PATRON HIGHCROFT RACING'S DAVID BRABHAM TAKES LE MANS 24 HOUR VICTORY Brabs Le Mans LE MANS, FRANCE, SUNDAY, 14 JUNE, 2009: Patron Highcroft Racing's David Brabham added his name into the history books at the 24 Hours of Le Mans by taking...
PATRON HIGHCROFT RACING'S DAVID BRABHAM TAKES LE MANS 24 HOUR VICTORY
Brabs Le Mans LE MANS, FRANCE, SUNDAY, 14 JUNE, 2009: Patron Highcroft Racing's David Brabham added his name into the history books at the 24 Hours of Le Mans by taking victory in the French sportscar endurance classic today.
The Australian took advantage of the break in Patron Highcroft Racing's schedule to "moonlight" for Peugeot Sport in the round-the-clock event that serves as the inspiration for the creation of the American Le Mans Series.
Brabham teamed up with Spaniard Marc Gene and Austrian Alex Wurz to lead a Peugeot 1-2. Remarkably, David's brother Geoff was behind the wheel at Le Mans the last time Peugeot took overall honors at Le Mans in 1993.
The French venue has been a happy hunting ground for the Brabham family - David and Geoff's father, Sir Jack Brabham, won the French Grand Prix at the Le Mans Bugatti circuit in 1968.
The Brabham/Gene/Wurz combo drove faultlessly, turning their fifth place on the grid into the race lead after just over five hours and 50 minutes - a lead they were able to maintain for the remainder of the event.
Brabham's victory follows two consecutive wins in the GT1 class for Aston Martin Racing in 2007 and 2008.
The victory adds to an already highly successful 2009 season for Brabham. Teamed with American Scott Sharp, the Patron Highcroft Racing duo currently lead the LMP1 class championship aboard their Acura ARX-02a and also took the overall victory at the Acura Sports Car Challenge at St Petersburg earlier this season.
Brabham and Sharp will now set their sights on repeating their 2008 victory on home soil for Patron Highcroft Racing at Lime Rock Park on July 18.
The pair clinched the team's first ever overall American Le Mans Series victory last season at the Connecticut venue.
"I think it might take a few days for this to sink in. It's all quite unbelievable. What can I say? I am delighted that we could take the win for the team who have done a magnificent job. We had a faultless race, as I've had for the past two years with Aston Martin Racing. There's been a lot of pressure on Peugeot and they've stepped up to the plate and delivered, it's fantastic.
"Our strategy was really to take care of the car; the tyres, the brakes - particularly the front brakes which were wearing a bit more than we would have liked. We just agreed to adjust our driving styles and keep within a consistent lap time target. We were running at a restricted pace but other cars were having problems, so it worked out ok. We didn't make one mistake and that's what it takes to win this race.
"The amount of testing and analyses that Peugeot has done in the last six months is astounding. I don't think that I have ever been involved in a programme so big. But that's what it takes to beat Audi and Peugeot have done just that, which is really something.
"It was a joy to drive with Marc (Gene) and Alex (Wurz). They are both very fast and very consistent drivers. We all got on very well and kept our focus together. It's been a privilege driving with them.
"This victory obviously means a lot to me. I was standing on pit lane with around thirty minutes to go when my good friend Justin Bell from Speed TV put his cans on my head. I caught the tail end of a conversation between Speed and my brother Geoff in Australia. That was pretty cool - definitely a personal highlight. I've just looked at my phone and I've got 63 texts already. I have received an enormous amount of support from my family, friends and work colleagues, and that means such a lot to me.
"I would sincerely like to thank Peugeot Sport for inviting me to be a part of this fantastic programme and giving me the chance to win. And if wasn't for the backing of Patron Highcroft Racing, Acura and HPD, I wouldn't even be here. Thanks, guys."
"I really am delighted and very proud of David today - that was a fantastic result. He really didn't put a foot wrong and I am so pleased because I know how much a victory at Le Mans means to him.
"His efforts for Patron Highcroft Racing over the past two and half seasons obviously put him on Peugeot's radar and we were more than happy for him to have the opportunity to race for them.
"For Highcroft, competing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans remains a long term goal for our team and having David as part of our organization provides us with added experience and guidance to help bring that goal to fruition in the future.
"He now has three wins at Le Mans in a row - two in GT1 and now an overall win - he certainly knows how to get the job done.
"Having both David and Scott compete in events like Le Mans and the Indy 500 add to their experience bank which in turn, helps us in our goal of clinching the LMP1 championship for Tequila Patron and Acura this year."