Brabham Automotive has made an overnight announcement that it intends to return to international sports car racing and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The Adelaide-based automotive manufacturer, which last year launched the recording-breaking BT62 track car, is announcing its road to Le Mans. It has committed to a factory racing team and a multi-year motorsport programme with development work already underway.
The team’s target is the 24 Hours of Le Mans and World Endurance Championship season in 2021/22, where it intends to enter the GTE class.
Taking the road back to Le Mans has always been a desire of Brabham Automotive but can today be confirmed for the first time. The entry will be run and funded in-house by Brabham Automotive and commercial partners and sponsors and will be directly linked to the Brabham BT62 Driver Development Programme.
An extensive testing schedule aimed at developing the BT62 for high-performance endurance racing has been underway for a number of months.
Testing is being led by Brabham Automotive managing director, lead test driver and 2009 Le Mans winner David Brabham, who said, “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.”
Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), promoters of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, said, “At Le Mans, 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 One 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.”
More details on the Brabham Automotive sports car programme, personnel and the GTE vehicle that will eventually be homologated will be released nearer the time, pending final confirmation of regulations and entries. The brand has confirmed that it will be an original Brabham based on developing the BT62 chassis, which has already been designed and built to comply with modern FIA safety standards.
Brabham also intends to compete in lower level series and provide customer racing opportunities as it takes the road back to Le Mans, with more information to be made available in due course.
Commenting on the development, Dan Marks, Commercial Director Brabham Automotive said, “Brabham Automotive is a racing brand so since inception we’ve always had competitive motorsport in mind. Our plan to go on the Journey Back to Le Mans is a statement of intent that Brabham Automotive is back and here to stay.
In the BT62, we have already built an outstanding, unrestricted track car now with a road legal option. We will develop this car to make its mark in motor racing, along with new vehicles. Today is great news for us and will help put the Australian car industry back on the world stage.”