Pace Notes


– Scott Newman



Brabham reveals shock supercar made in Adelaide!

AUSTRALIA’S car-manufacturing industry has been revived by an unlikely source. Brabham Automotive has revealed its BT62 track-only supercar will be built in a 15,000 metre-squared facility in Adelaide. The BT62 was revealed to the world at Australia House in London, the venue reflecting the project’s “Anglo-Australian” roots, according to Brabham Automotive Managing Director David Brabham, son of three-time F1 World Champion, the late Sir Jack Brabham.

The car itself is designed to offer the ultimate in track performance, developed using Brabham’s 35-year experience in top-flight international racing. Unlike many of its rivals, the BT62 eschews carbon construction for a tubular steel spaceframe, though the body panels are carbon fibre and the wheel housings carbon-kevlar.

According to Brabham’s Engineering Director, Paul Birch, the spaceframe construction was the easiest way to ensure the BT62 will meet the World Endurance Championship regulations, as Brabham intends to race at Le Mans with the BT62 or a derivative of it. Dry weight is just 972kg, while in overall size the BT62 is similar to a McLaren 720S.

Outright horsepower was apparently never a target, however, with 522kW/667Nm the Brabham’s 537kW/tonne power-to-weight ratio is competitive with the likes of the McLaren Senna GTR (510kW/tonne) and Pagani Zonda R (522kW/tonne), if some way short of the 818kW/tonne promised by the likes of the Aston Martin Valkyrie.

How the BT62 achieves these outputs is quite remarkable. Its 5.4-litre V8 doesn’t rev particularly high – peak power is produced at 7400rpm – and its 10.5:1 compression ratio isn’t anything unusual, so to produce almost 100kW/litre is quite a feat. Other atmospheric engines that approach the magical 100kW/litre mark, such as the Porsche 991.2 911 GT3 or Ferrari 458 Speciale, use much higher compression ratios of 13.3:1 and 14:1 respectively.

Brabham is remaining tight-lipped on the engine’s origins, saying the degree of modification is such that it’s best thought of as a ‘Brabham’ V8. However, it seems to that Ford’s ‘Aluminator’ crate engine has formed the basis, an extra four millimetres of stroke increasing capacity from 5163cc to 5387cc. Nonetheless, the Aluminator’s off-the shelf outputs of 433kW/603Nm suggest Brabham has indeed done an enormous amount of its own development.

The engine uses dry-sump lubrication, sexy individual throttle bodies and is E85-capable, while feeding the power to the rear wheels is a pneumatically-actuated Holinger six-speed sequential gearbox, with gearchanges requested by a pair of steering wheel-mounted paddles. No performance figures are quoted as the BT62’s sole focus is the lowest possible lap time.

An extensive aerodynamic package, consisting of a front splitter, aeroblades and canards, barge boards, rear diffuser and dual-element wing, is capable of developing 1200kg of downforce (a conservative figure, according to Brabham), making maximum use of the standard Michelin slicks, which wrap wheels measuring 18 x 11.0-inch at the front and 18 x 13.0-inch at the rear.


The entire chassis benefits from motorsport’s best practice. Suspension is double-wishbone front and rear with pushrod-actuated Ohlins coilovers featuring active bump control. Brakes are all-carbon by Brembo, using 380mm and 355mm rotors front to rear respectively with six-piston calipers at both ends. Virtually everything on the BT62 is configurable, from the assistance of the electric power steering to the dampers and anti-roll bars to the ABS and traction control systems.

Much of the development was carried out at Phillip Island, Brabham impressively managing to keep the project completely under wraps despite hiding in plain sight. According to Brabham: “The Brabham BT62 has been designed and engineered to demand more from its driver. It’s a car for those who want to challenge themselves and their limitations to experience driving in its purest form.”

As such, included in the £1m (AUD$1.8m) price is a place in Brabham’s driver development program, which aims to ensure those who wish to use the car for its intended purpose will be able to extract the most from it. Just 70 BT62s will be built to represent 70 years since Jack Brabham first began his motorsport career, with the first examples expected to be delivered before the end of 2018. Left-hand drive is standard, but righthand drive can be accommodated. It’s believed at least a handful of cars will remain in Australia.

