Brabham project changing direction amid investor doubts


David Brabham spoke to TCF about the current destination of his plans to bring the Brabham name back into motorsport - Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

David Brabham revealed that the project to bring the Brabham name back into motorsport is still ongoing, but has admitted that the initial plans have had to be put on the shelf.

The Australian had revealed plans to launch a LMP2 team in the FIA World Endurance Championship and initially there was a lot of positive comments surrounding the project, but due to the reluctance of investors to put money into it, Brabham revealed to The Checkered Flag that a new plan was being put into place.

Brabham says the plan now is to start smaller and build a model that investors will be happy to invest in, with the hope that the development phase of the digital platform will be up and running before the end of 2017.

“It’s still going along,” admitted Brabham to The Checkered Flag at the Autosport International Show. “When we first launched, everybody got quite excited and lots was written about it and talked about it. There was a lot of enthusiasm and of course you then start talking money… 

“Because the way we are taking to market it’s different, no one has done it before, investors have sort of looked at it and said, ‘okay, what you’re asking for financially is a lot of money for something that is just an idea’.

“So we’ve decided we’re going to change direction on it, start off smaller, come up, make the model, take it to market, show that it works and then be able to take it to the next level after that.  We’re just in that process now, just nearly finishing off the presentation.

“The one thing I’ve begun to learn is timelines don’t always come as you think.  Particularly with something new like this when you’re learning yourself as you go along, so things just get longer and longer along the way.

“I’d like to think we’d get something up this year obviously, which would be the development phase of the digital platform, and then take something to market the year after, so we’re looking at a two-year programme and talking to sponsors now, we’ll talk to investors probably in a month’s time.”

Brabham admits the brand that he’s set up could be placed elsewhere rather than just in the World Endurance Championship, but is taking his time to ensure what comes out at the other end is the best possible outcome for everyone involved.

“At the end of the day, the way I’ve set it up is a brand, so even with our project I’ve had to licence the name from the company that owns that, the brand could be placed somewhere else,” said Brabham.

“Dad [Sir Jack Brabham] started racing in ’48, it’s been an incredible journey, so much rich history and heritage, it’s an iconic name. I’ve always said from the beginning I’m not going to rush into something and regret it later, it’s going to be step by step, learn and grow, make sure that when we do go, we go right, with the right partners that will benefit the brand.”

When asked about the possibility of returning to the track himself, Brabham not only revealed that he continues to train just in case someone comes calling, but also that he attempted to enter the Bathurst twelve hours with Sam and Matt Brabham at the last minute.

“I don’t go out and look, because I’ve been too busy and don’t have time,” said Brabham. “I’m training again, not that I think ‘oh I might get a drive’ but if somebody did ask me, at least I’ll know I’m sharp and I’m ready to go if something happens. 

“[My last race] was the beginning of 2015, the Bathurst twelve hour.  I actually tried to do it this year very late in the day, but I was trying to get three Brabham’s in a car down there.  Teams would have loved to have run us down there but either they didn’t have a car available or the budget they couldn’t find.”