David Brabham is ready to do battle on the streets of Long Beach this weekend for round two of the American Le Mans Series.
Currently second in the title standings, the reigning LMP1 champion has his sights firmly focused on victory and closing the four-point deficit to return Highcroft Racing to the top of the table.
Sebring proved an impressive first outing for Brabham and new Highcroft Racing partner Simon Pagenaud, with the team dominating practice and qualifying only to lose their five lap class lead due to a small electrical fire. Their ability to swiftly recover and salvage points for second place could well prove a decisive factor as the 2010 season unfolds.
“Sebring was all about trying to get as many points as possible, even if we didn't achieve what we wanted to in winning the race,” said Brabham. “We set a good benchmark but the electrical fire reminds us that we can't afford for these things to happen. When they do it takes the team's focus in a different direction, which is always positive. Learning from these situations will only make us stronger.”
Long Beach sees not only the shortest race of the season, at 100 minutes duration, but also the first round of the newly combined LMP category. The on-track action between the LMP1 powerhouses against the lighter, more nimble, LMP2 cars should make for interesting viewing.
“With the new LMP category and rules, we won't know until after Long Beach how close the class adjustments will make the cars,” continued Brabham. “It's the first race of its kind, so we have to go through the motions and see how things work out. We'll have better comparisons of our competitors after this weekend and I'm sure, if there is still a big gap between cars, the Series will address that to ensure we can have some good close racing.”
Armed with the Honda Performance Development factory-backed ARX-01c for 2010, Brabham already has sound knowledge of the car from its evolution of the ARX-01b, the chassis in which he took a breathtaking first class and LMP2 victory for Highcroft Racing in 2008, narrowly missing out on the category title.
“We've enjoyed a lot of success at Long Beach. The first class win for Highcroft set the scene for a great season,” he said. “Simon and I both know and love the track, so we're feeling very positive.
“I really like street circuits and Long Beach has a fantastic history — it's one of my favourite places to go and tracks to drive. The town's people really get behind the event, which makes the atmosphere so much better. It's just a great place to race.
“The goal now is obviously to win each round, so that's what we'll be aiming to achieve, while we know finishing and getting points is important. Highcroft Racing's philosophy is to keep pushing, evolving and getting better. There are no limits — you can keep improving until the end of your career. It's important to have that team mentality to be successful.”