The first 35 cars will be painted in liveries which celebrate the 35 wins achieved by the Brabham F1 team in its various guises. The green and gold of the launch car represents Sir Jack Brabham’s victory in the 1966 French Grand Prix, the first of four victories in an historic season which would result in the Australian becoming the first – and only – person to win an F1 championship in a car of their own manufacture.

The BT62 is intended to be merely the first chapter in the revived Brabham story. As mentioned, the next step is for the BT62 join the GTE ranks at Le Mans, however, in order to qualify a road car must be produced. According to Brabham, despite its track-only status a lot of the work on the BT62 has been completed with road homologation in mind, including functional lights and road-spec wing mirrors. Brabham appears to be following the model established by Ford with its GT, creating a competitive racecar first and reverse engineering it for the road.

“I set out 12 years ago to re-establish the iconic Brabham name,” Managing Director Brabham said, determined to see a return to global competition. “My father had an incredible determination to succeed and, like him, I’ve worked tirelessly through this time. It’s been challenging at times, but today’s unveiling makes me feel incredibly proud as the Brabham legacy enters a new era.” We’ll bring you more information on Australia’s new supercar in future issues.

– Scott Newman





Giocattolo Group B

Alfa-based coupe used a mid-mounted Holden V8 – 15 produced, 14 survive.


Joss JP1

So much promise, but funding couldn’t be found. Appears in a number of XBox games.


Redback Spyder

Two examples built, one of which resides in the US. Powered by LS1 V8.


Skelta G-Force

Designed to win Targa Tasmania. Challenging looks, but beautifully resolved chassis.



‘AJ’ stood for Alan Jones, who was reportedly involved in development. Sank without a trace.


Quantum GP700

Like the Skelta, a finely honed chassis, supercharged Honda engine and ugly as sin.


BMW UNVEILS 460kW M5 Competition – E63 S, run while you still can!

THE NEW BMW M5 is a serious return to form for a car that was once the clear benchmark in the super sedan segment, but has seen its superiority slip in recent years. The F90’s combination of sharp pricing, stunning performance and excellent dynamics has given Mercedes-AMG a real headache, yet the M Division is about to turn the heat up even further on its intra-national rival with the faster, sharper M5 Competition.

It follows hot on the heels of the M2 Competition and completes the roll-out of the Competition moniker across M Division’s passenger car models. The theme is familiar, consisting of mechanical and styling upgrades justified by a price premium.

The most noteworthy enhancement is the extra 19kW extracted from the 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8. Peak power is now 460kW at 6000rpm, a crucial (in the brochure, at least) 10kW advantage over the Mercedes-AMG E63 S, while maximum torque remains 750Nm, but is produced over a 200rpm wider spread from 1800-5800rpm. This is sufficient to drop the 0-100km/h claim by a tenth to 3.3sec, while 0.3sec is shaved from the 0-200km/h sprint, now a supercar-like 10.8sec. Enhancing the engine note is an M Sport exhaust system.



More extensive changes are hidden under the skin. Rolling stock is identical to the standard model, consisting of wheels measuring 20 x 9.5-inch front and 20 x 10.5-inch rear, wearing Michelin Pilot Sport 4S rubber (275/35 front; 285/35 rear). However, making more effective use of those tyres is a thoroughly reconfigured chassis. The M5’s centre of gravity has been lowered thanks to a ride height reduction of seven millimetres, while 10 per cent stiffer springs are matched to revised damper hydraulics.

Response is further improved by stiffer engine mounts, the Competition’s 900N/mm units representing a large increase over the standard car’s 580N/mm. There are plenty of detail changes, including replacing the rubber rear toe links with ball joints, an increase in negative camber for the front axle, shorter auxiliary springs, a stiffer rear anti-roll bar and revised mountings for the front anti-roll bar to improve turn-in enthusiasm.

Brakes are shared with the standard M5, with 395mm rotors and six-piston calipers up front matched to 380mm rotors and floating single-piston calipers at the rear. Larger carbon-ceramic rotors are available as an option.

