Brabham Automotive, manufacturer of the bespoke track car the BT62, has announced its plans to offer a road-going compliance package, allowing it to be driven on the public road.
Following call from customers wanting to drive their $1.8million racer to and from the track, the package will comprise a set of subtle changes designed to make it legal for road use.
Principle tech changes are focussed around tweaks to the ride height and steering rack, with the former raised and latter slowed a little to give drivers’ an easier time on the road. Brabham will also fit air-conditioning (a must have for use in Middle Eastern, Asian, and indeed Australian markets), door locks and an immobiliser system. Brabham has also added further leather trim inside, in attempt to clean up some of the more racer-like edges in the otherwise incredibly focussed interior.
The race-derived V8 engine and gearbox are unchanged, however, while any weight gain over the track-only model are marginal.
How much for all this ‘luxury’? Brabham is charging a further $270,000 for the package, on top of the $1.8million base price. The package is so far only homologated for European markets, but will expand into others like Australia and the Middle East in due course.
In the meantime, the BT62 has also made its dynamic debut at the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit in Australia, with Brabham managing director David Brabham at the wheel.
During the shakedown the BT62 broke the all-time lap record at the Victoria-based circuit. Quite clearly, then, David Brabham, a Le Mans veteran, didn’t hold back. Indeed, the 5.4-litre V8 can be heard in full voice over the course of the 5.3 kilometre-long lap as he puts the BT62 through its paces. Still clad in a zebra-patterned testing attire, the BT62 is now in its final stages of testing, with the first deliveries due before the year is out.
Speaking of the BT62 in action, Brabham said: ‘From my very first drive it was clear that we had created something really special. It had to be faster than the current breed of GT racing cars, but balance outright performance with durability.’
Brabham BT62 in detail
Built in the same mould as the track-only Ferrari FXX-K or McLaren Senna GTR, the Brabham BT62 has been designed to offer a race car experience for the lucky few with the means to pay the $1.8m asking price.
Given the marque’s 70 year history of building racing cars, it comes as no surprise to see the Brabham BT62 is built using techniques common in motorsport. The chassis itself is constructed from what Brabham calls ‘tubular metallic architecture’, a method similar to that used in GT racing.
Wrapped on top of this frame are carbonfibre body panels, with all of the external aero aids such as the rear wing, splitters and floor pan also constructed from the woven black stuff. Suspension is double wishbone at each corner, supported by pushrod Ohlins TTX coilover springs and dampers. The wheels are 18-inch centre-lock items, wrapped in competition Michelin tyres with varied tread patterns available dependent on conditions. The car’s dry weight has been quoted as 972kg.
Mounted aft of the driver is a naturally aspirated 5.4-litre V8 engine built by Brabham. The unit is pleasingly free of contemporary elements like turbocharging or electrical assistance. Peak power is around 522kW, with torque rated at 667Nm at 6200rpm. These figures suggest that the engine will perform best at the upper echelons of its rev range. Generating 98 dB at full chat, the Brabham will just about be able to sneak onto British track days, too.
Connected to the engine will be a pneumatically controlled Holinger six-speed sequential gearbox, operated by paddles mounted on the steering wheel.
The interior strikes a fine balance between stripped-out supercar and all out racing car. At first glance the green trim highlights and Alcantara almost look production car-like, but dig a little deeper and you’ll see that the carbonfibre finishes are a little workmanlike, with incongruous weaves peppered with rudimentary touch points that look like they’ve been taken straight out of a GT3 racer. The complex steering wheel compounds this feeling, the BT62 definitely looking more racing car than road car from the driver’s seat.
Brabham plans on building an initial run of 70 vehicles, the first 35 finished in the corresponding livery of Brabham’s 35 Grand Prix wins. The second batch of 35 cars will be more personalised to their owners’ specification.
Without the need to meet any racing series regulations, nor the usual homologation requirements of a road-going supercar, Brabham’s engineers have been able to design with an uncommon freedom. At $1.8m, the BT62 will be lining up against some pretty big names from Ferrari, Aston Martin and McLaren in the track-only hypercar class, but with a 70-year heritage, Brabham might just have the experience and exclusivity to pull it off.