After nearly three decades away from top-level circuit racing, the revived Brabham has announced that it is targeting an entry for the 2021-22 World Endurance Championship with an adaptation of the stunning BT62 hypercar.
The project, led by 2009 Le Mans winner David Brabham, will see the Australian marque commit to becoming a “factory racing team” for the first time since the eponymous Formula 1 team collapsed at the end of 1992.
Initially a track day car, the company has recently announced that there will be road-legal versions of the BT62 available alongside the full track going £1 million hypercar.
Last year saw Brabham start testing on the Le Mans-spec model, which is believed to be for the GTE Pro category as opposed to the new LMP regulations that come into effect from 2020. 53-year-old Brabham, son of the late triple-world champion Sir Jack, said that a WEC entry has been on the cards for a while:
“Returning the Brabham name to Le Mans is something I have been working on for years, so it’s fantastic to make this announcement today.
“Brabham Automotive only launched its first car, the BT62, in May 2018 so we have a long road to travel to earn the right to return to compete at Le Mans.
“That work starts now with a long-term racing commitment. We look forward to developing the BT62 and future products while building a world-class competitive race team around the leading engineering and manufacturing talent we have in the business.”
The car will retain the naturally-aspirated Ford V8 engine that it currently houses and progress is reportedly being made on partnerships, with Brabham saying that there are suitors who have expressed an interest in joining the team “on this exciting journey”.
Brabham has data from the BT62 Driver Development Programme available to aid the development of the car and will have the chance to offer “top-level Pro-Am racing opportunities” to the car’s owners.
ACO president Pierre Fillon said of Brabham’s return:
“The legendary Brabham name instantly conjures up memories of an outstanding family success story. It all began in July 1967 at the only French Grand Prix to be held at the Bugatti Circuit, when three-time Formula 1 world champion Sir Jack Brabham took the honours in a car sporting the Brabham name.
“Sir Jack’s sons, Geoff and David, perpetuated the family tradition by winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1993 and 2009 respectively, both with Peugeot. For the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, the return of the Brabham name to endurance racing is therefore much more than symbolic. It demonstrates remarkable loyalty and an extraordinary competitive spirit.”
The BT62 certainly looks the part, but can it trouble the top marques in the GTE categories? Let us know what you think.