David Brabham and the Patron Highcroft team will be hunting for win number two as the American Le Mans Series heads for Salt Lake City this weekend for the fourth round of the year.
Barely a week after making his Le Mans Series debut for Peugeot Sport, Brabham will take up his usual duties at the wheel of the Patrón Highcroft Racing Acura ARX-02a aiming to extend his current LMP1 class lead at the Miller Motorsports Park.
Victory in round two at St Petersburg set the tone for a positive start to the ALMS season, with Brabham and team-mate Scott Sharp adding Acura's first LMP1 class win to their list of achievements for the Patrón Highcroft team. That performance coupled with second at Long Beach in round three sees the pair top the LMP1 class standings by 21 points from Gil de Ferran and Simon Pagenaud in the sister de Ferran Acura.
However, Salt Lake City could well be the toughest test to date for the new Acura.
“Miller Motorsports Park will be a challenge because it's the most demanding track on the ALMS calendar for the car,” he said. “Sebring is tough because it's bumpy and harsh on the driver but this track inflicts a high load on the car and particularly the transmission. The turbo powered cars will have an advantage in Utah due to the high altitude, so it's going to be a tough race but it will be a good test for us all.
“We head to Salt Lake City with the aim of taking our second win and maintaining the LMP1 class lead. It's been good for the team to have a break and catch our breath after Long Beach. We've used that time to make sure we are fully prepared and we're feeling pretty positive for this weekend.”
As well as setting his sights on race victory, Brabham and the Patrón Highcroft team will be continuing their endeavours in the Michelin Green X Challenge, a scheme unique to the ALMS that rewards a prototype and a GT team each race for overall performance, fuel efficiency and the least impact on the environment.
For an Australian living in Henley-on-Thames, England, competing in the ALMS and across world class endurance racing events, Brabham is well positioned to have a unique insight into the environmental challenges facing the planet.
The father of three, who is an ambassador for Energy Efficiency in Motorsport (EEMS), first highlighted his concerns to ALMS founder, Don Panoz, and President, Scott Atherton, in an email back in 2004.
"I am writing to you guys to see if we can make a shift in our thinking about the way we go about our racing and the way we impact our environment," Brabham wrote. "I would like to see a committee set up to look at what can be done to cut the emissions down and then out completely. We could set up a way of calculating the carbons that go into the atmosphere and give gold, silver or bronze to the manufactures who have the best fuel economy and the least amount of carbons. I also believe that the series could attract different sponsorship from companies that shy away from racing because it is not green.”