BRABHAM BLOGS: READY TO RESTORING THAT WINNING FEELING Eager for first overall Mid-Ohio win since 2001 David Brabham is hopeful that he can help lead PatrÃ³n Highcroft Racing back to the top step of the podium in the American Le Mans Series ...
BRABHAM BLOGS: READY TO RESTORING THAT WINNING FEELING
Eager for first overall Mid-Ohio win since 2001
David Brabham is hopeful that he can help lead Patrón Highcroft Racing back to the top step of the podium in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón - this time at Mid-Ohio. Will it happen? He lets us is on the keys in his latest blog update.
We were fairly confident going into Round 5 at Lime Rock Park. It was Highcroft Racing's home race so we were extra keen to do well. We had lots of sponsors, GE and Patrón guests, as well as friends and family of the team attending, so it was great to take the pole.
The car was in good shape and I felt good. We made some adjustments halfway through qualifying which improved the car quite a lot and I put it on pole by a reasonable margin.
That set us up for a good race. Unfortunately Simon had the same problem I experienced at Salt Lake and we just got swamped at the start. We tried to do the race on one stop but that didn't work for us. Klaus (Graf) took a shorter fill and managed to jump us by about 20 seconds, so then it was a case of trying to chase him down.
The gap maintained between 15-20 seconds with traffic. The track grip started to come towards us and I was able to lap a lot faster than Klaus. I was putting in qualifying laps every lap trying to catch him.
Five laps before I caught him a warning on my dash indicated the right-rear tire was starting to go down. We don't use that tire much around that track so it wasn't something I felt, just something we noticed on the telemetry so we decided to keep going.
I got behind Klaus, he got balked going on to pit straight so I tried to go past. He moved over, clouted me and I ended up on the grass. That may have dislodged whatever was in the tire because it went down the next lap forcing me to pit with 10 minutes to go.
It was a good weekend but we didn't quite manage to pull it off. Klaus did a great job of keeping the car in the lead, it was good hard racing and I've got no bones to pick at all.
We feel that we aren't getting the rule breaks at the moment; I think it's because of the team not necessarily the car's performance. Highcroft is a great team - on paper it's very strong with Simon and I - but we don't understand why the Porsche got the break it did. The data shows if they were behind it wasn't by much. Certainly not to warrant a 25kg weight reduction.
So we are fighting against that when the Porsche has always been fast. It's been as fast as our car for the last three years, so it makes our job even harder.
To win races you have to do everything correctly, as CytoSport did at Lime Rock. We had a run of three races where we executed everything perfectly and won each race, but not by huge margins. We were about to pounce at Lime Rock when we got the puncture but there's a lot of racing left and points up for grabs so the focus is now on Mid-Ohio.
You dig deeper after every race. I know every team member, myself included, will look back at Lime Rock and think they could have done better and that's what makes us stronger. We are happy to recognize where we need to improve and we do.
That's been the progression of the team since it started. Duncan (Dayton) has very clear ambitions about where he wants to take the team, and the team is with him. We are all pushing because the competition is tough. I feel very lucky and privileged to drive with such a great team.
We've got a busy period coming up with three races in four weeks. It's important we finish every race well so we have a good points lead when we get to Petit Le Mans. Of course, we know from Lime Rock that's not always easy.
Every race is important to develop the Highcroft HPD-car's new aero kit because we haven't had the luxury of testing. Every race we have to make changes and learn from them. We are getting more data as we go along which should set us up nicely for the end of the season.
We'll be close to the Porsche at Mid-Ohio. On paper they should be quicker because they are lighter and have more downforce. If we can get on top of them we will have done a stellar job, as we still have a straight line speed disadvantage.
Mid-Ohio is quite a physical circuit but it's a fun track too and we've always done well there. There aren't a lot of places to pass so strategy will once again be the key. At the moment we're not as quick as the others on the straight, but if we're in the lead and can get through the traffic a little bit better then that will help us.
It's Simon's weekend coming up so he'll be qualifying. He's done an outstanding job this year and rest assured we'll all be putting 100% percent effort into it.
As part of Highcroft's mission to raise awareness and funds for Malaria No More, we offered my services to give a driving lesson around Lime Rock Park to the highest EBay bidder. Someone generously donated more than $500 for the privilege. I really enjoyed it because it's always rewarding to see someone improve their driving. It was a great experience for a worthy cause.
Brabham, Patrón Highcroft Racing and the rest of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón return to action at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge. The two-hour, 45-minute race from Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course is set for 3 p.m. ET on Saturday, August 7. Live race and qualifying video will be streamed online at americanlemans.com. Live radio coverage will be available on American Le Mans Radio presented by Porsche - a production of Radio Show Limited - as well as Sirius Channel 127 and XM Channel 242. The race will be broadcast at 12:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, August 15 on CBS Sports. Visit the Series' schedule page for ticket and accommodation information. Live Timing and Scoring, track schedule, entry list and much, much more will be available on Racehub at americanlemans.com.