THE Brabham BT62, a radical 522kW mid-engined supercar that will attempt to ensnare the hearts, minds – and bank accounts – of the world’s gentlemen drivers, will be crafted right here in Adelaide.
Yep, you read that right. An all-new supercar with two solid years of engineering built into it, honed at Phillip Island and paying tribute to one of our motorsport greats, overnight has placed Australia right inside the high-end realm of supercar makers.
What you see in these pictures is not a concept car with limited production potential, it is the real deal that customers will begin taking delivery of before the end of this year.
At the BT62’s heart is a Brabham-badged 5387cc free-breathing, dry-sumped, quad cam V8, mounted longitudinally and producing its peak power at 7400rpm. Maximum torque – all 667Nm of it – arrives a little earlier at 6200rpm.
All of this atomic missile’s performance is directed straight at the rear wheels via a six-speed Holinger motorsport-spec sequential gearbox controlled via pneumatically activated paddle shifters (the engine will automatically blip to match its revs) mounted to the removable carbonfibre steering wheel – it’s not round, so the use of the word “wheel” is only a poorly fitting descriptor – equipped with control switches and engine, traction control and brake map settings.
This is a performance car crafted specially for track days. Ask, and London-based Brabham Automotive, its creator, can even craft it in right-hand drive for you.
Once it is on sale late this year, wearing its lofty $1.8 million price tag, that V8’s free-breathing performance will easily outgun a Supercar, and at just 972kg dry, it will sit at the featherweight end of the spectrum. Full performance figures, the true benchmark of its standing in the racing realm, are still a closely guarded secret, expected to be drip-fed over coming weeks in similarly calculated style to the BT62’s reveal thus far.
Let’s do a walkaround. That body, swept and tortured into its highly aerodynamic form, is wrapped around a bespoke, lightweight chassis with integrated rollover protection. Carbonfibre body panels hide a carbonfibre floor and carbon-Kevlar wheel housings. Gaping, air-hungry chasms scattered around the body also serve to feed the high demands of the BT62’s brake, engine and transmission cooling systems.
Around the front, if you look carefully, are hints of the exposed components that make up the inboard suspension system, which features track-proven, pushrod-actuated four-way adjustable Ohlins TTX dampers with coilover springs linked to the double wishbone suspension system at each corner of the car. You can even adjust the anti-roll bars linked to them.
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The massive carbonfibre, adjustable dual-element wing with its Brabham-stamped end plates joins a full carbon splitter, a deep diffuser, aeroblades, canards and barge boards to help create a form that drips with race-honed cred. The centrelock wheels, clad in either Michelin slick or wet weather rubber depending on the day, are staggered front (11Jx18) to rear (13Jx18). They mask huge 380mm carbon discs up front, and 355mm ones down the rear, both using six-piston calipers and carbon brake pads.
A pair of rakish, angular ports hint at the motorsport-spec exhaust system feeding off the bent eight. Interestingly, Brabham Automotive gives its drive-by noise rating at 98dB, a single decibel below that of the rating for the swansong HSV GTSR W1. You can get some appreciation, then, of what it should sound like at full noise.
Crack a door, and the cockpit is ready for business. A 12-inch digital cluster sits in front of the driver, who gazes out on raw carbonfibre and Alcantara-clad surrounds. A FIA-spec kill switch features prominently on the high-waisted transmission tunnel in line with suspension controls, an engine starter button, and a plaque proudly stating the BT62 is built in Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.
Apart from the steering wheel, the interior is almost button-free; a monochrome touchscreen becomes the main interface for the BT62’s more pedestrian functions including, we note, the indicators, but even more remarkable, it includes a launch control setting. The driver’s body, meanwhile, is sucked into an FIA-rated carbonfibre-shelled, Alcantara-topped seat equipped with a six-point harness. There’s also a fire extinguisher plumbed in, and leather door pulls instead of handles. A passenger seat is optional, cost to be advised.
A full data log will be available, as is a full onboard air jack system and ambidextrous, rear quarter-window-mounted race fuel fillers. That’ll be handy right from day one of ownership, because each new owner will be invited to a Brabham-led track event to show them how to explore the BT62’s full ground effect potential.
Just 70 of the cars will be made, celebrating the 70th anniversary of the launch of Sir Jack Brabham’s motorsport career. Owners can choose from 61 liveries that mimic the livery of the historic racecars that have preceded their modern-day tribute, and that have helped to elevate the Brabham name to three Formula 1 drivers’ championships – and even one as a constructor.
And maybe, just maybe, some of them will stay right here in Australia.
Model: Brabham BT62
Track: 1649mm (f); 1597mm (r)
Weight: 972kg dry
Weight distribution: 41/59 (wet, with driver)
Fuel: 98RON (E85 capable), 125L
Type: Mid-mounted longitudinal 5387cc V8, dohc, 32v
Max power: 522kW @ 7400rpm
Max torque: 667Nm @ 6200 rpm
Bore x stroke: 94 x 97mm
Compression ratio: 10.5:1
Transmission: 6sp sequential