AN ICONIC automotive name formalised its return last week with Brabham Automotive’s reveal of BT62, a track-only supercar that will be built in Australia powered by a naturally aspirated V8, and benefitting from development at local race circuits. But, just how fast is it going to be?
At the time of the car’s launch, Brabham refrained from revealing the juicy performance figures such as its 0-100km/h acceleration time and top speed – likely in an effort to continue its slow roll out of information.
However, Wheels understands the people behind the BT62 have set the engineering and development teams some ambitious – possibly record breaking – targets at certain Australian circuits.
Figures known so far about the BT62 are impressive in their own right – a staunch 522kW and 667Nm from a 5.4-litre free-breathing V8, wrapped up in a package that weighs just 972kg dry and is capable of producing 1200kg of downforce.
It’s a recipe that Wheels believes has the BT62 targeting lap times in the region of 1:22.0 at Phillip Island, and 1:03.0 at Queensland Raceway – both outright lap records.
It remains unclear whether or not these unofficial lap targets for the Brabham BT62 have already been achieved during testing, or whether the record attempts are in the works.
Official photographs of a BT62 prototype in testing show that it has visited Phillip Island in Victoria at the hands of Brabham Automotive’s managing director David Brabham.
So, let’s put those lap targets into context. First, let’s take look at the 1:22.0 at Phillip Island.
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If the BT62 is able to tour the 4.4-kilometre Grand Prix circuit in that time, it would eclipse the official lap record by two seconds.
Simon Wills currently holds the fastest official lap time at Phillip Island with a 1.24.2215 set in a 3.5-litre V6-powered Formula Holden in 2000.
Unofficially, the quickest time recorded at Phillip Island is in the region of 1:18.0, which was reportedly achieved by factory Nissan drivers Julian Bailey and Mark Blundell in a Group C Nissan R90C.
While not conforming to any regulations, the BT62 is closest in design to a GT3 car, with the Australian GT lap record at Phillip Island currently held by Jack Le Brocq at 1:27.1505 set in a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 in 2013.
Currently, the fastest tin-top to lap Phillip Island is the Tilton Interiors Time Attack Mitsubishi Evo, which ran a 1:25.5367 at the hands of Garth Walden (on road-legal tyres!) earlier this year.
The Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit underwent a multi-million dollar resurfacing at the end of 2012, which resulted in many categories resetting their respective lap records the next year.
In terms of track styles, Queensland Raceway and Phillip Island couldn’t differ more – the former characterised by its simple 3.1-kilometre layout of four straights connected by what are essentially 90-degree corners, contrasting against the latter’s predominately flowing high-speed design.
Again, Brabham’s 1:03.0 benchmark would reset the official lap record at Queensland Raceway, which is by coincidence also held by Simon Wills at 1:04.0661 set in a Formula Holden in 1999.
GT3 cars are not as frequent visitors to Queensland Raceway, with the Australian GT lap record a 1:09.4609 set by Tony Quinn in an Aston Martin Vantage GT3 in 2013.
Queensland Raceway, affectionately referred to as ‘The Paperclip’, is known as a power track, where the Brabham BT62’s impressive downforce would be less of an advantage.
Christian Reynolds, who is a director of Brabham Automotive and oversees the BT62’s manufacture at Brabham’s Adelaide factory, told Wheels the car has been tested by a number of different drivers at multiple local tracks.
“We’ve been to several locations here in Australia to test the vehicle,” he explained. “We’ve had several drivers drive the vehicle to ensure the characteristics across different circuits and different driving styles has been optimised, and we’ve engineered and worked through how ultimately we can setup the vehicle.”
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When questioned by Wheels on the lap times achieved, Reynolds’ was coy.
“I’d like not to comment on that,” he responded. “Let’s just say the vehicle is performing extremely well for where it was in its development cycle.
“The development is continuing; once launched we have some more development activity we’d like to do in Northern Europe, which will happen as well. That has a different sort of purpose. Right now the initial development was all about the vehicle setup.”
Interestingly, a Brabham driver already holds a lap record at Phillip Island, with David’s brother Geoff holding the Super Tourer lap record of 1:37.1706 in a BMW 320i.
Fastest Phillip Island lap times
1:18.0 – Unnofficial time allegedly recorded by a Nissan R90C driven by Julian Bailey and Mark Blundell lapped in 1:18.0 in 1990, and a Mugen V8-powered Dome F3000 driven by Neil Crompton
1:24.2216 – Official lap record set by Simon Wills in a Formula Holden in 2000
1:25.5367 – Fastest tin-top lap set by Garth Walden in the Tilton Time Attack Mitsubishi Evo in 2018
1:25.9294 – James Winslow in a Radical SR8 in 2013
1:27.1505 – Jack Le Brocq in a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 in 2013
1:31.2142 – Scott McLaughlin in Ford FG X Falcon Supercar in 2017
1:37.1706 – Geoff Brabham in a BMW 320i Supertourer in 1997
Fastest Queensland Raceway lap times
1:04.0661 – Official lap record set by Simon Wills in a Formula Holden in 1999
1:09.4609 – Tony Quinn in an Aston Martin Vantage GT3 in 2013
1:09:7225 – James Courtney in a Holden VF Commodore Supercar in 2017