Brabham set for Texas shootout

Aussie hero David Brabham has his sights set on bridging the points gap in the Le Mans Series Championship this weekend when the series visits the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth this weekend. Brabham's championship assault received a...

Aussie hero David Brabham has his sights set on bridging the points gap in the Le Mans Series Championship this weekend when the series visits the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth this weekend.

Brabham's championship assault received a set-back at the last round of the title chase when his team-mate Jan Magnussen crashed in damp conditions at Mosport.

Not having had the chance to drive the car in the race, Brabham did not receive any points for the weekend.

"Even if you don't finish, provided you have spent 42 minutes aboard the car, you can still score points. Because I didn't drive at all in the race at Mosport, Jan ended up with a 13 point gap over me from the weekend," Brabham said.

"That is certainly going to make things very tough for me. The one saviour could be the fact that you only count your best 10 results in your championship score."

With all teams visiting the Texas complex for the first time this weekend, Brabham will tackle the opposition on a level playing field.

"I was invited by the organisers to go and look at the facility a few months back," Brabham said.

"The Texas Motor Speedway is a fantastic, massive complex with great facilities for competitors, fans and media alike. I was shown several plans for the track and came up with a few suggestions, but am as anxious as everyone else to get out there and see it for myself."

Like Charlotte earlier this year, teams will race around the NASCAR style oval speedway, before turning onto the infield section of track where a traditional road race circuit has been built.

"When setting up the car you have to find a compromise between the ultra fast oval part and the slow twisty infield section," Audisport team director Reinhold Joest said.

Audi will be gunning for their third consecutive victory with Alan McNish and Rinaldo Capello taking the honours at the past two rounds at Sears Point and Mosport.

The amazing consistency of BMW's Jorg Muller and JJ Lehto has seen them maintain their lead in the driver's championship but if McNish and Capello continue their winning ways, Muller and Lehto will soon be under threat.

Fresh from their strong challenge at Mosport, Corvette has again entered a car for Ron Fellows and Andy Pilgrim in the GTS division at Texas.

The ORECA team Dodge Vipers have been the dominant force this year, but Fellows just failed to catch the lead Viper of Karl Wendlinger and Olivier Beretta at Mosport.

After claiming the series first four checkered flags the Dick Barbour Racing Porsches have fallen on hard times in the GT class

They were beaten by the PTG BMW's in Sears Point only to have the Bavarians party spoiled by a rules violation. In Mosport the Alex Job Porsche team stepped up for its first win of the season after the Barbour cars suffered a total of three crashes on the weekend.

The Barbour crew will be looking to rebound in Texas and despite that tough Canadian outing team drivers Dirk Muller, Sascha Maassen, Bob Wollek and Lucas Luhr complete the top four in points.

Race fans can tune into a live race commentary of the event via Radio Le Mans at http://www.americanlemans.com/pages/00live/index.html

The Texas race will be staged Saturday night (local time) and kicks off at 12.00 noon Adelaide time on Sunday, September 3.

PROTOTYPE POINTS AFTER ROUND SIX: Jorg Muller (BMW) 145, JJ Lehto (BMW) 143, Alan McNish (Audi) 125, Jan Magnussen (Panoz) 123, Frank Biela (Audi) 123, Rinaldo Capello (Audi) 122, Emanuele Pirro (Audi) 120, David Brabham (Panoz) 109, Bill Auberlen (BMW) 100, Jean-Marc Gounon (BMW) 92.

-Paul ryan

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Series ALMS
Drivers David Brabham , Rinaldo Capello , Dirk Müller , Jan Magnussen , Frank Biela , Karl Wendlinger , Ron Fellows , Andy Pilgrim , Jorg Muller , Bill Auberlen , Sascha Maassen , Lucas Luhr , Dick Barbour , Jean-Marc Gounon , Olivier Beretta , Reinhold Joest , Alex Job , Emanuele Pirro , JJ Lehto