A lap of Adelaide with David Brabham

[The Race of a Thousand Years at Adelaide, South Australia on New Year's Eve will be a homecoming for Prototype driver David Brabham. The versatile racer grew up and started his racing career in Australia before moving abroad to reach Formula One....

[The Race of a Thousand Years at Adelaide, South Australia on New Year's Eve will be a homecoming for Prototype driver David Brabham. The versatile racer grew up and started his racing career in Australia before moving abroad to reach Formula One. A 24 Hours of Le Mans, 24 Hours of Daytona, Sebring and Petit Le Mans class champion, Brabham has competed on the Adelaide Grand Prix circuit four times. In 1986, he finished second driving a Formula Ford and in 1987, he earned a Formula 2 victory after starting last. In 1990, he made his Formula One debut at Adelaide with the Brabham team and returned in 1994 with the Simtek F1 team. Brabham and his Panoz LMP-1 Roadster S will be back in action at the circuit he knows well for the December 31st Race of a Thousand Years, the 12th and final round on the 2000 American Le Mans Series schedule.]

by David Brabham

Coming back to Adelaide again will be a great buzz. I have always had fond memories of the track, city and the people. I first went to Adelaide for the first GP held there in 1985. The race was a huge success and the teams and drivers just raved about it for years after. I got my first chance to race on this great track the next year in Formula Ford 1600. It was a great fight for the lead and I ended up second. The next year, 1987, I drove an F2 car and had the best race of my life. I had to start at the back because of qualifying problems and I had a huge argument with my father before the race. Then I drove my heart out and won the race. In 1990, I was back at Adelaide in an F1 car with a large amount of support from the Aussie fans. My last trip to Adelaide was 1994 with the Simtek Grand Prix Team. Again, I had great support from everyone and it was a fantastic experience being an Aussie in the Aussie GP. I now look forward to this year's race in Australia because it's a different type of event and I will be driving in an international race with a team capable of winning. When I was there in a Grand Prix car, I had no hope of winning the race because the teams were not quick enough. Now, I will be at the sharp end and totally focused on winning. I can't wait.

As you go past the Start/Finish line of the Adelaide Grand Prix track, you'll be arriving there probably about fifth gear.

And then we come up into the Senna Chicane which is Turns 1, 2 and 3 (a left-right-left combination). It's quite a quick chicane. You will approach it probably in fifth gear and then down to third for the Senna Chicane. You tend to sort of drive all over the curbs on the inside on the first corner and then avoid the curb on the second corner. It's tight and then it speeds up through Turns 2 and 3. It kind of opens up and by the time you come out, you'll probably be into fourth gear on the way out of Turn 3.

Then, stay in fourth gear up the hill to Turn 4. There's heavy braking at Turn 4 as you go down to second gear. It's a little bumpy going up into that corner. You've got a 90-degree right-hand corner there with a little short-chute down that is off-camber when you're coming off the exit of 4.

Then, you go quickly over to the right-hand side of the track. You've got to hit the brakes pretty hard and then it's another 90-degree left at Turn 5.

When you come out of Turn 5, there's another short-chute up to Turn 6 (a right-hander). So, you're going from one side of the track over to the other. Again, you're going from one camber to another. Then you brake, turn into 6 and from memory, it was quite bumpy there before. When you go through 6, you use the curb on the exit and accelerate doing second, third, probably fourth gear down into Turn 7.

Turn 7 (a left-hander) is very off-camber as you turn in. You go down probably to third gear through Turns 7 and 8 (a right-hander). It's quite a fast chicane. It's faster than the Senna Chicane. It's quite tricky on the entry because there's quite a lot of off-camber in the middle of the corner at 7 and you've got to get over for the right-hander at 8.

Then, you've got a very short acceleration to Stag Corner which is Turn 9 (a right-hander). It's quite an important corner as it leads onto a straight. You'll be coming up there in third, fourth gear and possibly just sneak into fifth.

And then, third gear at Turn 10 (a right-hander) which leads you onto the Brabham Straight (named for father Sir Jack Brabham, a three-time Formula One champion). It's quite a fast corner. You can use the curb on the exit but there's more, sort of, track on the other side of the curb if you do get it wrong, which happened to me.

After that, you've got the Brabham Straight. So obviously, Turn 10 is quite important because this is the longest part of the track and we'll get up to fairly good speeds there in top gear. We'll probably do about 180-190 mile an hour.

Then it's very heavy braking into the Hairpin which is Turn 11 (a tight right-hander), down into possibly first gear.

>From the Hairpin, you accelerate out in second gear and into third around Turn 12 (a sweeping left-hander) that is a kink.

By the time you come out of that kink, you'll be on the brakes for Turn 13 (a left-hander). At 13, you can use the curb on the inside. But you've got to get it right. If you don't get it right, there's a wall on the outside. When you get on the power, the curbing on the right-hand side is very abrasive so you don't want to get near that. Turn 13 is taken in second gear.

Then, you accelerate out through Turns 14 and 15 which are two kinks. They're not real corners. So after Turn 13, you've got 14 and 15 and should be flat-out.

But once you go through 15, you've got the entrance to the pits (on the right). You brake into Victoria Park Hairpin, Turn 16 (a tight right-hander), which is the last corner of the track. It's quite heavy braking down into second gear. It's quite a nice section of the track because Turn 15 is like a flat-out kink. Then once you've got the car settled on the exit, whack, you're right on the brakes to get around the Hairpin.

After the Hairpin, it's acceleration now in second, third, fourth gear, past the pits and you're on to another lap at Adelaide.

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers David Brabham , Jack Brabham