Brabham dynasty to continue at the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500
Matt Brabham wants to follow in rarely tracked footsteps and become just the third driver to be a third-generation participant in the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. And he wants to do it in the 100th Running of the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing."
Brabham, 21, was announced Dec. 4 in his native Australia to drive the PIRTEK Team Murray entry in both 2016 races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway - the Angie's List Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 14 and the Indianapolis 500 on May 29. If he successfully qualifies for the "500," the Brabham name will join that of Vukovich and Andretti as the only families to boast of three generations to compete.
Matt's grandfather, Sir Jack Brabham, was a Formula One legend who ushered in the use of rear-engine cars at Indianapolis Motor Speedway when he drove the Cooper Climax to a ninth-place finish in the 1961 Indianapolis 500. To honor his grandfather, Matt will drive car No. 61.
Matt's father, Geoff, was a 10-time Indy 500 starter. Matt has raced the past four years in the Mazda Road to Indy development ladder, winning the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda in 2012 and the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires in 2013. He drove in 17 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires races over the past two seasons, winning on the IMS road course and finishing second on the oval in 2014.
"There is no doubt that this is a dream come true," said Matt. "We have a lot of work ahead of us, but it is nice to get this plan in place this far out. We now have the job of creating a first-class experience on and off the track for everyone involved."
The team is operated by Brett "Crusher" Murray, an Australian motorsports promoter who helped make the Indy car race on the streets of Surfers Paradise an overwhelming success for nearly two decades. PIRTEK, a fluid transfer solution specialist based in Australia, will be the primary sponsor as the company looks to relaunch its franchise network in the United States in 2016.
Team Murray will partner with full-time Verizon IndyCar Series team KV Racing Technology, whose owners include Australian Kevin Kalkhoven and retired Indy car driver Jimmy Vasser.
"If you are going to enter into such a program, you need to do it with people you trust and who share a similar passion," Murray said. "So that made KV Racing the natural choice for us because of my long-term personal and professional relationships with Kevin and Jimmy."
Team Murray is scheduled to announce additional sponsorship and charitable initiatives at its United States launch during the PRI Motorsports Trade Show in Indianapolis from Dec. 10-12.
"I have had a dream of having my own car in the Indy 500 since before Matt was born and Matt has had a dream of being a starter in the '500' since he was old enough to get behind the wheel," said Murray, who heads up the BAM Group of media companies. "I made a promise to Sir Jack before he passed away (in May 2014) that I would do what I could to help Matt's career."