Jack Brabham set off by boat to England in 1955, and had plenty of time on board to contemplate his big career move, from his native Australian dirt tracks to Europe’s racing cathedrals.
Black Jack didn’t hang about, and as soon as he arrived he entered a car for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. The Aussie would go on to take his first victory in 1959 along with a world championship, and another brace in 1960 and 1966.
Brabham was one of the pioneers of mid-engined Formula 1 cars, and his second title remains the only championship to be won by a driver in a car of his own manufacture.
Team Brabham carried on in his wake too, lasting into the Nineties with names like Bernie Ecclestone, Gordon Murray, Nelson Piquet, Niki Lauda, and Damon Hill in the mix.
Contesting a total of 403 Grands Prix, the team won four championships and 35 races at the top, with a golden era in the Eighties thanks to Murray’s low-centre-of-gravity designs powered by furious BMW four-cylinder turbocharged engines. Everybody’s heard the one about the dyno only reading up to 1,280bhp — those cars were legendary.
Now thanks to Jack’s son David, the Brabham name is back in the business of speed — based in Australia, the new car company will launch with the BT62, a track-only monster weighing in under a tonne with more than that in downforce, and boasting a mid-mounted 5.4-litre V8 rated at 700 horsepower without any turbochargers along for the ride.
Yes, this thing is naturally aspirated, so imagine what 130 horsepower per litre sounds like without any pesky road regulations getting in the way of the noise.
With carbon-carbon brakes and slick tyres, since the BT62 isn’t road legal it’s only fair to compare the Brabham to stuff like the Ferrari FXXK, Aston Martin Vulcan, McLaren P1 GTR, and a couple of Paganis.
In that accomplished company the price tag has to match, so you’ll need at least $1.3 million to secure one of the limited edition BT62s — Brabham is making only 75 of them, with the first 35 each representing one of the team’s 35 Grand Prix victories.
So the car unveiled at the premiere comes commemorating the 1966 Brabham BT19 that gave the team its first Grand Prix win in France at the Reims road circuit.
Brabham also released preview images of a couple of others, marking the 1978 Swedish Grand Prix and the infamous BT46b ‘Fan car’ in Martini colours, as well as a white and dark-blue ‘Parmalat’ car inspired by the Brabham BT52 that took victory at the 1983 Italian Grand Prix.
Alongside this limited edition run Brabham is also floating the idea of a road-going version of the BT62 as well as a Le Mans entry, but let’s give these rookies a chance to fend off the likes of McLaren, Ferrari and Aston Martin first…
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