Brabham Automotive, maker of the BT62 track car, was formed through a partnership between two Australian enterprises. Private equity firm Fusion Capital, with decades of involvement in Australia’s transportation industry, worked out a deal with Brabham Group to license the Brabham name. As the “majority shareholder, sole funder, and operator of the Automotive company that bears the famous Brabham name,” Fusion Capital bankrolled the operation, with David Brabham — youngest son of three-time Formula 1 champion Sir Jack Brabham and a Le Mans winner himself — the face and soul of the brand. Sportscar 365 reports the collaboration is officially over due to differences of opinion about the “strategic direction” of Brabham Automotive.

David Brabham said in written statement, “The decision to end the relationship was made after careful consideration and what was in the best interests of all parties and the brand.” Mat Fitch, chairman of Fusion Capital, said in his own written statement that the investment firm is “committed to projects that push the limits and defy convention in the motorsport and automotive sectors.”

The breakup seems to have been a slow burn. In July last year, Australian outlet Car Expert spoke to David about what he called “a reboot” for the company, wanting to build more units of the $1.8M AUD ($1.2M U.S.) BT62 and develop a more affordable variant. At the time, Brabham said in response to detailed questions, “Some of the answers are points of discussion at the moment, so we prefer to wait till these have been sorted.”   

Looks like that’s happened. Neither man stated the source of the disagreement, but other Fitch comments as well as Fusion Capital investments suggest a major difference was over electrification. Fitch’s statement also included the line, “Powertrains are evolving, and the opportunity to challenge the mainstream OEMs has never been greater.” The company owns Australia’s Bustech, a maker of municipal buses for Australian cities that is heavily engaged in the transition to electric powertrains and clean fuels. As an offshoot, it’s reportedly looking at developing robotaxis.

Brabham Automotive had big plans for the BT62, planning to sell 70 examples of the track version, create a roadgoing variant that would enable entry into racing series’ like the World Endurance Championship, contest Le Mans, and develop a tech-heavy, one-on-one driver coaching operation. We don’t know how many ended up in private hands. It sounds like the BT62’s story isn’t necessarily over, but whatever the BT62 potentially morphs into won’t bear the Brabham name and might not be powered by a naturally aspirated, 700-horsepower, 5.4-liter Ford V8. Yet another Fitch line was, “My family and I have invested in automotive and manufacturing for over 40 years and … what we have created provides the perfect platform for the future.”  

Given more time and that road-going version, the BT62 might have been able to make more of a name for itself. The track version set a lap record at Australia’s Mount Panorama circuit, and scored a race win plus a few podiums in the GT2 European Series.

We undoubtedly haven’t heard the last of the Brabham name, either. The scion wrote, “While it is regrettable that our relationship with Fusion Capital has come to an end, the collaboration helped further evolve Brabham to a new and exciting future. … With the brand license for Automotive ended, it opens the doors for future business ventures in the Motorsport, Automotive and Heritage sectors. I would like to personally thank everyone who contributed and supported to this project over the years.”