Brabham Stars at Autosport International
Sportscar legend David Brabham seized a rare opportunity to meet his British fans at Europe's biggest motorsport show, Autosport International, held at the NEC Birmingham (UK) 8-11 January. The British-born Australian double Le Mans GT1 class winner and former Formula One driver attended the show to fulfil his various ambassadorial roles, make appearances and raise £45,000 for charity.
A long-term supporter of Autosport International, the Patron Highcroft Racing American Le Mans Series star hosted the first ever Karting Show Workshop on Saturday. The session offered young karters an exclusive insight into the fundamentals a driver must master in order to build a foundation for success in motorsport. Drawing from his Brabham Performance Clinic driver training programme concept, Brabham covered essential elements from personal fitness and breathing control to visualisation and race preparation.
Karters from across the ranks flocked to hear Brabham's top tips for success, including 11 year-old Roy Johnson from Solihull. Roy, the 2008 MSA British Cadet and Super One Cadet champion, found the inaugural Karting Show Workshop extremely relevant and commented: "I think the workshop with David Brabham was great and it has given me quite a lot to think about, especially how to prepare for a race. From now on I will concentrate on focusing my attention on my breathing techniques."
Fourteen year-old Jody Fannin, from Surrey, added: "There are a lot of points from the session that I hope to use in the coming season. I'm going to be concentrating a lot more on how I think and my mental attitude, especially before a race weekend. I will be determined to stay positive and visualise my perfect lap, because then I will know exactly what I can do in the racing seat."
Brabs commented: "I wasn't one hundred per cent sure what to expect from the Karting Show Workshop as it was the very first one but I felt it went very well and I am delighted with the great response it received, not just from the young karters but from their parents as well. This is certainly a concept that I would like to develop in the future, not only with the Brabham Performance Clinic but also with the Karting Show."
In addition to hosting the Karting Show Workshop, Brabham attended Autosport International on the opening trade day to announce that applications are now open for the 2009 MSA British Race Elite programme. Operated by Brabham Performance Clinic and fronted by David, the programme offers the most promising British racing drivers the opportunity to develop their skills and the best possible chance of progressing in the sport.
On Friday Brabs' charity kart race, the BP Ultimate Celebrity Karting Challenge, together with the Racing 4 Charity auctions held throughout Saturday and Sunday on the F1 Racing display, raised £45,000 for a variety of charities including the Richard Burns Foundation. In the race Brabham was joined by a host of top celebrity drivers, including Tom Kristensen, Frank Biela, Emanuele Pirro and Johnny Mowlem who raced alongside members of the public, paying £300 for the exclusive privilege.
Team 11, 'The Good Mornins' finally took the spoils with 'MSA Rally Elite' second and 'Team GT' third. Brabham's 'Team Modena All Stars', featuring Kristensen, Australian karting star Kip Foster, race organiser Bill Williams, Rik Bryan, Dennis Jehan and Mitch Macfarlane, finished fourth.
With the first public day held on Saturday, Brabham attended the various show stages to chat about his forth coming season with Patron Highcroft Racing in the ALMS, and meet and greet his British fans. After three action-packed days attending Autosport International, Brabham flew to Florida on Sunday to undertake a full week of testing in the Patron Highcroft Racing Acura as the team prepares to contest LMP1 this year.
Brabs continued: "I have been extremely busy at Autosport International, with lots of commitments and interviews, not to mention the great chance to meet my fans. What I find very encouraging is that the show is obviously really well supported and it was particularly good to see the halls so busy on Saturday in the current economic climate, so massive congratulations to Autosport International for another great show. I always enjoy attending the show and I think that this has been one of my busiest yet."