Brabham Set For Salt Lake Showdown London, UK -- Thursday, July 1, 2010; David Brabham is ready to resume his American Le Mans Series title fight as the championship heads to Salt Lake City, Utah. Commanding a four point lead approaching ...
Brabham Set For Salt Lake Showdown
London, UK -- Thursday, July 1, 2010; David Brabham is ready to resume his American Le Mans Series title fight as the championship heads to Salt Lake City, Utah. Commanding a four point lead approaching the fourth round at Miller Motorsports Park, Brabham will be hunting for maximum points at a circuit he bills as one of the toughest on the ALMS calendar.
Sterling performances by Brabham and teammate Simon Pagenaud so far this season have ensured nothing less than podium finishes for Highcroft Racing. Second in class at Sebring followed by back-to-back victories at Long Beach and Laguna Seca place the pairing at the top of the LMP title fight, ahead of the Porsche RS Spyder CytoSport squad.
After an impressive Le Mans 24 Hours debut last month, where Brabham helped the team record a race finish despite a cooling issue that sidelined the car for much of the final four hours, Highcroft are fired up to continue their defence of the ALMS crown.
Round four at Utah, however, will be no walk in the park as the high-altitude 3.048-mile circuit is notorious for pushing man and machine to the limit. Brabham commented: "Salt Lake City doesn't lend itself to our car as much as other circuits. Due to the high altitude the turbo powered cars will definitely have an advantage. It's amazing how dead the engine feels at that altitude but the HPD ARX-01c should be quick through the corners.
"It's a tricky place in terms of getting the set-up right. You can overdrive quite easily and then wonder why you've lost time. There aren't many reference points around the track so you really need to know and focus on every bump.
"It's physically the most demanding track we go to, even accounting for Sebring. Running anti-clockwise it's got a lot of high g-force corners and the slow turns have a lot of grip, so there's a high load on the car and the transmission really gets a battering. It's also tough on the driver as your neck gets quite a pounding."
Maintaining peek fitness is always of paramount importance but with the challenges of Salt Lake City looming the reigning champion has been preparing for the high altitude race with military precision.
"I'm the National Race Coach for the Team UK programme and we had a military 24 hour boot camp for the drivers last week. It was good for me to be able to join them, alongside Mark Higgins who is the National Rally Coach, but it was a bit like doing Le Mans all over again. It was great bonding for Team UK but it was also great for me personally in terms of solid preparation for Salt Lake.
"You definitely feel it after a hard race at Utah and for me doing Le Mans and the Team UK boot camp is all part of gearing up for this race and making sure I'm as fit as I can be."
With just nine rounds completing the 2010 ALMS calendar consistent point-scoring finishes in the fiercely competitive LMP class remains the highest priority for Highcroft as the season heads towards the halfway point.
"Approaching mid-season we have to look back and see where we need to improve. The boys have just done Le Mans, which was a fantastic experience that will just make them come back stronger for the remainder of the year.
"I wouldn't say Utah is one of our luckiest tracks as we've had issues every time we've been there but that means we've learnt a lot about the things that can catch you out. We're in a great position leading the championship so we just have to keep performing at the highest level.
"We know this will be one of our toughest races but we've won the last two rounds. We just need to keep improving on what we're doing and we should be in for a strong event."
Brabham will be on-track at Salt Lake for testing on Friday, July 9. Official practice takes place on Saturday followed by qualifying at 3.25pm (local time). Battle for round four will commence at 2.35pm on Sunday, July 11.