Formula 1’s history resonates with a significance rivalled by few other motorsport disciplines. Everything can be traced back to the Old Country, as it were; those halcyon days of the 50s and 60s and tales of derring-do and otherworldly heroics.
Brabham understands this. The fabled former F1 team is as storied as the best of them, which is why today’s launch of its brand-new track-only supercar, dubbed the Brabham BT62, wears a big badge of honour. In name, in livery, and in spec.
So, the spec. It’s an entirely bespoke, clean-sheet design, dreamed up by Brabham purely to serve the race-track and nothing else. No road-going frivolity here. It’s a lightweight chassis with bespoke lightweight carbon fibre body panels and carbon Kevlar wheel housings.
Brabham has opted for double wishbones front and back, together with pushrod actuated four-way adjustable Ohlins dampers, adjustable anti-roll bars and something called ‘active bump control’. The whole thing weighs in at just 972kg dry, and measures up to around the same punchy dimensions as an Audi R8.
To this, a Brabham-designed 5.4-litre naturally-aspirated V8 is fitted in the middle, developing some Very Good Numbers. Like 700bhp and 667Nm of torque. This engine is in turn matched up to a ‘motorsport exhaust system’ and a six-speed motorsport sequential gearbox promising “full power upshifts” and auto-blips on downshift. It’s rear-drive, naturally.
It’s also a bit… mad. Because it is specifically built for the track, Brabham’s engineers have gone a little wild with the aero. It’s all carbon fibre, and there are splitters, aeroblades, dive planes, barge boards and diffusers aplenty. And a wing. Overall, Brabham reckons this thing is capable of generating more than 1,200kg of downforce. We might gently recommend its drivers begin their ab exercises about now.
There’s just so much motorsport expertise thrown at the BT62. The brakes – Brembo six piston numbers front and back – get carbon fibre cooling ducts and motorsport-spec ABS and traction control. They’re housed behind centre-lock 18in racing wheels and bespoke Michelin competition tyres.
... the first one unveiled wears the green and gold colours of the BT19, which won the 1966 French GP
It’s business-like inside, too: a removable carbon fibre steering wheel, FIA-spec carbon fibre seat shells with a six-point harness, an adjustable pedal box, and a carbon dashboard with a 12in digital instrument cluster. There’s Alcantara. There are leather door pulls. And a fire extinguisher.
The price? A solid £1m plus local taxes, so £1.2m in the UK (RM6.4 million). Brabham is only building 70, in honour of its 70-year heritage in Formula 1. So we come to the livery. The first 35 cars will ‘celebrate’ Brabham’s 35 GP wins; indeed, the first one unveiled wears the green and gold colours of the BT19, which won the 1966 French GP. 1966 was also the year Sir Jack Brabham won the drivers’ world championship in a car of his own making. Like we say, history.
“I set out twelve years ago to re-establish the iconic Brabham name, determined to see it return to global competition,” explains David Brabham, boss of Brabham Automotive. “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. Today’s unveiling makes me feel incredibly proud as the Brabham legacy enters a new era.”
This new machine is built “for those who want to challenge themselves and their limitations, to experience driving in its purest form”, and owners will join Brabham’s development programme accordingly. And it’s merely part one of a very distinct trajectory. Brabham Automotive ultimately wants to return to racing, to compete at the Le Mans 24-hour race…