David Brabham admits that his chances of competing in the 2011 Le Mans 24 Hours are all but over after the Highcroft Racing team announced it was withdrawing from the race.
The double ALMS title winners confirmed the news earlier this week and revealed that its partnership with Honda was to come to end, with the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan earlier this year restricting the financial support that Honda could provide for the Le Mans programme.
It means the Highcroft ARX-O1e will now not be seen at Le Mans next month and Brabham admitted it was now unlikely that he would appear on the grid given the late nature of the announcement.
“I'm available now I suppose but I haven't really looked for a drive,” he said. “I was 100 per cent committed to running with Highcroft and the HPD car because if it did happen at the last minute, that was the car I wanted to be in. I think it's unlikely I'll be racing as the good seats are all taken but you never know. Let's put it this way, it could be the first Le Mans I'm not doing for a while.”
Brabham played a key role in the success of the Highcroft team during recent seasons and was part of the driving squad in what would be the final outing for the team in its relationship with HPD and Honda; taking a podium finish in the Sebring 12 Hours earlier in the year.
“I think that was very satisfying for everyone involved,” he reflected. “We'd won the championship for the past two seasons and to then go to Sebring under the circumstances, with a car that is brand new, and go through the whole race without a problem to finish second against strong, well-financed teams was good. It's sad in once sense but it was great to end on a high and everyone is now looking for new opportunities, myself included.
“The relationship with Highcroft and HPD/Honda has come to an end, but my relationship with Highcroft and my relationship with HPD/Honda hasn't ended. I'm still involved in a few little things here and there with them, but in terms of a major programme, Honda/HPD haven't committed to what we thought was going to happen. Things have changed that left Highcroft in a position that meant if the funding wasn't there to do it properly, it isn't worth doing it at all.
“What has been a very successful relationship has now come to an end in one sense but I'm sure there are new beginnings as well.”