Part 2 of 2. DAVID EMPRINGHAM-88- Multimatic Motorsports Focus HOW DO YOU RATE THIS WEEK SO FAR? "If you would have asked me yesterday morning, I would have had a slightly different tone of voice. We were a little far away with the balance...
Part 2 of 2.
DAVID EMPRINGHAM-88- Multimatic Motorsports Focus
HOW DO YOU RATE THIS WEEK SO FAR? "If you would have asked me yesterday morning, I would have had a slightly different tone of voice. We were a little far away with the balance of the car, but by the time we finished last night, we had made a huge gain for the day. I feel optimistic that we have a car we can run decent laps with all night long. I feel we have as good or better of a driver lineup than anybody out there, so it's it a great position to be starting the race."
DO YOU FEEL THAT THIS TEAM WAS THE DARK HORSE TO WIN THIS RACE COMING INTO THIS WEEKEND? "That was the beauty of yesterday. Brumos really did have all of the attention and Scott (Maxwell) stole it yesterday. I'm a little bit surprised that we are considered the underdog. Brumos had their car early and they've been strong, but if you've ever been to Multimatic's shop, you'd know what the engineers behind these cars are capable of doing. It's just an unbelievable facility. Between them and Yates we have a strong package that shouldn't be overlooked. I'm surpassed that we're somewhat considered an underdog but it's a nice feeling because there certainly isn't as much pressure. We absolutely have expectations of trying to win and feel that we have as good as chance as anybody to win the race."
DO YOU FEEL THAT THE ATTENTION IS NOW FOCUSED YOUR TEAM? "It's starting to. In fairness to them, they did a great job and they've had a lot of time to work on their car, and we haven't. At the test, we were thee seconds off of the pace and people thought we were sandbagging; we weren't. Since the test, Yates had the car on the chassis dyno, we've had the car on the shaker machine; Multimatic did their homework as much as they could without actually driving the car. Quite honestly, we've really closed that gap, and that's the part we were most happy with yesterday."
HOW DO YOU PLAN TO ATTACK THE RACE TOMORROW IN TERMS OF STRATEGY? "We'll probably try to stay on the lead lap and we won't be fighting to lead the whole way. Ego won't make us try to lead the race. I think we're going to keep each other focused on our goal and stick to a plan. There are a lot reliable cars, even in the slower class. The GTs are all of a sudden a factor."
DO YOU FEEL THAT YOU'LL BE RACING THE GT CARS TOMORROW FOR THE OVERALL WIN? "We feel that's going to happen because in terms of fuel mileage they'll be in a better position than us. We may have a few extra seconds a lap, so we just really need to preserve the car the best we can. We can't afford to have a 10 minute, 20 minute, or 30-minute issue in the pits."
TALK ABOUT THE LEAP FROM GOING FORM THE GRAND-AM CUP TO THE ROLEX SERIES . "I drove the GT1 Porsche last year and the year before. I've driven in Indy car and Indy Lights for three years. We have hidden credentials. Brabham has the big credentials. That's the beauty of this team. We don't really have ego problems on this team. We're all pretty much capable of turning the same lap times. There is nobody on this team trying to throw their weight around. David Brabham is a big name with a huge resume, but he's fairly low-keyed and he doesn't make us feel at all like we're any way lesser. We're all confident that there is no real weak link here."
YOU'RE THE ONLY DAYTONA PROTOTYPE ENTRY WITH THREE DRIVERS. HOW WILL THAT IMPACT YOUR RACE STRATEGY? "It doesn't affect our strategy, and I think it makes a tighter loop for the information to be passed. We're not in a situation where we have a fourth driver that's bringing money and isn't on the pace. Usually a guy that isn't on the pace, he's slower but he's also harder on the equipment. And, it's one less guy that in the driver ego mix that's trying to show off himself compared to the other drivers. We have great computability between the three of us and, to me, that's a rare thing. If you add another person to the equation, it even makes it more difficult. In terms of keeping sharp on the track, sure, you might get less sleep time, but you're more in tune with what's going on. I think there are pluses and minuses, but as Scott (Maxwell) said, I think we have a perfect scenario.
HOW IS THE CAR ON LONG RUNS? "The car is physically very easy to drive, my only concern is with the heat. Comfort-wise it's great; it's just hot in there during the day. We haven't been able to assess whether two hours is going to be an issue or not. Up until the race it's about making the car better, but in the race it's about discipline. We talked last night and you can go out on sticker laps and turn in a great lap time, but it will hurt you if you use up your tires in the first 10 minutes; it could really hurt the next 50 minutes. It's definitely about setting a pace that's probably two seconds slower that what we saw in qualifying."
WITH THIS BEING A NEW CLASS AND THE FIRST RACE WITH THE PROTOTYPES, WILL IT BE A RACE OF RELIABILITY? "Two of them already didn't make qualifying. I'd be surprised if there are two of them at the end. It's difficult to take any six cars and expect more than two or three of them to be there at the end. Usually half of the grid finishes a race like this."
