Brabham Automotive is looking closely at the upcoming FIA WEC 2020 Hypercar regulations as part of its ambition to return to the Le Mans 24 Hours in the coming years.
“It may be that the BT62 (pictured at the Goodwood Festival of Speed) ends up in the Hypercar regulations,” Brabham Automotive’s commercial director Dan Marks told RACER, following the news that it has formed a global partnership with Goodyear to supply its upcoming road and track tires. “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.”
Whether or not Brabham could race with a hybrid-powered car is yet to be decided, though it looks unlikely. David Brabham told RACER that Brabham Automotive may explore hybridisation 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 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 program they want to do.”
This look at Hypercar Prototype is in addition to its evaluation of a GTE programme in the FIA WEC. At the Bathurst 12 Hours earlier this year, David Brabham stated that his vision was to take Brabham Automotive to Le Mans in the GTE class with the brand’s upcoming model.
“Yes (we are still looking at GTE),” Marks said when asked about whether or not GTE was still a prospect for Brabham. “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.”
It is unclear now whether or not Brabham would race with the current BT62 or the upcoming model, which Marks says we will find out more about in the coming months.
“The next car we have will be a road car,” Marks said when asked about the company’s next car. “We are building a range and we want to be recognized as a performance brand. You will get news in the coming months.”
The BT62 in its current form broke the outright lap record at Bathurst’s Mount Panorama circuit earlier this year, and is due to race before the end of the year. It will make its debut in an ‘Into the Night’ race in the UK-based Britcar championship at Brands Hatch.
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 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,” he said. “We will then assess where we will go in 2020. We are currently identifying 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.”