include a raised ride height with a front and rear axle lift kit and a better turning circle. “The objective was to make the car legal, safe and usable on the road with minimal compromise to its race-bred circuit dynamics,” says the firm.
The BT62 road edition will cost an additional £150,000 on top of the million pound (plus taxes) BT62 price tag. The conversion to road spec will take place in the UK and the first car is expected to be delivered in summer 2019.
David Brabham told us: “We designed the BT62 to be an unrestricted, thoroughbred track car. This isn’t a car designed for the road. With that said, it’s clear some customers are keen to have a road compliant option, particularly to drive to and from the track. My father Jack was always customer focused and we will continue with that ethos.”