Mosport: David Brabham race report
Brabham Celebrates 100th ALMS Race With Eighth Consecutive Podium London, UK -- Sunday, August 29, 2010; David Brabham scored his eighth consecutive American Le Mans Series podium to cap the celebrations surrounding his 100th ALMS race start at ...
Brabham Celebrates 100th ALMS Race With Eighth Consecutive Podium
London, UK -- Sunday, August 29, 2010; David Brabham scored his eighth consecutive American Le Mans Series podium to cap the celebrations surrounding his 100th ALMS race start at Mosport International Raceway.
The fourth second place finish of the season sees Brabham and teammate Simon Pagenaud head into the final Series round with a 16 point lead over CytoSport's Klaus Graf.
Consistent form has delivered a faultless run of podium finishes so far. Today's result at the only Canadian round on the ALMS calendar took Brabham's impressive race tally to 97 top 10 finishes and 59 podiums in 100 races.
The Brabham name has been synonymous with the highest echelons of motorsport for over 50 years so it was fitting that David celebrated the major milestone at the circuit where his father, Sir Jack Brabham, won the first Canadian Grand Prix the same weekend 43 years ago.
Continuing his own legacy befitting of the Brabham name, David has contested the majority of races since the Series' inception in 1999 and his first race in the Panoz GTR-1. He is the only man to take pole positions and race wins in the ACO sanctioned classes of GT1, GT2, LMP1 and LMP2 -- a feat that cannot be repeated.
Triple F1 World Champion, Sir Jack Brabham led the messages of congratulations pouring into the Mosport International Raceway. Sending his special message from his home in Australia, he commented: "Many congratulations of achieving your 100th race with ALMS, a great achievement with really consistently fantastic results.
"The whole family is extremely proud of you, not only for the huge talent you have for your racing, but also for the way you are living your life and the excellent contribution you are making to society as a good role model for the younger generation coming along.
"I am so sorry that I am unable to be there for the celebration but I am thinking of you and hope it is a happy time for you."
David's brother Geoff, who raced with IMSA and was multiple champion in the now defunct Camel GT Series, joined his father in leading the congratulations. He commented: "I have always regarded you as my little baby brother but now that you are well over 40 and raced in 100 races in the ALMS it sounds like you are nearly as old as me now!
"Even though you cost me at least two victories at Le Mans because you were mad at Jean Todt for ignoring you and picking me I am very proud of what you have done. One of the hardest things to do in motor racing is to hang in there over a long period of time and bro you have certainly done that."
Courtesy of Speed.com, ALMS Founder and Panoz Motor Sports Team Owner Don Panoz commented: "Any time somebody accomplishes 100 of anything, it's one hell of an achievement. For David to arrive at this point in our series is just phenomenal. He drove for me for something like five years. I consider him one of the great drivers of all-time, particularly with this type of racing. He's one of the most level-headed, intelligent, calm, resourceful, thoughtful and honest person. A lot of drivers might get three out of the six, but David gets six of the six."
Patron Highcroft spared no effort in the celebrations, unveiling the car and team pit in centenary livery on Friday and presenting Brabs with a caricature by the Australian cartoonist, Stonie, before the race start.
"I fully appreciate the efforts everyone has gone to in celebration of my 100th race," said Brabs. "To be stood on the grid with Don Panoz and Scott Atherton, who created the ALMS, and Duncan Dayton -- effectively my first and latest employer in the ALMS -- was very neat.
"The kind messages, whether spoken or written, have been very much appreciated. To top it off, it was pretty special to get messages from Dad and Geoff, which left me with a big lump in my throat before I got in the car."
Considering the occasion, it was only apt that Brabham took charge of the HPD ARX-01c to officially start his 100th ALMS race and mark the 50th race outing for Patron Highcroft. A strong start held second position from the Porsche Spyder but, boasting a 25kg weight reduction, the CytoSport car soon stretched its lead to 11 seconds in 15 minutes.
A severe lack of grip, however, meant the ALMS centenarian had to fight to keep the car on the track and adversely affected his lap times. Brabham relinquished second place to the turbo-powered Lola of Jon Field and did well to fend off the Dyson Racing car for a further 10 minutes before slipping to fourth.
Despite the huge grip challenges, Brabham did an amazing job to stay on the lead lap and recover up to second place as Field pit after 45 minutes followed by the Dyson car.
Holding on in the hope of a full course yellow, Brabham eventually pit with 1 hour 40 remaining. Feedback from his stint proved vital in helping the Highcroft crew make setup adjustments as the car, featuring race number 100 in honour of Brabs, took on fresh Michelin tyres and fuel.
No sooner had Pagenaud joined the fray in third, a puncture for the Dyson car promoted him to second before the first full course caution came out. Crucially remaining on the lead lap, the Frenchman fought to stay ahead of the Porsche Spyder at the restart with 1 hour 20 remaining when the setup changes came into immediate effect.
Pagenaud's expert traffic navigation helped him stay out front right up until the second safety car period with 45 minutes remaining, presenting the perfect opportunity to pit under caution and rejoin less than six seconds behind the CytoSport Porsche.
The race, however, was red flagged with just under 30 minutes to go following the heavy impact suffered by GTC Porsche driver Luke Hines. He was thankfully unharmed but due to the damage to the Turn 7 guardrail the race was deemed a result.
"To finish second here at Mosport is great," said Brabham. "We're doing everything we need to do to win this championship and that's to keep finishing and finishing well.
"I had a tough stint. We lost grip early on and the problem just got worse. It was a challenge keeping the car on the track. That is something we need to understand because it cost us a lot of time.
"We were hoping for a yellow and that came a little late for us. It was a fantastic recovery by the boys to make tyre pressure and wing changes for Simon and we were in pretty good shape behind the Porsche. Simon did a great job holding Klaus off before the safety. We were in a good position at the end and fortunately Luke Hines was able to climb out of that horrible accident OK.
"We have a lot of data and information we can carry into Petit for the setup to hopefully go out with a win. I'm looking forward to it."
Brabham will mount his final 2010 championship challenge in the hunt for back-to-back ALMS titles in the 13th annual 1,000-mile/10-hour endurance classic of Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, from September 29 to October 2.
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