Having achieved an impressive podium result two weeks ago at the Navarra circuit in Spain, the Sumo Power GT team heads 900km north-west to Paul Ricard for round seven of the FIA GT1 World Championship, hoping that the track's long straights and fast corners will be the catalyst for a repeat top-three position.
That's certainly the case for David Brabham and Jamie Campbell-Walter, who recorded a fourth in the first of the weekend's two one-hour races at Navarra and then went one better in the second. However, with the Championship adopting a policy of handicapping the more successful cars, it means that Nissan GT-R #21 will carry ten kilos of success ballast this time round.
“Jamie and David's result at Navarra showed what can be achieved when everything comes together – even at a track where they said the GT-R would not be so strong," team principal Andy Barnes commented, "We now need to get both our cars up there and, with Sumo Power GT getting a second place in the Championship Race at Paul Ricard last year, this weekend presents us with a great opportunity to do it.”
The 5.809km Paul Ricard circuit, situated at Le Castellet, near Marseille, on the French Riviera, opened in 1970 and was the home of the French Grand Prix before being usurped by Magny-Cours. Having fallen into disrepair, it was redeveloped as a high-tech test track in 1999 by none other than F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, and only occasionally holds races. However, for Brabham, who made one of his two French GP appearances at the track, any chance to return is welcomed.
“I like the Paul Ricard circuit, and I raced there in the Opel Lotus series in 1988 and F1 in 1990," the Australian recalled, "I've also tested there many times in preparation for Le Mans."
Buoyed by Sumo Power's performance last time out in Spain, Brabham is optimistic that the team can again challenge for honours this weekend.
"Our good result at Navarra doesn't really change our approach, but it does give us more confidence that we are making the right kind of progress," he noted, "I thought I could predict when the GT-R would be fast at different tracks, but it's not so easy. However, I feel we will have a strong race this weekend. The incredible amount of hard work by the boys in the team is starting to come together, so we are looking forward to continuing where we left off in Spain.”