Royalty comes in many forms nowadays. In motorsport, especially for Australians, the name Brabham is royalty. Sir John Arthur Brabham, otherwise known as Jack Brabham, was an Australian racing driver and Formula 1 champion. Not only was he a talented driver, he was an engineer and the Brabham racing team are famed for being the only team, still and ever, to have won a Formula 1 championship in a car designed, engineered, and built internally.
Flash forward to May 2018 and son David Brabham reveals a new Brabham vehicle. Developed in complete secrecy over the past thirty months, the BT62 was unveiled in London’s Australia House on May 2 and came with a welcome surprise for Australia’s beleaguered automotive manufacturing industry.
Late 2017 saw the cessation of manufacturing for Holden, the local arm of General Motors, and Toyota Australia. Ford Australia had closed the year before. Holden’s main manufacturing plant was located near the city of Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, and Brabham Automotive will open a plant within a three wood and five iron from the now closed Holden complex.
The car itself is an engineering tour de force. It’s powertrain is courtesy of a dry sumped 5.4 liter alloy V8. The mid mounted engine will produce 699 bhp (521 kW) at 7400 rpm, and peak torque is 492 ft-lb (667 Nm) at 6200 rpm. The car itself will have a dry weight of 972 kilograms or 2,143 pounds. Power to weight is 0.72 bhp per kilo and fuel will come from a hefty 33 gallon (125 liter) tank.
It’ll be slightly heavier at the rear, with a 41/59 front to rear weight distribution. A six speed Hollinger transmission will put that power down to the rear wheels and the BT62 will be hauled back by six pot calipers on Brembo ceramic discs front and rear. They’ll be wrapped by 11×18 and 13×18 wheels shod with Michelin rubber, and the rear of the BT62 will have around 2,645 (lb) of downforce for even more stability and stopping power assistance.
The carbon fiber exterior is a stunning mix of aero cues, a massive rear wing that points to its current track only future (although there’s strong talk of a road going version) with the goal of the company to race the BT62 at events such as Le Mans. Huge air scoops up front funnel air through and down the sides of the elegantly sculptured machine, the nose feeds air down to the front wheel well exits and rammed air is taken in via inlets just ahead of the rear wheels. LED lighting features strongly as well.
At the time of writing just 70 versions of the Au $1.82 million/GBP 1,000,000 vehicle will be built. That price includes a driver development program to enable a buyer to obtain the best out of the car when using slicks.
That 70 number is to both honor the seventy years since Sir Jack started his racing career and showcase the 35 cars that will be painted as Celebration Models to commemorate the 35 GP victories for the Brabham F1 team. Each of the 35 will be painted in the livery of the GP winning car.