David Brabham scooped no fewer than two 'Most Popular Driver' awards at the American Le Mans Series awards banquet in Monterey on Sunday [19 October], going some way to making up for the disappointment of the final round of the season at Laguna Seca.
The charismatic sportscar veteran, and double Le Mans 24 Hour GT1 class winner, was confirmed as the fans' favourite ALMS driver worldwide by capturing both the ALMS and Motors TV
'Most Popular' awards, adding the two accolades to his second-place LMP2 championship trophy.
“There are so many great drivers in this series that it is a privilege to have won these awards and, obviously, my heartfelt thanks go out to all of the fans that voted for me,” 'Brabs' said, “It's been an incredible season for me personally, not only with the level of success I've enjoyed in the American Le Mans Series, but also winning the GT1 class in the Le Mans 24 Hour for the second consecutive year. I am immensely proud to have received both awards here tonight.”
The 43-year old has certainly kept the crowds entertained with his blistering form and characteristic charges to the chequered flag producing thrilling race conclusions. He made series history earlier this year at Long Beach, when a move to pass Penske's Romain Dumas with three minutes took the LMP2 win and secured victory in a fourth different ALMS class.
The British-born Australian's first overall series victory since Washington in 2002 came at Lime Rock, where he took a first outright pole position of the year and passed Timo Bernhard for the lead, again with just three minutes remaining, with a blinding move into turn one. This time, having taken an historic first race win for Patrón Highcroft Racing and the first outright ALMS race victory for Acura, the move was still being talked about at the next round....
The multiple race-winning partnership of Brabham and team-mate Scott Sharp closed in on the series leaders right up to the penultimate round of the season, but eventually had to settle for second in the LMP2 championship with four class wins, including one outright victory, three overall pole positions and seven podium finishes. Brabham remains the only driver in ALMS history to boast pole position and race wins in all four categories.
That achievement was also noted as the tenth season of the American Le Mans Series came to a close, with fans honouring the competitors who have made the first decade unforgettable. With 81 ALMS starts, 16 victories and nine pole positions, Brabham was selected as one of the top ten 'Drivers of the Decade', cementing his place in ALMS folklore.
“It's been a great evening, not just for me, but for the team too with Scott [Sharp] taking the 'Top Rookie' award," Brabham continued, "Every time the team was mentioned, there was a big cheer from a lot of people in the room, and to have that level of respect and good thoughts towards the team is something really special.
"Duncan [Dayton] has put together a great team at Patrón Highcroft and I am looking forward to achieving some amazing things with them in 2009. It's awesome to be a part of the team and I hope that we can enjoy a long and successful future together.”
Brabham returns to the senior LMP1 class with Patron, Highcroft and Acura next season, when he will look to take further outright wins and add to his already impressive record.