Brabham hits the streets 'Track-focused’ BT62 now available for the road. Words James Elliott.
Brabham has announced two huge developments for its BT62 track car that was launched at the Australian High Commission in London last summer to conicide with the 70th anniversary of the ‘Blackjack’ marque.
Secretly built and tested in Adelaide, the BT62 is to be powered by a Brabham-badged naturally aspirated 5.4-litre engine that gives it something in the region of 700bhp and, thanks to carbonfibre and Kevlar construction, it weighs in at under a tonne.
Brabham has now confirmed that for an extra £150,000 (in Europe; there are no prices for other territories yet) the million-pound track car will be available as a road car and also that it is to race at Le Mans in 2020. Even six months ago, the prospect of either looked a very long way off, but such has been the interest in the model – of which only 70 examples will be built - that the development programme has been accelerated.
the Road Compliance Conversion, as Brabham refers to it, has been offered to meet demand from customers who don’t want to trailer their car to the track. European conversions will be carried out by Brabham Automotive in the UK and will be put through the DVSA’s (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) IVA (individual Vehicle Approval) test.
In addition to being made road-legal, there will be several measures to make the car more usable on the street, including changes to ride height and steering lock, plus the addition of air conditioning, door locks and immobilisers. Brabham promises no reduction in power and that the first cars will be delivered this summer.
Racer David Brabham, who is behind the scheme, said: ‘We designed the BT62 to be an unrestricted, thoroughbred track car and our test programme has revealed it to be all of those things, this isn’t a car designed for the road. With that said, it’s clear some customers are keen to have a road-compliant option for their BT62, particularly to drive to and from the track. My father Jack was always customer- focused and we will continue with that ethos.’
The other big news is the confirmation that the marque will return to racing with what it calls a ‘multi-year motorsport programme’, the factory team’s target is Le Mans and the World Endurance Championship season in 2021-2022, where it will compete in the GTE class.
Testing has already been underway for months and the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, which runs the 24 Hours of Le Mans, welcomed the announcement. ACO president Pierre Fillon said: ‘the Brabham name instantly conjures up memories of an outstanding family success story. It all began in July 1967 at the only French Grand Prix to be held at the Bugatti Circuit, when three-time Formula 1 World Champion Sir Jack Brabham took the honours in a car sporting the Brabham name. Sir Jack’s sons, Geoff and David, perpetuated the family tradition by winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1993 and 2009 respectively, both with Peugeot. For the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, the return of the Brabham name to endurance racing is therefore much more than symbolic. It demonstrates remarkable loyalty and an extraordinary competitive spirit.’