Brabham Automotive, which announced a global partnership with Goodyear earlier today, is looking closely at the upcoming FIA WEC 2020 ‘Hypercar Prototype’ regulations as part of its ambition to return to the Le Mans 24 Hours in the future, in addition to evaluating a GTE programme.
“It may be that the BT62 ends up in the ‘Hypercar’ regulations,” Brabham Automotive’s commercial director Dan Marks told DSC today. “We’d be silly not to look at it.
“We’re waiting to see what the final regulations are. There will need to be work to this (the BT62) to marry it to the regulations, but if we were going to do something with this it sounds like it would be more aligned to ‘Hypercar’. I think what you heard earlier this year was pre-‘Hypercar’ announcement. That was when ‘Hypercar’ wasn’t an option, now it’s an option it’s something we will consider.
“The whole idea with ‘Hypercar’ is that it’s more achievable for people to participate. They want to attract OEM brands to something that attracts spectators to the circuits. The regulations are focused on track-only ‘hypercars’ and the BT62 fits into that bracket.”
As for whether or not Brabham would consider going down the route of racing with a hybrid-powered car, David Brabham told DSC that it’s something the company may explore in the longer term.
“This is a very interesting time right now, as companies are moving towards electric and hybrid cars,” he said. “We’re not doing that and that will be some time down the road if we end up going down that road. Everyone has been waiting for the regulations to settle so you can get your head around it. I’m sure there are a lot of manufacturers still evaluating whether it’s a programme they want to do.”
Earlier this year, during the Bathurst 12 Hours weekend, when DSC spoke to David Brabham, his vision was to take Brabham Automotive to Le Mans in the GTE class. Marks says that GTE is still something Brabham is still evaluating, in addition to ‘Hypercar Prototype’.
“Yes (we are still looking at GTE),” he said. “At this stage we have to evaluate everything and see what’s most aligned to what we want from a business perspective. It makes sense in contacts to where the brand has been, and if you look at our competitors as a brand that’s where they will be.”
Brabham also noted in conversation with DSC back at the start of the year that the car which company planned to race would be the model that follows the BT62. That model, which now may or may not form a part of its future racing vision, will be a road-legal car.
“The next car we have will be a road car,” Marks said when asked about the upcoming model. “We are building a range and we want to be recognised as a performance brand. You will get news in the coming months.”
For now the only confirmed race for the BT62 is the Britcar ‘Into The Night’ race at Brands Hatch later this year. Marks says that beyond that, Brabham is looking at other invitational events such as the rounds of the VLN championship and 24H Series to further showcase the BT62, which will be in customer hands early next year, in 2020.
“At the moment the invitational race at Britcar is a continuation of the announcement we made in January about our road to Le Mans. We will then assess where we will go in 2020. We are currently identify other invitational races we can do. We don’t want to do a full 24-hour race yet, we want to do incremental steps as we move forward.
“We’ll pick certain races we want to go to, we won’t be racing a full series next year.”