RE: Brabham plots more models as part of Le Mans dream

RE: Brabham plots more models as part of Le Mans dream

Thursday 7th March

Brabham plots more models as part of Le Mans dream

BT62 is the first step towards ambition of becoming an OEM



Unless you’re in the market for a £1.2 million track car (or a £1.35m road-converted version), Brabham’s BT62 launch last year might have seemed like a bit of a flash in the pan. Behind the scenes, however, the people of the Australian brand have been working not just to build and deliver the run of 70 BT62s, but also to angle the firm towards an entry into Le Mans and the world of OEMs. As director Dan Marks puts it, Brabham isn’t just here to make a handful of track cars, it wants to be a proper manufacturer with a “suite” of models.

“The BT62 isn’­t the only variant we want to bring out, in fact, we ultimately want to get a fully homologated road car,” said the Aussie as we stood beside the BT62 on show in Geneva. “But it won’t necessarily use the same setup as the BT62. We’ll approach it like a traditional OEM, we’ll look for relevant partners for the engine and driveline, so it could be quite different.”

Although Brabham’s BT62 was revealed as a fully developed machine ready for track action (no concepts preceded it), the car is far from done and its customers are part of a wider development programme. Buying a BT62 immerses you into the Brabham journey, which right now is aimed at entering the World Endurance Championship and its crowning round, Le Mans. In that regard, the BT62 has more in common with a continually evolving thoroughbred than a conventional GT.


It also provides the basis for Brabham’s ambitions to create a future car line-up, the details of which are far from being decided. Marks said that Brabham was so serious about its OEM ambitions, which include producing road-legal machines, that hybrid and fully electric models would almost inevitably be required in the future. That’s quite the transition from the company’s comparably motorsport-focussed position today.

“We’re not setting out to be a volume player here, we’ll never compete with the likes of McLaren, which is delivering something like 5,000 cars a year,” adds Marks. “We want to keep our products even more niche and remain totally customer orientated. I can foresee a time when we have a suite of models, but we’ll never move away from the original Brabham ethos of making the customer feel like part of the family. That’s true to the way Jack used to work back in the ‘60s.”

Present customers of Brabham are constantly supported and remain involved with the company, providing feedback on elements such as the bespoke tube-frame chassis, so it and its surrounding components can be evolved. If all goes to plan, the finished product will be entered into the GTE class of Le Mans for 2021 or 2022. Hence Brabham needs to produce homologated road cars, as per the category’s regulations. Who doesn’t love the sound of more race-homologated road cars?


For now, however, the BT62 is Brabham’s baby. It’s the first step on the development ladder, although clearly a very advanced machine as is - if the recent Bathurst lap record wasn't evidence enough. PH climbed into the car on show at Geneva, and while access is typically racing car narrow, once in, the low-set bucket seats are very comfortable and there’s far more headroom than most GT cars, giving the cabin a surprisingly airy feel. Even the visibility through the windscreen is good, with the car’s broad front wings giving off a prototype-like feel from behind the wheel. If only we could have fired up the 710hp 5.4-litre V8 behind…

“We’ve made sure to set the car up so it’s easy to drive, it’s aimed at the ProAm category after all,” said Marks. “We’ve made sure drivers of all abilities can get in and go fast, and we make doubly sure of that by offering driver training as part of the package, with real time data so customers can see how to improve. It’s genuine Le Mans-level stuff.”

The company hasn’t got full WEC/Le Mans tunnel vision, however. Marks said it’s still happy to provide customers just wanting a track toy with their requests, and could even build bespoke creations, so long as they don’t “divert too far away from the current car”. Heck, they could also consider a one-make series if things really take off. At this point it’s just a dream, but, as Marks said, “a series of Brabhams flying around would be great - and good for spare parts sales!”. Indeed.

Whatever course it takes, we can’t wait to watch this potentially very exciting future for Brabham unfold.


Author
Discussion

MX6

Original Poster:

4,014 posts

152 months

Thursday 7th March
quotequote all
Another great looking machine that is extremely fast and costs loads of money, I've got hypercar overload.

I'm moderately interested in this from a car geekery perspective, but with so many new hypercars being announced they are all starting to blend together in my mind.

The technology, materials and engineering that goes into all these cars is quite something, but the more the performance and cost heads off into the strtosphere, the less relevant they seem to me. Not that hypercars were in any way obtainable to me before, but at £1M+ it all starts to seem a bit absurd and separated from everyday reality.

st4

1,359 posts

72 months

Thursday 7th March
quotequote all
A brilliant car that deserves to succeed. I'd much rather have this over a high end Porsche or chintzy Lamborghini.

7.4 V8 in the middle. This is the supercar of dreams.

redroadster

860 posts

171 months

Thursday 7th March
quotequote all
Is there really room for all the mega car makers ? Seems like there's more super cars than hot hatch choice at minute .

rare6499

237 posts

78 months

Thursday 7th March
quotequote all
I would rather see a load of sub 20k 200hp hot hatches than all these mega supercars. Overloaded at Geneva.

On the other hand it’s great to see so many ambitious manufacturers making drivers cars in the era of soon to be autonomy...

v8vantage

148 posts

173 months

Thursday 7th March
quotequote all
Here's a crazy idea, why not unite Brabham with its championship winning designer Gordon Murray. Work together on his T.43 and make it the first road going Brabham. What a concept, lightweight, compact, nimble and the perfect driving machine for real drivers. Even stick a big fan in the back if you want a bit of nostalgia!


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Gecko1978

2,241 posts

96 months

Friday 8th March
quotequote all
in my teenage years the F355 and 993 turbo were cars I lusted after possibly a Diablo. The first two were about 80k an given my saturday job paid £20 a day they were unobtainable. Today a 911 turbo is what £160k a F488 £180k An Aventador 300k. If I really wanted to make the repayments I suspect I could afford an 80k car so a 911 (not new) a used F430 etc but a £1.2m car meh might as well earn £20 a week again except unlike the cars of my youth they are going to make what 10 of these may be. Who with billions in the bank wakes up an thinks Brabham instead of McLaren or Pagani or even Ruf, it just seems there are so many choices at this price point that they just don't matter. I can't believe you become a billionaire by wasting money so to buy an obscurity seems unlikely.

BelfastBoy

742 posts

99 months

Friday 8th March
quotequote all
Gecko1978 said:
Who with billions in the bank wakes up an thinks Brabham instead of McLaren or Pagani or even Ruf, it just seems there are so many choices at this price point that they just don't matter. I can't believe you become a billionaire by wasting money so to buy an obscurity seems unlikely.
This! There's always going to be rich mavericks who could buy something like this Brabham on a whim, but I imagine most people buying big money cars, whether they drive them or not, don't want to lose loads of money on them. (Or, if the company ends up going under, being left with an unsellable vehicle that can't be easily maintained.)

mrclav

748 posts

162 months

Saturday 9th March
quotequote all
Gecko1978 said:
Who with billions in the bank wakes up an thinks Brabham instead of McLaren or Pagani or even Ruf, it just seems there are so many choices at this price point that they just don't matter. I can't believe you become a billionaire by wasting money so to buy an obscurity seems unlikely.
What a pessimistic outlook!

Everyone has to start somewhere - McLaren Automotive (2010 - let's excuse 1985's McLaren Cars that made the F1), Pagani (1992), Noble (1999) and Koenigsegg (1994) are a few very recent brands, relative to the establishment, who didn't exist in the days of your youth who now command the respect of anyone in the market for a supercar/hypercar. Furthermore, it's not like Brabham don't have pedigree, in a lot of ways they remind me of McLaren.

If the product is good, the people (and therefore the money) will come.