Racing legend David Brabham reveals the story behind his Brabham BT62

He's won the Le Mans 24 Hour and raced in Formula 1, but David Brabham rates the challenge of creating a car company as the biggest in his 53 years.

"This was a far bigger challenge … you could combine all of those into one [motor racing successes], because I knew how to do that," he says at the foot of Mount Panorama shortly after his BT62 racer set a new outright lap record.

"When I left racing, I knew nothing of the outside world. I was so cocooned as a racing driver. The amount of times I used Google because I didn't understand what people were saying in all these different industries [investment, legal, etc] because they had their own languages … I'd never done it before, so it was a massive shock."

Brabham returns

David has long wanted to build Brabham road cars, something happening with the BT62 supercar that has been gracing race tracks around the world as part of building publicity.

While the dream began with visions of hypercars wearing the Brabham name, the early reality was borne out in the German legal system, with David Brabham fronting the High Court in a fight to regain rights to the Brabham name.

Brabham says bringing the name back to car building nearly killed him.

"Many times, unfortunately - financially and emotionally!" he says, recalling the seven-year court battle. "I got out of the court case with 300 quid in the bank and that was it."

Clasping early orders for a car that is the culmination of a 14-year project is the reward, Brabham content with the quality and performance of the BT62.

Old school with modern tech

At the heart of the two-seater is a Ford V8 modified to 5.4 litres and pumping out 522kW through a six-speed Holinger gearbox designed for race cars.

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Scrolling the specifications list is like glancing at a description of the racing components on an F1 machine, from the plumbed-in fire extinguisher system and removable carbon fibre steering wheel to the carbon ceramic brakes and centre lock wheels wrapped in Michelin slick racing rubber.

With two seats and a carbon fibre body wrapped around a steel spaceframe it weighs 972kg (minus fluids) and can seat two people.

Winging it

Enormous wings provide massive amounts of downforce. It's claimed to create upwards of 1200kg of downforce, something that helps generate up to 2.7 times the force of gravity through corners.

Priced from £1 million it's not cheap, something that will translate to around $2.7 million once local taxes have their way.

But exclusivity is guaranteed, with a build cap of 70 cars, many of which will wear the livery of Sir Jack's famous race cars.

While the BT62 has been designed for the track, there's also a road compliance pack that brings revised suspension, including a lift kit, as well as other features required for use on public roads.

Adding £150,000 pounds (around $400K with taxes) it makes it among the most expensive vehicles on four wheels.

But it also promises to compete with the best on pace and thrills, if not brand.

Brand equity

David knows Brabham as a brand will initially be a hard sell, but he points to how well-known the name is.

He won't say how many orders have been taken, other to confirm the first buyer, a German, will receive his car later in 2019 and there are others circling.

Brabham says one issue has been convincing would-be buyers the brand is here to stay.

But he's already hinting of the next project, a more road-focused supercar that will still be low volume but more than the 70 planned for the BT62.

"The goal is to go to road … we've got designs for the next vehicle," he says. "We're probably more ahead than people think we are."

The man behind the brand

He's the youngest son of Australia's most successful motor racer, Sir Jack Brabham, who won the 1959, 1960 and 1966 world championships.

But Brabham also had a highly successful motor sport career, racing in touring cars, GTs, sports cars and Formula 1. His biggest success was outright victory in the 2009 Le Mans 24 Hour race.

Brabham has long harboured ambitions of returning the Brabham name to cars, something his father never got to see; Sir Jack passed away months before the September 2014 announcement of Project Brabham, something that led to the 2018 reveal of the BT62.

While Australia no longer produces mainstream cars, there are smaller projects that have enjoyed success.

The Brabham BT62 is being produced in Adelaide and is a collaboration with other partners, including Fusion Capital.

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