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The most famous name in Australian motoring, Brabham, is back and firing on all cylinders.
Brabham Automotive is now the only genuine carmaker in the country, and it's ready to unleash a $1.8 million supercar embracing the spirit of Sir Jack Brabham.
The DNA that drove Sydney-born Brabham to take the chequered flag at three Formula One world championships is deeply embedded in the Brabham BT62, a hand-built V8-engined supercar being built in Adelaide.
David Brabham, youngest son of ‘Black Jack’, is the driving force behind Brabham Automotive and the creation of a car that is intended to put a car on the road, then onto racetracks, and eventually into contention for victory at the Le Mans sports car classic in France.
The BT62 continues the naming game that began with Sir Jack’s first Brabham Racing Organisation car, the BT3, which combined the B from his family name with the T from BRO co-founder and technical director Ron Tauranac.
“Jack would have a smile on his face. It’s a shame he wasn’t around to see it,” David Brabham (below) tells Australian Business Traveller.
“Jack went up against Ferrari. We’ve never been afraid of a challenge. The reaction to the car has been amazing, just amazing.”
Brabham knows he is launching into a rare and exotic area of the motor market, but has a carefully-planned roll-out. The BT62 was previewed last year at upscale motoring events in Europe and the USA, demonstrated in Britain at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, then sprinted around Bathurst last week, where it set a new lap record for a sports car.
“I’m relieved. Happy and relieved,” Brabham remarked after the run. “Brabham is about racing, this is a racetrack, and this is where we belong. To come here and do this is great.”
But Brabham Automotive is also a business, and is on-track to deliver its first production car to a customer in Germany in August. It has already built three test cars.
Brabham says the company, which is built on financial foundations provided by three Adelaide-based companies including a major motor industry component maker, is well funded and on track.
The car itself has a hand-built chassis and gorgeous carbon-fibre bodywork, with a two-seater cabin and a V8-based mechanical package with rear-wheel drive.
Although originally conceived as a track-only car, work is now well advanced on a package that will allow a BT62 to be driven on the road.
“That’s what our research has shown. People want to drive cars like this to the track,” Brabham says.
Brabham Automotive has been a dream for David Brabham for more than a decade, once he began planning for life after his career as a racing driver, which took him to Formula One and then victory at Le Mans. “This is my job for the rest of my life,” he beams.