Brabham’s 500kW beast finally street legal
Brabham Automotive has launched a street-legal version of its BT62 hypercar and will be unveiling its next Adelaide-built and designed car in coming months as it continues the triumphant return of car manufacturing to South Australia.
The Edinburgh Parks-based company is now offering the $1.5 million BT62R for sale, with customer demand inspiring the company to tweak its track-only vehicle so it can be registered and driven on the road.
And the company has recently recruited staff from competitors such as McLaren Automotive, eager to come to Adelaide for the chance to work as part of a small team making cutting-edge vehicles.
Brabham chief executive Dan Marks said getting the car road-ready involved modifications such as making the ride height adjustable to street-legal levels, along with adjustments to the exhaust system to cut down on noise.
Aesthetic touches which track drivers have little use for, such as airconditioning and an optional speaker system are also available.
Mr Marks said customer demand was a factor in releasing the new version of the car.
"When we launched the car in May 2018 we launched just the track variant, and we did that for a number of reasons, the main one of which was to stay true to the DNA of the Brabham brand,'' Mr Marks said.
Other hypercar makers such as Aston Martin and Ferrari were at the time offering road-ready versions of their own track cars and Mr Marks said customers were keen for a vehicle which they could take through its paces on the track, but also drive there, rather than have it shipped.
Mr Marks said the follow-up to the BT62 was in the design phase at the moment, with announcements around its development to be made in the next few months, with a view to a full launch in 2021.
"We've brought out a car in the BT62 which has extreme performance, factored around the chassis dynamics and a significant amount of work we've done on the aero(dynamics) so you get a perfectly balanced vehicle,'' he said.
"We're not going to compete with McLaren around technology, we're not going to compete with Ferrari around their brand, but what we do want to be, is a performance-oriented brand.
"We want our cars to be drivers' cars, and very highly focused on the chassis dynamics and the driveability of the vehicle.''
The first BT62 was delivered to a customer in the UK in April and the first BT62Rs would be delivered around the end of this year.
Mr Marks said Brabham, which shares staff with Precision Buses, with the overall team sitting at about 125 in SA, had brought in some quality people from overseas recently.
"When we launched Brabham, we realised that born out of the demise of Holden, Ford and Toyota, there was still a significant amount of capacity and capability in this market, so that gave us an opportunity to pick the best of the best.
"What we've done from there is we've supplemented that with people both within Australia, … and some people from overseas.
"What we've seen very recently is a number of Australians wanting to repatriate, so we've just made two hires from McLaren, who start very soon, but we've also had a lot of interest from McLaren, JLR (Jaguar Land Rover), Aston Martin, from employees who aren't necessarily Australian, but like in Brabham what they liked in (those companies) when they first started there - a smaller company, an opportunity to be part of something exciting moving forward.''
Australia's COVID-safe status had also been a strong selling point, Mr Marks said.
"That's a great opportunity that we have as a state and a nation to attract good people,'' he said.
Only 70 of the BT62 and BT62R will be made in total.
522kW (700hp) of power and 667 Nm of torque
Naturally aspirated V8
Drive is through a 6-speed sequential transmission with revised gear ratios more
suitable for road use.
Steering wheel paddle operation is standard.
The transmission provides instant, clutch-free changes on track, but also has a
traditional clutch for smooth operation on public roads.
WHAT THE COMPANY SAYS ABOUT THE BT62R
Special emphasis was placed on everyday driveability during the development of
the BT62R. Access to the revised interior is via remote-operated door locking with
the new Brabham key, available in the driver's choice of liveries to match the
The seats are luxuriously finished in either leather and/or Alcantara with contrast
stitching. The seats are a carbonfibre construction adhering to the car's lightweight design ethos. The interior is fitted with heat and sound insulation with an
Alcantara-trimmed roof, complete with bespoke internal storage compartments.
A new climate cooling system is fitted to manage interior temperatures on warm
The dashboard features a new digital control panel with an option to revert to the
track oriented display when on circuit. The digital dashboard includes vision from
a rear-facing camera (when required).
The BT62R is fitted with all required lighting, side mirrors and other utility features required to drive on the road.
WHAT ELSE IS ON THE MARKET
ASTON MARTON VULCAN
597kW (811hp) V12 engine
Top Speed 360km/h
0-100km/h in 3 seconds
McLAREN P1 GTR
542kW (727hp) V8 engine
Top speed 349km/h
0-100 in 2.8 seconds
588kW (789hp), 6.3 litre V12
7 speed rear wheel drive
Top Speed 350km/h
0-100km/h in under 3 seconds
0-200km/ in under 7 seconds
Originally published as Brabham's 500kW beast finally street legal