Brabham BT62: A New Would Be Supercar Resurrects A Famous Name

Against expectations, the BT62’s core structure is made from steel rather than carbon fiber; Paul Birch says the fact the all-carbon Ford GT needed an exemption to race under World Endurance Championship regulations played a part in the decision. Exterior bodywork is carbon fiber, as is the minimal trim of the cabin, with half-height doors opening above large sills and interior amenities limited to a display screen for instrumentation and a console for haptic buttons. The suspension is via control arms at all four corners with pushrod-operated dampers and coilover springs. Overall length is 175.6 inches-a foot shorter than the Ford GT-while the Brabham’s 106.1-inch wheelbase is just 0.6 inch less. The transmission is a motorsport-grade six-speed sequential unit that drives the rear wheels. Brembo carbon-carbon brakes will be standard, and Birch says the car has been designed to run on slick tires capable of handling the huge aerodynamic forces. “It can actually go a lot higher than the 1200 kg [2645 pounds] we are quoting,” he told Car and Driver at the launch event, “we picked that as a representative figure.”

Brabham is being more reticent about the origins of the V-8 engine. Birch confirms that is a heavily modified version of an existing design, but refuses to say where it has come from, although the description of it as a quad-cam 32-valve unit cuts down the number of potential donors; our bet is on Ford. We’re told that it will make its peak 700 horsepower at a heady 7400 rpm, with maximum torque of 492 lb-ft at 6200 rpm. It will run on both pump gas (minimum 95-octane in the United States) as well as E85 ethanol. There are no stated performance figures yet.

Photo credit: The Manufacturer - Car and Driver

Birch says that development of the car began about two years ago and has been funded by private-equity investment. The largely Australian prototype-testing program is the reason the car managed to escape the usual attention of spy photographers. He confirms that Brabham Automotive is unrelated to various previous attempts to revive the Brabham name, including a crowd-funded race program called Project Brabham, which seems to have been shuttered. The big question now is whether there are 70 buyers in the world willing to spend seven figures on a car they won’t be able to drive on the road, one built by a long-dormant brand. (Aston Martin struggled to move 24 copies of its track-only Vulcan.) The BT62 also will be sold in conjunction with a driver-development program under the leadership of David Brabham himself, one that is intended to help owners graduate to proper competition.

All of which sounds thrilling for those in the lucky place to be able to realize such a dream, but if Brabham wants to be regarded as a genuine rival for the established hypercar players it will need to push through that street-legal version.

Photo credit: The Manufacturer - Car and Driver

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