Brabham Does the Double at Mosport David Brabham once again re-wrote the American Le Mans Series LMP2 form book by taking victory in class and third overall in the Mobil 1 Grand Prix of Mosport, Canada, on Sunday 24 August in yet ...
Brabham Does the Double at Mosport
David Brabham once again re-wrote the American Le Mans Series LMP2 form book by taking victory in class and third overall in the Mobil 1 Grand Prix of Mosport, Canada, on Sunday 24 August in yet another adrenalin-pumping finish, repeating Patron Highcroft Racing's Road America success two weeks ago. In a blistering final 10-minute push, Brabham went from sixth and fourth in class to win LMP2 and finish on the overall podium.
The second consecutive win and fourth of the season with team mate Scott Sharp snatched vital points from class leaders Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas who finished sixth, leaving just 10 points separating first and second entering the final three rounds of the season. It was particularly apt that Brabham clinched Patron Highcroft Racing's latest win at Mosport 41 years after his father, Sir Jack Brabham, won the first Canadian Grand Prix.
The Patron Highcroft Racing Acura looked in good form all weekend in the hands of Brabham and Sharp, who have each reigned victorious at Mosport in other formulae. Brabham took to the helm of the Acura ARX-01b 45 minutes after a good stint from Sharp that saw the American pit from sixth overall and fourth in class under a full course caution.
Green flag racing resumed approaching the one hour mark and Brabham soon got to grips with the task in hand. Twenty minutes in and Brabham had already set a fastest lap of 1:06.164 without being more than a second from the fifth placed overall Acura of Adrian Fernandez throughout. Having pulled nearly 20 seconds clear of sixth placed Sascha Maassen, Brabham launched past Fernandez at turn one on lap 63.
By the time the second full course caution of the race was called around lap 67, Brabham had pulled five seconds clear of Fernandez and, with the leading Audis taking to the pits, was third overall and third in class before pitting and rejoining in eighth and sixth in LMP2.
As the race entered the last hour, racing resumed around lap 77 and Brabham seized the opportunity to take Dumas for seventh and fifth in class, sparking what would be a raging battle for the LMP2 spoils until the very last lap. Maassen, Brabham and Dumas ran barely tenths apart for much of the ensuing eight laps but it was Brabham who made a confident move on Maassen for fifth overall and fourth in class following the #2 Audi's pit stop two laps previously.
Dumas, who had also slipped past Maassen, was still in hot pursuit of the Patron Highcroft Racing Acura but that didn't stop Brabham slashing Fernandez's 5.7 second advantage to within five tenths with 35 minutes remaining. Often lapping the fastest of the top six runners, Brabham was embroiled in what was now a battle for second overall, headed by Emanuele Pirro in the Audi from Fernandez, Brabham and Dumas.
Traffic was always going to be a huge factor at the challenging Mosport circuit and it continued to play a major part in the battle for second that saw mere tenths separate the three-car train. Racing wheel-to-wheel Dumas got the run on Brabham on lap 101 but the Australian re-took the place at turn one the following lap, retaining his fourth place and third in class.
With Lucas Luhr coming back through the field from his pit stop, places two through six battled line astern and by lap 108 Luhr was up to third while Dumas had again slipped past Brabham. Not ready to leave the fight, Brabham remained glued to the Porsche's rear wing at a relentless pace lap after lap.
Entering what would be a heart-thumping final 15 minutes of the race, Dumas and Brabham continually jostled for position in what was a phenomenal battle until Brabham took Dumas on lap 119. Within two laps the Acura was four seconds clear while closing the one second gap to Fernandez to three tenths and take the place at turn eight on lap 122 with four minutes to go.
As if the final 30 minutes of the race weren't dramatic enough, Brabham was within four tenths of third-placed Pirro as the cars started the penultimate lap, while the leading LMP2 car of Gil de Ferran began to slow. Bearing down, Brabham started the last lap just 10 seconds away from de Ferran and six tenths behind Pirro when de Ferran ran out of fuel, promoting Brabham to take the spoils and a place on the overall podium.
Brabham and Sharp entered the Mosport round 24 points behind the Penske Porsche pair and with Dumas also running short of fuel after an enthralling battle with Brabs, the LMP2 championship battle will go up a gear as the ALMS heads for the final three rounds of the series and Detroit next weekend.
"It was a fantastic race, quite unbelievable" beamed Brabham. "It's amazing to take another win for the Patron Highcroft Racing team and our second in a row. The car was really hooked up this weekend and once again the team played out some excellent strategy, which we always said would be the key. I went as fast as I could while saving fuel but what a fantastic end to the race. I had no idea that I was passing Gil for the lead although it was a shame for him it delivered our fourth victory of the season and a huge change in fortune. Everything and everyone is coming together, the energy is strong in the Patron Highcroft Racing team and we have a great crew. We have to just keep doing what we are doing and take this title fight to the very end of the season."