11 July 2011
David Brabham column: Halfway through new horizons
With the 2011 season edging past its halfway mark, David Brabham reflects on his new surroundings in the FIA GT1 series.
My first season contesting the FIA GT1 World Championship offered some exciting opportunities for 2011.
It's a completely new series to me, the Nissan GT-R is new to me, working with Jamie [Campbell-Walter] and the Sumo Power GT team is new to me. Even some of the team personnel are coping with their first season in the series, so I walked into a very different scenario compared to what I have been used to with Highcroft Racing and working in the American Le Mans Series.
Everything, from the format of racing to all the rules and regulations in a sense, has been like re-learning everything again and, naturally, there are times when you get it right and times when you don't.
I've raced in America for the last 13 years. I knew the routine, what to do and how to do it. So I could go out there and get the job done. Learning everything fresh has been a challenge in some ways, but that's actually something I always enjoy.
I think the FIA GT1 World Championship is a fantastic series. It's full of action and a lot of pressure. With such short races, you've got to perform every time you get in the car. Boy, you've got to get everything right and it's been good for me to go through that.
There's a really strong, quality, group of cars and drivers. The guys are all good at what they do and different cars are good at different tracks which means there's never one car dominating. It varies from track-to-track and that makes things interesting.
The World Championship title won't be decided until the last lap of the last round. I think that shows how competitive it is. The way the rules are and the balance of performance bodes well for the future of the championship.
The start of the season was understandably a bit of a learning curve for us all but we've grown and learnt at every round. As we head past the halfway point, we've got three third-place podiums under our belts. Now, as everything comes together, all eyes are on progressing up the rostrum.
Before the last round at Navarra, where we claimed third- and fourth-place finishes, we ran a really good test at Aragon. It was an important milestone for us as it was the first test this year, not only for me, but all the Nissan GT-Rs.
Trying to make do with what we have at a race meeting is not always ideal, but we managed. The test proved really positive and the results showed the potential we have. Particularly at Navarra, a track that doesn't really suit the car, we went really well.
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