Just how fast is a track-only hypercar?

By topgear, 18 February 2020

The Brabham BT62 has broken the lap record for a closed-wheel car at Bathurst. It might be Australia’s Nürburgring, rather than the actual Nürburgring, but this is no small feat.

The bare stats are these: a lap time of 1m58.679s means it went around the 3.861-mile (6.214km) circuit at an average of 117.1mph (188.45kph). Along the way, it pulled a maximum of 1.24g under acceleration, 2.89g of lateral load and 3.51g under braking.

These are impressive numbers. The lap time was set on 6 February 2020, just four days after the 12-hour race contested by a bunch of top line GT3 cars. In qualifying, the fastest – a Porsche 911 GT3 R – set a lap time of 2m03.34s – over 4.5 secs slower than the Brabham. There have been faster GT3 laps of the Mount Panorama circuit – the record is 2m01.57s, set by a McLaren 650S GT3, while a derestricted Audi R8 GT3 Ultra has recorded a 1m59.32s.

What about Aussie V8s you might be thinking? Well, they lap in line with GT3 cars (which makes them quite a bit quicker than I expected), with Scott McLaughlin setting a 2m03.38s lap to get pole at last year’s Bathurst 1000.

But still, Luke Youlden’s lap in the Brabham is not only quick, but gives us definitive proof that these track-only hypercars are properly fast. McLaren has been famously coy about this, saying only that its BT62 rival, the Senna GTR, is “an order of seconds” a lap faster than a 720S GT3 car.

When I drove the Senna GTR last November, McLaren refused to provide any lap timings or data, saying it’s “more about the experience and drive, than the lap time”. Fair enough, given these cars are aimed at uber-wealthy track day enthusiasts rather than actual racers, but we still wanna know, right? ‘How fast?’ is a legitimate question.


And now we know. For what it’s worth, the McLaren has more power than the Brabham (825bhp plays 700), but less downforce (1000kg plays 1600kg - although McLaren measures at 155mph, Brabham at max speed). I’ve driven the Brabham as well as the Senna. The Senna is a calmer experience, the Brabham raw and riotous. We should probably get them together.

Now, you might have spotted in the top line about this being the fastest ‘closed-wheel’ Bathurst lap. Formula 3 cars race there, but they’re not much quicker than GT3 machines. Handily though, back in 2011 as a publicity stunt ahead of the Australian Grand Prix, McLaren sent an MP4-23 Formula 1 car along, together with its driver, one J Button. The lap time? 1m48.88s.

Words: Ollie Marriage