Brabham names returns to Le Mans and endurance racing
Brabham Automotive has confirmed that it will return to international sports car racing and the Le Mans 24 Hours. The Adelaide-based automotive manufacturer has committed to a factory racing team and a multi-year motorsport programme with development work already under way.
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. Fans will be able to follow the journey as it’s shared openly on social media under the hashtag #brabhamroadtolemans.
The entry will be run and funded in-house by Brabham Automotive and commercial partners and sponsors. It will be directly linked to the Brabham BT62 Driver Development Programme, making early owners of the modern Brabham track car part of the test team for Le Mans and providing top level Pro-Am racing opportunities to owners.
An extensive testing schedule aimed at developing the BT62 for high-performance endurance racing has been underway for a number of months. It is being led by David Brabham, Brabham Automotive managing director, lead test driver and 2009 Le Mans winner, 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. 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.”
“At Le Mans, the legendary Brabham name instantly conjures up memories of an outstanding family success story,” said Pierre Fillon, Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) president. “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 can confirm 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 Automotive 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.”