Brabham BT62… The End Of The Road

May 27th 2022

It may seem a long time ago that the launch of the Brabham Automotive BT62 happened. That might be due to the two year pandemic hiatus or the fact that new car launches seem to still happen at such a rapid rate. But, the BT62 is still alive, albeit that the kicking is a touch sporadic.

At SBR, we believe in honesty and authenticity and that’s why this is a frank admission. This car, has been difficult.

When it works, it is a riot. It is fast, solidly quick, but seemingly when it works is not often. It was a race to get it ready for the last outing at Brands Hatch as engine number four had only arrived in the country a little over a week beforehand. The simple fact in all of this is that there have been numerous issues with this car and engine.

It was born as part of a collaboration. The Brabham badge is the brand that you see but underneath, there are multiple companies, people and skills all coming together to make the whole. What you don’t see, is that of approach. Ours has always been to engineer problem prevention in before you go racing. This car has been subject to that in reverse. There are always niggles with a new car but many of them will be nursed out. Development with a mass produced car will help but as this is limited, small run production numbers, it has a very narrow development window. We should also add that the BT62 was only ever designed to be a track day car.

We will be developing the Brabham over the winter to iron out all of the issues. Hopefully this track day supercar can make the transition to a sprint and endurance racing car. Seeing its potential has us all excited!!

Since its arrival in the UK, It has been the sole responsibility of SBR to adapt this customer car so that it can be raced. Over time, this has involved us trying to unravel all of the parties behind the Brabham name to solve the problems that would stop it be suitable for racing. We weren’t gambling on having the problems we did though, and with the arrival of the latest engine (its third one), I won’t mind admitting taking to the circuit for its first race of the 2022 season we were nervous.

Early laps gave us confidence and it lifted us all that the car, complete with its new 2022 livery, looked the part. By the end of the four Friday practice sessions, we were feeling buoyed going into the weekend.

Saturday consisted of both qualification and a sprint race, both of which went well. The second race of 50 minutes across two drivers, started well. The first stint was completed but after the driver change, telemetry began to show the engine over-fuelling. Radio from the driver confirmed that something wasn’t right. Given the history, we retired the car to reduce damage risk. Back in the paddock, we discovered that there was a camshaft sensor pick up issue. The cars weekend was done. But not the drivers.

Late that night, we drove from Brands Hatch to Derbyshire, picked up the car we’ve replaced the BT62 with while racing before, and began to prep the McLaren race car for the Sunday. It was far from ideal as you can imagine.

Race day came and went and we performed well. With a P1 and P2 in our class, we continued to support our customer in getting on the podium. But it is a tainted success. The BT62 needs attention. There can only be so many chances that are given to a car before the love and belief it has shown from the beginning, evaporate entirely.

Clearly, there is work to do and some of our issues are not solely happening on this BT62. Others around the world, have suffered too. But our determination to succeed is as strong as it always has been.

In the time that has elapsed since Brands Hatch, a decision has been made that will see us no longer continue with this seasons racing program. It is hard choice given the season is underway, but it is understandable. We will endeavour to see if there is any further life left with the BT62 but in the meantime, we will continue to be the best that we can be to all our customers.

We hope to see you soon.

Stuart and the Team