Brabham More Motivated Than Ever For Sebring Season Opener London, UK -- Friday, March 12, 2010; The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, March 19-20, will see reigning LMP1 Champion David Brabham embark on his 12th American Le Mans Series season.
Brabham More Motivated Than Ever For Sebring Season Opener
London, UK -- Friday, March 12, 2010; The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, March 19-20, will see reigning LMP1 Champion David Brabham embark on his 12th American Le Mans Series season. Returning to the LMP2 category, and the newly combined LMP class, with Patron Highcroft Racing and two new teammates the 44 year-old is more motivated than ever ahead of the season opening race.
After a dream year in 2009, which saw the sportscar legend justifiably rewarded with not only the ALMS LMP1 title with Patron Highcroft but also the coveted Le Mans 24 Hours spoils with Peugeot Sport, the British-born Australian who resides in Henley-on-Thames (UK) has fresh new challenges to look forward to this year.
"We head into 2010 racing an evolution of a 2008 car, which was a great car to drive, reliable and fast. We've also had some changes to the team in terms of drivers, engineering experts and a new partnership with GE, so I think we are stronger than ever," said Brabham. "Certainly all of those factors motivate me even more. I'm really looking forward to Sebring, as I feel that we have a very strong package that we can carry through the race and the year ahead."
Simon Pagenaud and Marino Franchitti join Brabham, the only driver in ALMS history to boast pole positions and race wins in LMP1, LMP2, GT1 and GT2, to boost Patron Highcroft's already impressive championship-winning pedigree.
Brabham believes the trio could deliver one of the strongest teams in the ALMS; "It's great to have Simon and Marino on board as we are already good friends and our working chemistry sparked straight away. They are very fast and their commitment, youth and enthusiasm, will bring a different vibe and energy to the team, helping to take us to a different level."
The 2010 opening round at Sebring International Raceway will be the first race outing for the Honda Performance Development ARX-01c. An updated version of the P2-spec ARX-01b in which Brabham took four victories in 2008, including one outright win, the 2010 car clocked up the fastest LMP2 class time at the 'Wheels Down' Winter Test in February.
With confirmation that Patron Highcroft will make its Le Mans 24 Hours race debut in June, Brabham is also poised for his 17th outing at the historic French endurance classic, contesting LMP2 after taking the outright race laurels last year and back-to-back GT1 class victories in 2007 and 2008.
"The ARX-01c isn't massively different from the 2008 P2, but it will be different as the season progresses," said Brabham. "Certainly the biggest update will be the aerodynamic kit planned for Le Mans, which we will probably continue to use for the rest of the ALMS season.
"There's a lot of development, simulation and testing work to be done to ensure we understand the new aero package, keep moving forward and have another successful year. I'm really looking forward to that entire process and making sure we are in strong shape for Le Mans."
For now, though, Brabham's attention is firmly focussed on the first round of the ALMS. "Sebring is one of the most important races we go to. It's the first one of the season and it's the hardest one, so we have to be extremely well prepared. The recent test was really positive and we will continue testing leading up to the race, but it will be interesting to see how the rules are in terms of making the LMP1 and P2 cars similar in speed, as I think there will be some tinkering to get that right.
"There are still things we need to focus on and practice to ensure we have a good, flowing, race and stay out of trouble. We'll be aiming to keep consistent and finish with a huge amount of points on the board, which is important early in the season."
"With a new car and new teammates, who will be pushing each other all the time, I'm very much looking forward to getting out there after the winter break. I feel fresh, I feel ready to go."
Action for the 58th running of America's greatest and most demanding endurance race kicks off with testing on Monday, March 15 and continues throughout the week, followed by qualifying on Thursday. The green flag will fall at 10:30am ET on Saturday for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.