DAVID BRABHAM-88- Multimatic Motorsports Focus
YOU HAVE A FAMILY BACKGROUND RICH IN RACING SUCCESS. "We've all been pretty successful at it, which isn't an easy thing to say. It's probably unique somewhat because there are a lot of kids who have famous dads who have been successful in racing and only a few of the second-generation racers are successful. I just do what I like doing. I'm pleased with my career up to date and there's still more to come.
DO YOU FEEL THAT THIS TEAM WAS THE DARK HORSE TO WIN THIS RACE COMING INTO THIS WEEKEND? "It's all very new for everyone in this category. When you look at all of the cars in this class, they all look a little bit different even though they're the same regulation. Multimatic has done their car in a certain way using the Ford V-8 modular engine. When I look at all of the cars, I'm very pleased that I'm in this car because I think this car is being built to a very high standard. We just have to look at it and its performance on the track shows that. For me, as a driver going into this race, I'm confident that I have a very good package underneath me to do a good job."
DO YOU HAVE ANY PRIOR EXPERIENCE WITH EMPRINGHAM OR MAXWELL? "No. I know of them and I know that from their careers that they are very good drivers, and working with them this weekend for the first time is great because we all get along very well. We all jump in the car and we have a similar feel for the car and we do similar lap times. The team is jelling very well together and that's great to see. We're all within a couple of tenths and the main thing we're trying to work on is trying to get a good balance in the car. With the rules and regulations and the way they've been set, I think the cars are a little bit tail happy because all that weight in the back with a longer distance to the gearbox. With the cars being so new, it's going to take a few races for the cars to behave the way they probably want to behave, but with the progress that we've made from the test here when we were quite a few seconds off of the pace to now, it won't take long. The test here was the first time that this car ran and you have that into account, but the way the car was in the test, I was thinking that if we were a second off that we would be doing pretty well. I shouldn't be surprised because I've been to Multimatic and seen the operation. I've seen how big and how complex it is. The work that they have done on the re-testing and the computer simulations, and the work that Robert Yates has done on the Ford engine as well. The whole package within a very short time has come from being not competitive to being very competitive. I think that's an impressive thing to be involved in."
HOW DOES THIS ENGINE COMPARE TO THE ENGINE YOU RAN LAST YEAR IN THE PANOZ? "In the American LeMans Series, the Panoz use a very similar engine to what the NASCAR guys use. It's a 6-liter pushrod engine. The characteristics of this engine compared to what I'm used to are very different. Obviously with the rules and regulations, they want the horsepower capped at about 500 horsepower. I'm used to 650, and that's a big difference. The style of the engine is different as well. From the test to now, Robert Yates has been working hard on the engine, so we have an increase in power. This engine has good torque. It's a fairly flat curve and it's very driveable. When you get on the power you can really hammer and you get a lot of torque down low, which is really important. Once you get up on the banking you get a little bit more restricted, so the emphasis is getting off of the corners quickly."
IS THIS MORE OF A DRIVER'S CAR? "It doesn't matter what class you're in. If you're a good driver, you have to get the most of the car. What I would say about this particular type of car, I think the average driver, the gentleman driver, the semi-professional guys can experience a properly made race car and actually not be that far away from a professional driver. When the car gets downforce and more power, that's where the better drivers excel because they're able to carry that speed into the corner knowing that they've got the downforce and the grip. It's probably closed that gap a little bit which I think is what has defined by the series."
DO YOU HAVE TO ADJUST YOUR DRIVING STYLE IN THIS CAR COMPARED TO WHAT YOU'RE USED TO DRIVING? "I've got a lot of experience in all sorts of race cars and each race car requires a different style of driving because the downforce figures are different. When you go into the corner and hit the brake the car responds in a certain way, and when you come off the brake it responds in a certain way, so you need to be adaptable with your driving. You have a certain style but you have to adapt it in little areas to get the most out of a race car. I wouldn't say that I carried everything I learned from the Panoz over to here because this is a different car and you have to attack the corners differently. I'm basing all of my experience form go-karts to what I know now and using it in my driving style.
DO YOU FEEL THAT THE PROTOTYPE CAR IS THE PREMIER CAR IN THE SERIES? "The only way that I think you're going to do that is by adjusting the rules slightly. You have to give these cars more power. They probably need more power and a little bit more rear tire and then they would come into some sort of contingent. It's hard when you're trying to restrict car. You can put weight on the Corvettes or give them a smaller restrictor for horsepower or you could give us a bigger restrictor and have a bigger tire. They set the rules and regulations and this is the first time it's been seen from paper to reality. Now the reality is they might have to make some adjustments."
COMING INTO THE RACE, DID YOU EXPECT TO HAVE TO BATTLE THE GTS AND GT CARS FOR THE OVERALL WIN? "After the test it was pretty obvious to us that not only do we have to worry about GTS cars but also the GT cars because even though they're slower, the Porsche and the Ferrari have done 24-hour races; we haven't. This is the first time that these cars have done 24 hours. If you have problems, it's going to be hard to catch those GT cars if you've been in the pits for 10 laps. To catch the lap back, our cars aren't what they used to be. Our cars used to be so fast compared to the GT cars, even up to last year when I drove the Ferrari 333 here. We could turn laps eight to 10 seconds quicker, and now it's only four or five seconds, so it's a lot tougher. They make the race harder to win."
Ford, part I