David Brabham will return to the familiar surroundings of a sports prototype for the 2012 season, having been confirmed as part of JRM Racing's World Endurance Championship line-up.
The Australian campaigned a Nissan for sister team Sumo Power GT in 2011, but will return to the faster class of sportscar as JRM launches an assault on the new WEC series with an Acura-based LMP1 machine. Brabham will partner similarly-experienced sportscar campaigner Peter Dumbreck - who raced one of JRM's Nissan GT cars last season - and F1 convert Karun Chandhok, who switches to sportscars after missing out on a seat in the top flight.
"I am absolutely thrilled to be part of JRM's LMP1 programme, especially as it's with the HPD ARX," Brabham commented, "I did a great deal of development work with this car and, therefore, I like to think that it has some of my DNA in it.
"Stepping from GT1 to the WEC is going to be a steep learning curve for the team, but there's some great people involved at JRM Racing and I shall do all I can to use my experience of the car and endurance events to bring us up to speed as quickly as possible. I can't wait to get started!"
The Acura will also provide some familiarity to Brabham's season, the Australian having successfully campaigned an earlier version of the machine in the American Le Mans Series
with Highcroft Racing. It will, however, be JRM's first season with the car, having switched its alliance from Nissan to Honda, via Honda Performance Development, for the 2012 season. The ARX-03a, currently hailed as the most competitive petrol Le Mans Prototype around, will be powered by a specially-designed naturally aspirated 3.5-litre V8 engine.
The new-for-2012 FIA-backed WEC series stops at some of the biggest sportscar races in the world, including Le Mans and Sebring. The other six rounds will see JRM's trio contesting a series of six-hour events at Spa-Francorchamps, Silverstone, Interlagos, Fuji, Bahrain International and an as-yet-unconfirmed venue in China.
“After achieving success at the highest level of GT racing, we are now looking for a fresh challenge and we see competition in Endurance events as the next step for the team,” JRM team principal James Rumsey said, “We have chosen the Honda as it's a well-developed package and currently the most competitive of the petrol-engined LMP1 cars.
“Having Le Mans included in the calendar is a significant factor for us. It has always represented the pinnacle of motorsport achievement and, therefore, it's been a goal of ours to compete since the company started racing two years ago. We hope that our entry will be accepted this year.
"I am delighted to announce our drivers so soon after confirming our intention to enter the FIA
World Endurance Championship. The three drivers chosen gives us a very strong line up and provides us with a perfect blend of experience, speed and PR profile. We realise that we face a challenge, especially in the early part of the year. But, as we have proved in the past, we like challenges and we are looking forward to transferring our success in short-distance GT racing to that of long-distance endurance events."
JRM will also continue its relationship with Nissan and NISMO alongside its new deal with HPD, and will maintain development of the new GT3 GT-R, which made its race debut during the 2011 season.