» BACK TO CRASH.NET

Crash.Net ALMS News

David Brabham – Q&A, Pt.1

20 January 2011

Q:
David, sum up how you feel the 2010 season went in the ALMS?

David Brabham:
It was a hard fought championship for sure. With the regulations the way they were in 2010, trying to bring the performance of the LMP1 and LMP2 cars together, it was difficult in terms of performance breaks. Certainly at Highcroft, we didn't feel we got the performance breaks that we deserved but we were the strongest team and they were probably judging it on the performance of the team rather than the performance of the vehicle.

It made it tough, but it made it worthwhile in the end with a victory at Petit Le Mans and wrapping up the championship in the final round.

Q:
There were some pretty memorable races along the way…

David Brabham:
There were, and there weren't many races where it was a stroll. It was hard work all the way through and you had teams who were quick on some circuits and not on others, which made it interesting throughout the year. Going into a race, you never knew who would win the battle, which was good for the racing and good for the fans.

Q:
Maybe the only downside was the fact that victory eluded Highcroft at Le Mans?

David Brabham:
Yes and no. From a Highcroft point of view, they had to go to Le Mans to help grow as a team and it was their first time there. Some of the guys hadn't even ventured out of America before so it was a massive culture shock. They had to go there and try their luck but Le Mans is all about preparation. We got our new bodywork very late and there were more than 100 new parts on the car for Le Mans that we hadn't tried before.

Strakka were our main competitors and they had the package two races earlier so they understood the whole concept of the new aerodynamics. There were a few little issues we discovered in the race that were holding us back but overall it was a good performance from the team and we achieved what we wanted to, which was to show well and learn from everything.

Q:
At Le Mans, you only need one small issue to end your hopes of victory when your main rival has a trouble free run…

David Brabham:
I've been fortunate enough to have a trouble free run and I know what it feels like – and how hard it is to achieve. For Strakka to do that was a fantastic performance by them and they deserved to win that race. It showed us how important preparation is for a big race like that. We prepare well in America and pretty much have that sorted, but when we got to Le Mans, we weren't as prepared as we hoped to be and we suffered because of that.

Q:
You were partnered by Simon Pagenaud last season. How did that relationship go?

David Brabham:
It was brilliant. We tried to make him feel very welcome and he did take some time to adjust within the team, but it didn't take long. As the year went on, it developed into a strong partnership with myself and Simon, and with Marino Franchitti in the longer races. We were a strong pairing and pushed the team, and we got the results.

Q:
There were also outings elsewhere in the V8 Supercars and in the VW Scirocco series, so how did you enjoy those?

David Brabham:
They were great. I enjoy my racing so it doesn't matter to me what it is – as long as it's a good package and there is some fun thrown in. The Scirocco Cup was front-wheel drive, which I haven't done for a while, and I managed to get onto the podium and have fun with it. I always enjoy going back to Australia to race there – especially in the V8 Supercars. I had the chance to work with Stone Brothers Racing for the first time and was able to work with an engineer I have worked with before at Dick Johnson Racing. Working with Alex Davison and helping the team was good and I had a great time.

Q:
At the moment, things are in the air with Highcroft and their plans, so what is the current state of play?

David Brabham:
The current state of play is that most of the contracts Highcroft had came to an end at the end of 2010, mine included. They are busily trying to put a new programme together and I think a lot of teams are slowly doing that as they look at the new regulations that have been brought out. They are choosing which car to use and bringing in new partners and sponsors. At the moment, it is uncertain but there is a lot going on and for me personally, I would like to stay there but I also have to look at my options.

Q:
Has the phone been ringing during the off-season?

David Brabham:
It's rung a few times but as I said, things are taking a little longer than normal to put together. I am waiting to see what happens with Highcroft and also, if something else comes up which takes my fancy, then I will look at that very seriously.

Q:
But the options are all in sportscars, you wouldn't look at a V8 drive full-time as an example?

David Brabham:
No. I have the opportunity to go down and do the V8 races again but I live here [UK] now. My kids go to school here, my business is here and I work with the MSA on the Team UK programme. I can still race in Europe and the USA while living here but if I go back to Australia then it is goodbye to the rest of the world and I'm not ready for that!

Q:
So Highcroft would be the preferred choice…

David Brabham:
For sure we have had four fantastic years and to see a group like HPD come into sportscars with a team like Highcroft and for the two sides to develop together into championship winning material has been fun. It has been a challenge at times but we had a lot of success and it would be great to continue working with those people. But if they don't quite have the package and someone else comes along, I have to think of my future as well. I have a strong heart with the team I have been with and it would be great if they could pull a package together and we can continue racing.

Q:
Highcroft are still a very new team but with a focused leader in Duncan Dayton. So did you expect the success you have had?

David Brabham:
I suppose when I first joined up, those were the intentions. Looking around me and working with HPD and Wirth, and seeing the passion and drive that Duncan had, I never thought 'I hope this becomes successful one day' – I always looked as it and thought it would be successful. We worked together with all our partners, including Wirth Research in developing the car and HPD with the engine, and it made for a good package very quickly. I knew the ingredients were there and it was fantastic to be part of it.


» BACK TO CRASH.NET