PATRON HIGHCROFT'S BRABHAM ADDS TO HIS TROPHY CABINET - 21 YEARS LATE
DANBURY, CT, Tuesday, January 19, 2010: Patron Highcroft Racing's David Brabham's trophy cabinet was already bulging at the seams after a highly successful 2009 season, but the popular Australian finally received a surprise award at last week's Autosport International show in the UK.
After recording eight podium finishes and three wins in the American Le Mans Series, victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the ALMS LMP1 championship title, Brabham enjoyed the most successful season of his career in 2009.
However, there has been one major piece of silverware missing from his collection. Brabham clinched the 1989 British Formula 3 Championship after a season-long battle with the man who has gone on to become one his great rivals and friends, Scotsman, Allan McNish.
A mid-season series of technical protests in the '89 F3 season left the final result of the championship in doubt with Brabham's results from the British Grand Prix Support Race excluded from the final point tally at one stage. McNish also was excluded, only to have his points reinstated before the season end.
The final championship winner wasn't decided until early 1990 when the MSA Court of Appeal eventually let all race results stand, handing Brabham the championship.
However, the delay in deciding the championship winner resulted in Brabham never receiving the championship trophy for his efforts. The Patron Highcroft racer will now however need to find extra room in his trophy cabinet after being presented with the championship trophy at the Autosport show by British Automobile Racing Club (BARC) Competitions Manager, Dale Wells and Patron Highcroft Racing team boss, Duncan Dayton.
"I was on stage talking about the Racing4Charity karting event when they asked me to stay on stage after our segment was finished," Brabham said.
"I had no idea what was going on and then my team boss Duncan Dayton and Dale Wells from the BARC were there to present me with a trophy for winning the Formula 3 championship all those years ago.
"It was certainly a nice surprise. That Formula 3 championship really kick-started my career as the following season I made my Formula 1 debut. It will be nice now to finally have the trophy on the shelf to celebrate that year."
Brabham's intense rivalry with McNish has continued ever since 1989 with the pair now acknowledged as two of the finest sportscar drivers in the world. The result at this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans mirrored that Formula 3 year, with Brabham and the Peugeot squad defeating McNish and Audi.
"I have had a great relationship with Allan, even through the year of F3 with all the protests and everything," Brabham said.
"We have continued to race strongly against each other ever since then and have become very good friends."
McNish was one of around 100 celebrity drivers who took part in the Racing4Charity Celebrity Karting Challenge which benefitted Malaria No More UK.
Held in the Autosport International Live Action Arena at Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre (NEC) for the first time, the event raised nearly US $100,000 - taking the total raised by Brabham's Racing4Charity organization over the past three years to more than US$245,000.
Autosport International is Europe's biggest motorsport show and the 2010 event marked its 20th anniversary
"I'm very happy with how the whole event came together and to have achieved our ultimate goal of raising awareness for Malaria No More UK," Brabham said.
"I'd like to thank everyone for their amazing support, particularly the public drivers who donated to race alongside a fantastic line-up of celebrities, helping to make our first appearance in the Live Action Arena a success.
"I am honored to have been joined by such an amazing group of the sport's best drivers, all giving up their free time to support Racing4Charity and my special thanks go to each and every one."
Other drivers in the event included the Highcroft Racing-supported Team USA Young Guns combination of Conor Daly, Josef Newgarden, Patrick Barrett and Connor De Phillippi plus the latest member of Patron Highcroft Racing, Marino Franchitti.
"It was great to have Marino as part of the event. I'm really looking forward to having him as part of the team with Simon (Pagenaud) and myself this year," Brabham said.
"He did a great job aboard the Acura back in 2007 at Andretti Green Racing and the past two seasons his career has really taken off at Dyson Racing. He is very fast, great to work with and I think he will make an extremely valuable contribution to our championship chase."
Brabham, Pagenaud and Franchitti will have their seat fittings for the newly updated ARX-01c chassis at Highcroft's Danbury, CT base this week before kicking off pre-season testing at Sebring the following week.
-source: highcroft racing