Brabham's track-only BT62 recalibrated our sense of speed when we took the wheel back in June, but despite the car we drove being dubbed the 'Ultimate Track' variant, it seems the fledgling manufacturer has still found room for improvement.
And for good reason, too. With its sights still set firmly on the Le Mans 24 hours, Brabham is gearing up for its first competitive endurance outing since its revival in 2018. A Pro-Am team comprised of founder David Brabham, son of Sir Jack, and Will Powell will take part in Britcar's 'Into The Night' race at the Brands Hatch Indy circuit on November 9-10th. The machine they'll be using for the job is this, the newly-announced BT62 'Competition', which joins the Ultimate Track and Road Compliance specifications in the Brabham line-up.
It features the same FIA-compliant carbon-chromoly safety cell and integrated roll cage as the other cars, as well as their carbon-on-carbon brakes, centre-locking wheels, pneumatic jacking system and multi-function steering wheel. Power, too, comes from the same 5.4-litre, naturally aspirated V8 engine, delivering 700hp through a 6-speed sequential gearbox, while the advanced aerodynamics provide an identical 1,200kg of downforce.
Rather than adding more power, new tech or greater efficiency, then, the Competition follows the less-is-more furrow so often ploughed by machines at the more serious end of the spectrum. "Stripped back and ready for racing," it is said to be lighter than the Ultimate Track variant thanks to the deletion of the passenger seat, removal of all superfluous interior trim and the use of a bespoke wrap rather than exterior paint. It also comes without the Initial Spares Pack that comes standard with the less-focussed car, although both that and the second seat can be optioned back in. Small changes, admittedly, but when every hundredth of a second counts no stone can be left unturned.
Available for £750,000 plus tax, any Competition-spec cars built are to be included in the limited production run of 70 vehicles and will be upgradeable to either Ultimate Track Car or Road Compliant specifications at any time. First deliveries are scheduled for early 2020, just in time for buyers to get up to speed before the racing season begins. Depending on the team's showing at Brands next month, that could be a very enticing prospect indeed.
David Brabham has confirmed that production of his eponymous BT62 has begun. In an interview at last weekend’s Goodwood FoS, the founder and owner of Brabham Automotive told Car Sales, “We’ve got builds happening now, we’ll have three cars… Yes, we’ve had some delays, but that has mostly been down to suppliers, and some of the effects of Brexit. But that is mostly behind us and now we’re investing in the factory.”
With the company’s Adelaide production facility only now turning out both track-only and road-legal examples the million-pound machine, customers who were expecting their cars to arrive this summer will have to wait until the beginning of next year to take delivery. Still, given the experience so far, it sounds like it’ll be worth the wait.
ORIGINAL STORY, AS REPORTED 07/01/2019:
You know how the Brabham BT62 is a thoroughbred track car developed from the outset with only circuit use in mind? Well, the Australian car maker has now decided to launch a road compliance conversion, due to what it describes as customers' desire for occasional road use. Go figure.
Company boss David Brabham explains it like this: "This isn't a car designed for the road...but it's clear some customers are keen to have a road compliant option with their BT62, particularly to drive to and from the track. My father Jack was always customer focused and we will continue with that ethos".
As we know from the likes of the McLaren P1 GTR, in the world of low volume track hypercars, such a conversion costs far more than just the price of treaded tyres, indicators and a pair of number plates. So to enable the use of its 710hp, mid-engined BT62 on the road, Brabham will require an additional £150,000, on top of the car's £1 million base price - crikey.
For that, Brabham tweaks the chassis with a front and rear axle lift system, increases the steering lock range, and it kits the interior out with more durable upholstery and standard air-con. Also added are door locks and an immobiliser, so your £1.15m track car can't be hot-wired like a 30 year-old Nova.
Brabham claims that the road-legal changes and their added mass have minimal impact on the BT62's on-track performance. We'd interpret that to mean the car is probably going to be a few tenths slower around a lap than the track-only version, but more than thrilling and fast enough to satisfy the average well heeled purchaser.
Course, with only 70 BT62s planned for production, it's probably fair to assume only a small handful will be made in street compliant form. The first examples are set to hit the track (or road) this summer...