PATRÃ“N HIGHCROFT STAR HONORED ON HISTORIC DAY FOR THE BRABHAM FAMILY BOWMANVILLE, ON, Friday, August 27, 2010: PatrÃ³n Highcroft Racing's David Brabham had extra reasons to celebrate his 100th American Le Mans Series race at Mosport...
PATRÓN HIGHCROFT STAR HONORED ON HISTORIC DAY FOR THE BRABHAM FAMILY
BOWMANVILLE, ON, Friday, August 27, 2010: Patrón Highcroft Racing's David Brabham had extra reasons to celebrate his 100th American Le Mans Series race at Mosport International Raceway today with two unique surprises.
Brabham arrived at the circuit this morning to discover his first surprise - his team has renumbered the HPD ARX-01c from #1 to #100 for the weekend to celebrate his achievement.
With a resounding round of applause from his team, Brabham was presented with a portion of the car's bodywork which not only displayed the new number for the weekend, but also a special logo that has been created to honor his efforts.
Mosport has been a happy hunting ground for the Brabham family - David has taken a class win and an overall victory here in the past two years and his father Sir Jack Brabham won the first ever Canadian Formula 1 Grand Prix at the same circuit.
Mosport Surprise number two for Brabham was revealed this morning when he was told that famous victory by his father was exactly 43 years ago today - August 27, 1967.
"This is a very special day for me, arriving at the track to see the monumental efforts the Patrón Highcroft team has put in to celebrate my 100th race," said David.
"The car looks fantastic sporting the number 100. It means a great deal to me to be sharing this special time with this team.
"It's amazing to think my Dad won the first Canadian Grand Prix on this day in 1967 as I celebrate my 100th ALMS race. It's been an amazing journey. Every Highcroft team member has contributed towards making some of the best memories of my career.
"My sincere thanks go to Duncan and all the Highcroft crew. I'm so grateful to be doing my 100th race with this team and for their efforts to mark the occasion. It means a lot."
Mosport Brabham becomes only the second driver to reach 100 ALMS race starts - joining former Panoz teammate Johnny O'Connell.
The Australian made his debut in the inaugural Series race in 1999, sharing a Panoz GTR-1 with Eric Bernard. Brabham remains the only driver in Series history to have won and set the pole in GT1, GT2, LMP1, LMP2 and LMP.
His list of ALMS co-drivers reads like a who's who of international sportscar racing: Eric Bernard, Andy Wallace, Jan Magnussen, Pierre Henri Raphanel, Eric van de Poole, David Donohue, Johnny Herbert, Mark Blundell, Anthony Davidson, Terry Borcheller, Johnny Mowlem, Darren Turner, Peter Kox, Nic Jonsson, Stephane Ortelli, Jonny Kane, Scott Maxwell, Sebastien Bourdais, Stefan Johansson, Duncan Dayton, Robbie Kerr, Scott Sharp, Dario Franchitti, Simon Pagenaud and Marino Franchitti.
Some of Brabham's former full-time teammates reflect on the achievements of the 23-time class victor, 2009 American Le Mans Series LMP1 champion and 2009 Le Mans 24 Hour winner.
"David is very easy to talk to and is remarkably helpful. He is a real people person and that makes him extremely likeable.
"I have really enjoyed being his friend and rival in the past and it has been great to be his teammate this year.
"He really is a class guy. It has been amazing for me to be able to share in his experience that is obviously immense.
"David made it all the way through to Formula 1 which is a dream of a lot of drivers. He drove in the era of Senna and has a lot of great stories that are always great to listen to.
"He has a lot of experience in different cars and that is very helpful in the development of our team. Obviously I have a lot to learn from him.
"He is a remarkable team player and really has two personalities. He is always trying to help you as his teammate to go faster and he wants you to be fast.
"But if you are faster than him he is very happy for you, but deep inside he is always working really hard for the next session.
"He has that drive inside him that is quite incredible.
"It really is an honor for me to be his teammate in his 100th American Le Mans Series start."
"I knew a lot about David and his accomplishments in sportscar racing before I came to Patrón Highcroft Racing. The first time I went to a test at Homestead with the team I really didn't know what the relationship was going to be like.
"David was really incredible; everything was open, hugely helpful. While he was super quick, he totally grasped the idea that he was also there to help me get up to speed and that would help the whole team.
"He is easily the best teammate I have ever had.
"A lot of the lessons I learned from David about how he goes about his business at the track has been hugely helpful to me in setting up my own Extreme Speed team.
"He is very professional, very focused and raises the game of everyone around him.
"When working with our guys I try to instill some of those same procedures and thinking about how to approach the weekend, reviewing data - every aspect.
"The thing that stands out for me about him is the 'completeness' of David. We know he is fast, but he is just so complete as a professional race driver and that makes a huge difference.
"We had two years together, seven wins and a championship last year. Not only did we get on well but to have all that success together was two high points in my career."
"He's a great teammate; one of the best, quite apart from being great on the race track too.
"I love sitting with him contemplating the world between track sessions, we're kind of on a similar wave length in the way we look at things.
"It's enjoyable to spend time with David on a personal level as well as being fellow racing drivers.
"One great occasion I remember is a few years ago we were racing at Lime Rock around the 4th of July weekend and were at a loose end for the 4th.
"I called up a friend of mine from New York and we ended up on the Forbes yacht...the AAA list of New York society plus me and Brabs.
"Baron this, countess that plus David Brabham and Stefan Johansson! It was a very spontaneous and fantastic day."
"The first time I raced with Brabs was Miami 2003 in the Prodrive Ferrari 550, when I had the opportunity to step in for his regular teammate Jan Magnussen.
"Brabs could have taken the attitude of writing off the race weekend but he did the opposite. He couldn't have been more welcoming and helpful, making sure I got as much time in the car as possible and removing my worries, knowing how nervous I was for my first ALMS street race.
"That's his strength. He has confidence in his own ability and manages to get the best out of everyone around him. He's always 100% behind his teammate through good times and bad. He makes his opinions known but in a positive way that doesn't pull the rug out from underneath your feet.
"Brabs is ultra calm and his ability to deal with immense pressure rubs off on his teammates. Putting Brabs in the car last year was the best move Peugeot ever made. Sometimes it's not all about attack. David has the ability to see the bigger picture and he helps everyone to build on their strengths. That's perhaps the most important thing I've learned in how to be a successful sports car driver.
"Of course, when you play hard, you can celebrate hard too, and that's always fun with David - although I've had better teammates who last longer at the bar!."
"I have really great memories of driving with Brabs - even when I first started at Panoz and I was in the other car with Johnny O'Connell.
"Brabs was a really good influence on everybody in the team and he is a true team player. "When we first drove together in 2000 at the time I really couldn't see any team pairing that was stronger than him and I.
"We are very different personalities. He is very calm and thinks carefully about what he says.
"When I moved to sportscars he definitely taught me how to become more patient.
"Every victory we had together at Panoz was a fantastic win because it was never on the cards because Audi were always so strong. We were always the underdog.
"When we managed to beat them it was really fantastic. Washington, DC and the Nurburgring wins really stand out."