Brabham Automotive, established officially in 2014, unveiled its first model in the grandiose surroundings of Australia House in London this past week. Car Design News attended the public exhibition on Friday evening.
The result of a rigorous two-year development process is the all-new BT62, a track car which will be built late this year in a new 15,000sq.m facility in Adelaide, Australia. It brings back the historic Brabham name from the pages of racing history, overseen by the late Sir Jack Brabham’s youngest son David. They’re hoping that matters to as many as 70 customers with at least £1m to hand over for a new weekend pastime.
The BT62 cuts an aggressive figure, if not a revolutionary one (see more images in the gallery). Clearly mid-engined and tightly packaged, the low, pointed nose has some hexagonal graphic themes from various angles, but dominated like the rest of the car is by large aerodynamic channels, fins, spoilers, intakes and vents. Vertical headlights set far apart make it look wide and keep out of the aero’s way.
The side profile’s main volume is horizontally bisected by a central bone line, above which we see flowing yet chiselled arches and below which we see a vast cutaway to reveal part of the bare-carbon chassis beneath. Towards the rear, two blade-like lower fins pull some of the excavated air back in to cool the powertrain (and possibly also to feed the vast rear diffuser).
Large LMP-esque clips suggest the front and rear bodywork sections each lift off as single-piece clamshells to ease access for mechanical adjustments and repairs.
The roof features an interesting ridge along the upper edge of the short and pointy DLO, slicing through the top of the A-pillar to create it. This could be to guide air to the gigantic two-element rear wing in a certain way, since there’s no 458-style upper air intake in the DLO.
There is no back window, as a deeply sunken roof scoop and some L-shaped vents take up this space instead.
Rear bodywork is minimal, with a very short overhang and a high cut-off to make room for the diffuser. The fascia comprises almost entirely of heat ventilation, with high-mounted exhausts, skinny light-tube taillights and an F1-esque ‘rain light’ the only things breaking up the black honeycomb mesh.
Naturally, the interior is stripped right back, with only a racing-style steering yoke, digital IP, a grid of Many Important Buttons and some surprisingly elaborate bucket seats (‘bucket’ being the operative word) breaking up an otherwise function-first array carbonfibre, alcantara and rollcage tubing.
Nestled within its carbonfibre chassis and body is a 5.4-litre V8, reportedly based on an existing 5.0 naturally-aspirated production engine from another company (of which the possible options are few…) and track-tuned to enough of a degree that Brabham can put their own name to it (and quietly avoid revealing its origin – although the old Brabham race team has used Ford engines before, who currently make a… you get the idea…).
Peak outputs are 700bhp at 7400rpm and 492lb/ft (667NM) of torque at 6200rpm.
The car generates more than its own mass in downforce at an unspecified speed – 1200kg vs a 972kg dry mass – so, combined with the custom slick Michelins, there should be plenty of grip for the multimillionaires to work with as they acclimatise to such high performance (with help from the inclusive driver development programme).
It’s easy to be cynical about a lottery win’s worth of track-only noise and fury of a type that’s increasingly common (Aston Martin Vulcan, McLaren Senna, Ferrari XX cars, etc.), especially when the only ‘proven’ aspect of this new company is its name – oh, and footage of a camouflaged prototype, proving that at least one running car exists.
However, the BT62 is merely meant to be Brabham Automotive’s opening gambit to grab headlines and some chunky customer income, to pave the way to a mooted Le Mans tilt (perhaps with a GTE version of what you see here), with a road version of this car also allegedly considered a possibility if the need or demand is there.
What’s more, with the death of Holden’s domestic production last year, Brabham with its new factory in Adelaide now represents the entire Australian car industry. Perhaps they’ll be crossing their fingers for a level of success approaching what ‘Black Jack’ managed decades ago…