2000 LE MANS SERIES ADELAIDE¹S RACE OF A THOUSAND YEARS - December 31, 2000
TRANSCRIPT OF DAVID BRABHAM'S INTERVIEW ON THE RADIO 5AA SPORTS PROGRAM IN ADELAIDE ON JANUARY 7.
Interview hosted by Phil Smyth (National Basketball League Coach, Adelaide 36ers) and David Wildy (ex-Australian Rules Footballer, North Adelaide Football Club)
5AA - Everybody remembers the Grand Prix here and the name Brabham. But David Brabham didn¹t have a very good car and you have to have a good machine to perform in Formula 1. Well he is going to be back here for the Le Mans race which is on New Year¹s Eve this year and we mentioned how lucky we are in Adelaide to get such great events because we do it so well, and now we can welcome to the show, David Brabham.
David, thanks for your time.
DB - Hi David and Phil, how are you.
5AA - We are very well. You have been here to Adelaide before and you know all about the track and the circuit - this Le Mans race - tell us a bit about it
DB - It is very different to Grand Prix racing, that is for sure. The cars look different and I think it will be a lot more of a spectacle because we will be travelling through the night. I think it will be a great event.
5AA - When the say the cars look different, what exactly do the cars look like in the Le Mans series.
DB - There are all sorts of different types. The prototype cars that we drive are open wheeler cars with bodywork on them, and you have GT2 and then GT3 which includes cars like basic Porsches which are a lot slower than we are, but are having their own race within our race. Because of the speed differential, there is always a lot happening and the dangers of hitting these slower cars are always high. You always have to keep on full alert through the whole race.
5AA - David, the cost of motor racing is high, regardless of whether it is Formula 1 or Le Mans, what is the value of some of the vehicles in the series.
DB - The cost of the whole grid is obviously very high - our particular car costs probably a couple of million U.S. dollars to get them built and up and running, plus a couple of million dollar budget to go racing for the year. Any sort of racing is expensive, particularly if you want to win.
5AA - Well you came pretty close to winning in '99, just missing out, I see you are quoted as saying you have some "unfinished business" coming here.
DB - Definitely, last year was a bit of a disappointment. We had won more races but in the end we didn¹t finish as many races as the champion Elliott Forbes-Robinson, so he really deserved to win because we didn¹t do a good enough job. We were fast but we needed better reliability, so this year we will be looking to improve on that. The car is fast and we are doing more development and when we get down to Adelaide - which I think will be a highlight of the year, particularly for myself - we should be in good shape and dicing for the championship.
5AA - David I believe we have you to thank for bringing the event here, you told your boss Adelaide is the best place in Australia - if you are going to have the race anywhere, lets make it Adelaide.
DB - That¹s pretty true, I sat and spoke to Don Panoz at a race and he asked if he was going to have a race somewhere in Australia, where should he have it? - and I said Adelaide, because the memories I had from the Grand Prix were fantastic. There was no city that was doing a better job anywhere in the world when I was doing Grand Prix racing. Typically for Don Panoz, he has just gone on and made it happen.
5AA - David that is pretty impressive to be able to say to your boss that this is the thing you want to happen and they just go on and do it. Would you mind coming round to my place for tea tonight and telling my "boss" a couple of things?
DB - Sure, will you pay for my airfare?
5AA - David, what time is it in England at the moment?
DB - It is about ten past seven (7.10am)
5AA - Well, we certainly appreciate you getting up. Lets go back to Formula One as we mentioned in the intro. You drove in Grand Prix racing, but if you don¹t have the right car, it is almost impossible. Would you like another crack at it?
DB - Yes, it was disappointing in some ways because it is very much governed by the car. If you are not in the top teams, forget it, you are not going to win. For me, the two years I did it, my teams where struggling financially, the cars weren¹t particularly quick and we had the cheapest engines which were obviously not the quickest. It was very frustrating because in Formula 3, I had beaten a lot of the drivers you see today in Formula One, Schumacher, Hakkinen, Irvine, all those guys. For me it was frustrating, but not a lot of people get the chance do drive in Formula One, so I am pleased that I actually got there. That is another reason why I am looking forward to going back to Adelaide with a car that can win.
5AA - At night when you are racing, it must be spectacular with just a few lights around, and the brake lights of the cars, the speed and the noise. I think we will certainly get big crowds here.
DB - I think everyone will enjoy that part, I know I do. When you are racing at Le Mans, the best time for me is the night and it is such a different atmosphere than during the day. It seems to intensity the atmosphere with all the cars backfiring and the flames coming out plus the discs glowing under braking. I think people will enjoy it and the good thing about this type of racing is that you can get quite close to it, compared with Formula One where you are locked out and you can¹t get anywhere where the drivers are. We go in with an open door and people are able to mix and look at the cars and talk to the drivers and I think that is much better.
5AA - David thank you, we look forward to seeing you here in Adelaide and now you can go back and have a cup of tea.
DB - I will, thanks mate.
FOOTNOTE: Adelaide's Race of Thousand Years will be a six hour event staged on New Year's Eve, 2000. It will be the final round of Le Mans Series which commences this year on March 18 with the Sebring 12 Hour in the U.S.
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