15 May 2010
Brabham set for six-hour showdown at Laguna Seca
David Brabham heads to the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and one of his favourite places in the USA for round three of the American Le Mans Series next weekend [22 May], aiming to extend Highcroft Racing's current joint lead in the LMP title fight.
Standing at the top of the championship table seems a familiar position for David Brabham when visiting the picturesque circuit in Monterey, California. On his last outing, Brabham sealed the 2009 championship spoils with a final season podium of third overall and second in LMP1.
A little over six months later and the British-born Australian resident of Henley-on-Thames returns to Laguna Seca drawing level on points with the Porsche RS Spyder pairing of Greg Pickett and Klaus Graf, after team-mate Simon Pagenaud seized a last lap victory reminiscent of Brabham's stellar 2008 LMP2 class win last time out at Long Beach.
Set for the new six-hour race showdown in Monterey, the 44-year old sportscar legend is poised once again for victory, aiming to consolidate his and the team's championship position with another hefty points haul.
Laguna Seca will also see the full complement of Highcroft Racing drivers back in action since the opening Sebring round, with Marino Franchitti once again joining Brabham and Pagenaud.
“I always love racing at Laguna Seca,” said Brabham, “It's a great track in a lovely area — I feel really at home when visiting the Monterey peninsula. The great thing is that the HPD ARX-01c will suit the track very well as we're always fast and the car is very strong. I enjoy it there, as does Simon and Marino.
“Both of my new team-mates have settled into the team well, as we knew they would, and they are both doing a great job. Simon had a cracking drive at Long Beach to put pressure on the Aston Martin and we are two races in to the season standing on equal lead points. So this will be another important race and everything is going well.”
As well as forming another pivotal round of the challenging ALMS calendar, the new six-hour Laguna Seca race marks the last ALMS outing before the teams break to compete in the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours, another title earned by Brabham in a stunning 2009 season.
“Obviously it's a different format at Laguna Seca this year, with a six-hour race, but it's another good long race for us in terms of preparation for Highcroft Racing's debut at Le Mans, which looms next month,” continues Brabham, “The team are performing brilliantly and every race they just get better and better. I don't see any reason why we can't do well at Laguna Seca. The goal each time we sit down as a team is to win the event so that's what we'll be pushing ourselves to do.
“The car has proven to be pretty reliable. What it hasn't done yet is 24 hours non-stop, so we won't know until Le Mans how it really performs. But we have done Sebring followed by another 12 hour test and we got through that very well. Sebring is a gruelling circuit so the car took quite a pounding and Le Mans is probably only 60 per cent of that, so we still look good for reliability at Le Mans.”
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