Brabham, they of making really fast race cars, has returned. Meet the BT62, a 700 brake horsepower naturally aspirated V8 carbon fiber track special. Only 70 will be made and it costs £1 million plus taxes and before options, or about $1.4 million for you. It also as cool as they come.
The BT62 is designed to celebrate 70 years of Brabham’s history and kick start a revival for the marque. As a re-starting point it’s looking pretty special.
Hidden within its carbon fiber body is a 5.4-liter V8 kicking out 700 BHP and 492 lb-ft. Brabham says that it weighs in at just 2,143 pounds dry, giving it a power to weight ratio of 720 BHP per tonne. It’ll be brisk, then, is what I’m saying.
Its motor sits in the middle of the car and is linked to a race-spec gearbox that fires the power to the rear wheels only. Thanks to its pretty hardcore aero it generates 2,646 pounds of downforce (about as much as a walrus, animal fans) when you’re giving it the knackers, so we can rest assured it’ll make its way around a corner if you need it to.
Stopping is taken care of by a set of hefty carbon brakes (a technology that Brabham’s race cars pioneered in the 1970s when a guy named Gordon Murray was on staff) fitted with six-piston calipers. To top it all off, Michelin slicks sit on each of its 18-inch wheels.
Paul Birch, Brabham Automotive’s Director of Technology and Engineering, said “Created from a blank sheet of paper, our first car takes Brabham into an exciting new era, whilst honoring and upholding the marque’s glorious past. Using contemporary materials, processes and technologies, and following a rigorous two-year engineering and development program, the resulting BT62 is a car that demands total engagement and commitment from its driver, delivering immense reward and satisfaction.”
On the looks front… I’m getting a hint of Lamborghini Huracan/Gallardo, and a tiny bit of Ford GT. It looks pretty good as they go though, right? That wing is ludicrous, but then it would have to be if it’s going to provide more downforce than the car’s entire bodyweight.
Those lucky enough to get their mitts on a shiny BT62 will get access to a driver development programme that’ll help them push the car, and themselves, to the limit. That seems like a good idea, because Brabham isn’t in the business of making something to flatter millionaire’s egos. The company says that BT62 is “designed and engineered to demand more from its driver. It’s a car for those who want to challenge themselves and their limitations to experience driving in its purest form.” Best bring the brave trousers if you’re going to have a go in one then.
Of the 70 cars, the first 35 will be liveried in celebration of Brabham’s F1 victories. The car in the pics is in Brabham’s classic green and gold racing color scheme, here aping the BT19 that Jack Brabham won the ’76 French GP in. The same year, Brabham would go on to be become the only person to win a world championship in a car they built. (So far, anyway. Perhaps Lewis Hamilton will get bored in 2019 and start building F1 cars in his own garage.)
Brabham’s resurrection is the work of David Brabham, one of Jack Brabham’s three sons, and kickass racing driver in his own right. He raced in F1, Le Mans (which he won on more than one occasion), and many others. If anyone’s fit to bring Brabham back to the fore it’s him.
In its day Brabham was a hugely innovative team. Not only were its cars successful, but Brabham was the first to test a race car in a wind tunnel, use carbon brakes, use composite panels, develop a hydropneumatic suspension, and more Basically, Brabham was at the cutting edge of making its cars go faster than the next person’s.
Today, unless you’ve got unlimited money, it’s tough to get ahead of everyone else. It’d be nice to see Brabham back to its old ways though.
This isn’t a one off, though. Brabham will be making more cars and eventually heading to Le Mans. BT62, it seems, is the first step to getting Brabham racing again.
It’s off to a good start, at least.