Sports car maker Brabham Automotive has announced its intention to race at the iconic Le Mans 24 Hours with its own production-based car.
David Brabham, a son of three-time Formula One World Championship winner Sir Jack Brabham, said that the firm will be targeting the 2021-2022 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) for the race debut of a new car developed from the chassis of its BT62 track day special.
A detail that has surprised many is its plan to compete in the GTE category of WEC. In order to be a part of the class, Brabham Automotive will have to produce road cars. Per the rulebook, the firm would have to manufacture 25 road-going versions of its racer before being allowed to compete in GTE.
In an interview on Radio Show Limited’s Midweek Motorsport programme, David Brabham confirmed that his eponymous firm would be looking for “small manufacturer exemption” on these production goalposts from Le Mans’ rule-makers, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO). In that case, Brabham may use Ford’s GT as precedent, as the American brand began racing its current supercar in 2016 – before it went into production – thanks to a waiver from the ACO.
Brabham – who took victory at the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2009 – was careful to avoid officially announcing the exact identity of the GTE car and its road-going counterpart in the interview. However, a ‘new car’ was mentioned several times, as well as a racing programme for the BT62 as part of the manufacturer’s preparation.
He said: “We have to earn the right to compete at Le Mans. We have to grow and we have to develop. We have to bring in expertise; we’ve already got expertise in the group, but we have to grow that.
“It’s a step-by-step process. The first step will be to start racing the BT62 in select championships, and start building the team. And then – in the background – developing the new car to go to Le Mans.”
Brabham went on to say that the new project would be “an evolution of the current architecture”, and that the design cues seen in the BT62 will be “taken into the future models”. In addition, Brabham Automotive commercial director Dan Marks said: “We will develop [the BT62] to make its mark in motor racing, along with new vehicles.”