Differentiating the M5 Competition from its regular sibling is easy, thanks to the fitment of 20-inch Y-spoke forged alloy wheels, Frozen Dark Silver metallic paint and a high-gloss black finish for the grille, side gills, mirror caps, gurney flap and rear apron insert. If you’re still stuck, ‘Competition’ is added under the rear badge for the first time on one of these enhanced models.

Inside, there are black seatbelts enlivened by the signature M colours, Merino Aragon leather upholstery and carbon-look dark chrome interior trim. And to ensure you don’t forget what you’ve bought, an “M Competition” graphic appears in the digital instrument cluster during start-up.

The M5 Competition is expected to reach Australian shores in the second half of 2018 at a price of $229,000. With Australia’s 2018 F90 M5 allocation of 50 cars selling out within weeks of the launch, demand is likely to be high for this fitter, faster version. We’ll bring you a first drive from the international launch, currently slated for July.

– SN


2018 SUPER SNAKE has all the power in the world


THE FIRST 2018 Ford Mustangs are only just reaching local shores, yet Shelby American has pulled the covers off its ultimate iteration of the updated ’Stang, the Super Snake, and it’s coming to Australia.

You won’t find it in Ford showrooms, but Australia’s only authorised Shelby mod shop, Mustang Motorsport, will be able to upgrade your Mustang to Super Snake specification, its status ensuring each car is included in the official Shelby register.

A truly venomous Mustang doesn’t come cheap, the ‘base’ Super Snake package costing $91,500 on top of the base vehicle. Then again, even in its lowest spec the package includes a 522kW engine upgrade, full bodykit, stripe kit, Brembo brake upgrade, 20-inch wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres, Shelby track suspension kit, custom interior and more.

Those wanting more grunt can opt for the “800hp Pack”, which for an extra $12,290 replaces the Ford Racing supercharger with a Whipple blower to lift power to an insane 597kW, as well as beefing up the radiator, driveshafts and propshaft.

If you really want to make a statement, however, you’ll need an extra $24,636 to install the Widebody Pack. This replaces the front and rear guards, adds custom hubs, wheel bearings and suspension arms to allow fitment of 20 x 10.0-inch (front) and 20 x 12.5inch (rear) rims wearing 305/30 and whopping 345/30 tyres respectively. Rest assured, we’ll be behind the wheel as soon as one lands.

– SN



NO, NOT a Holden Special Vehicle’ but a High Sided Vehicle’ Rolls-Royce’ early moniker for its new SUV might have confused Aussie car enthusiasts, but there’ no confusion as to who the British marque is targeting with its first ever four-wheel drive.

Expect the Cullinan – named after the largest diamond ever found, in case you were curious – to be a relatively common sight in the Middle East but rare on local roads, with a price tag of $685,000 before options.

All the necessary Rolls touches are present, including coach doors, a 420kW/850Nm 6.75-litre twin-turbo V12, umbrellas in the doors and enough leather to have entire paddocks of cows quaking in their hooves. It’ due to arrive in Q3 2019. – SN




FAST FACTS 4.0-litre flat-six; 404kW; lots of downforce

IF YOU’RE ready to graduate from track days in a GT3 RS, Porsche has you covered with the new GT3 R. Built to tackle the world’s endurance races, expect to see this uber- 911 at a 24-hour race near you soon.

– SN



LAUNCH DATE: TBC; $50K (est)

FAST FACTS 2.0-litre 4cyl, turbo; 213kW/370Nm

WITH A top speed of 264km/h, the Golf GTI TCR is the fastest GTI ever. Inspired by VW’s TCR racing car, it’s a concept for now, but VW has committed to a production version appearing before the end of 2018.

– SN




FAST FACTS 5.2-litre twin-turbo 470kW/700Nm

IF YOU want your DB11 to be a little more grand and a little less tourer, meet the AMR. An extra 23kW drops the 0-100km/h sprint to 3.7sec and lifts top speed to 334km/h with more noise and sharper handling.

– SN