David Brabham is setting his sights on finishing off a the 2009 season in style by adding the American Le Mans Series title to his Le Mans 24 Hours victory in the final round at Laguna Seca this weekend.
Brabham and Patrón Highcroft Racing made a mighty comeback in the last round, Petit Le Mans, at Road Atlanta, building a new Acura ARX-02a from the ground up following Scott Sharp's horrendous accident in Thursday practice to extend their championship lead.
Brabham's penultimate round efforts ensured that the LMP1 title fight runs to the wire, to the delight of ALMS fans who have been entertained with the season-long battle against the sister de Ferran Motorsports Acura. The 44-year old's healthy 21-point lead means that the Patrón Highcroft car needs to complete just 70 per cent of the four-hour race at Laguna Seca to secure the spoils, but the Australian insists that the entire team will be aiming for its fourth season victory.
“To head to the final race of the season with a 21-point lead is a nice situation to be in but, in some ways, when the fight is closer, it makes it easier," he reasoned, "With only having to finish 70 per cent of the race to take the championship, the risk can be that the mind relaxes a little bit, which could be potentially dangerous.
“We're heading into the final round with the same attitude as any race - we're out there to win. When you concentrate on winning, your focus and concentration levels are high and you know exactly what you want to achieve.
“Laguna Seca is one of the most challenging circuits on the calendar and reliability will be a major factor, especially for us to ensure we get to 70 per cent distance. We have good knowledge of what's needed in terms of set-up as we were strong there last year, when I took outright pole in the P2 car.
“Although the P1 is very different from the 2008 P2, it's great that we have a brand new car after a fantastic effort by the Patrón Highcroft team to get us racing at Petit Le Mans. The car was competitive and reliable, but obviously the guys will strip it all down and make sure everything is okay for the last race.”
With victory at Le Mans at his 16th attempt with Team Peugeot Total already achieved, plus an impressive inaugural LMP1 campaign with Patrón Highcroft Racing and Acura, scoring three wins and an array of podium finishes in the ALMS, 2009 is shaping up to be one of Brabham's best years in the business.
“Obviously, hopes are high for the last race of the season, and it's already been an incredible year for me," he admitted, "But adding the ALMS title to my Le Mans win would certainly be a great bonus.”