2 July 2015
Brabham completes first official test with Andretti
Two famous motorsport families 'officially' came together at Iowa Speedway as Matt Brabham tested an IndyCar with the Andretti Autosport team.
Matt Brabham has taken a significant step towards securing a regular Verizon IndyCar Series seat by completing an official test with Andretti Autosport at Iowa Speedway.
The 21-year old worked through a programme that saw him get up to speed quickly, completing entire laps of the oval at full throttle on just his second run. He also cycled through an aerodynamic programme to assist the Andretti Autosport team ahead of the Iowa Corn 300 that takes place at the Rusty Wallace-designed facility over 17-18 July.
Under IndyCar testing rules, Brabham ran as a 'current Indy Lights driver' at the high-speed ⅞ mile tri-oval, having built up a 17-race career in the feeder series with Andretti Autosport.
"I had an absolute blast today,” the two-time Mazda Road to Indy programme champion commented, “I have wanted to drive an IndyCar for so long now and to finally get a chance was awesome. A big thank you to all the Andretti crew, they really helped me a lot and made me feel comfortable straight away.
"Driving an IndyCar in anger for the first time was definitely different to what I am used to - the speed, power and downforce were a big jump - but it did not take me too long and I was up to speed quickly and started to work through the programme the team wanted to do.”
Brabham was joined at the test by fellow third generation racer - and regular driver of the #27 Snapple-backed entry - Marco Andretti, and he admitted he benefitted from talking with the American.
"It was great working with Marco and drawing off his experience, as a short oval is not the easiest place to drive for the first time in one of these cars,” Brabham admitted, “But, with his and the teams' help, it all came together pretty quickly for me.”
The number of people involved in the test was something that stood out for Brabham as, aside from Andretti Autosport team members, a number of representatives from engine supplier Honda and tyre supplier Firestone were on hand as well.
“There were a lot more people around me than I normally have, a couple of engineers, all the crew and technicians from Honda and Firestone,” he confirmed, “There was a swarm of activity every time I came into the pits, so it was really a cool experience and one I hope to do again soon."
It isn't the first time that Brabham had been behind the wheel of an IndyCar, having conducted a filming day in April for an Andretti Autosport sponsor and also conducted two-seater rides at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the lead-up to the Indianapolis 500, and the outing continues a rare fusion between two of the world's great racing families as well as continuing a Brabham family association with Honda that stretches back to 1964.
Matt's grandfather, Sir Jack, enjoyed a relationship which led to him dominating the 1966 F2 Championship in a Honda-powered car, before changing the technical direction of IndyCar racing at the Indy 500 some 54 years ago when he brought the first rear-engined car to the Speedway, securing a best finish of ninth from his four starts. Matt's father, Geoff, also finished fourth in the greatest spectacle in racing.
It is now Brabham Jr's aim to secure a programme to compete in the 2016 Indianapolis 500 that, in the 100th race, will commemorate the 55th anniversary of Sir Jack's historic maiden foray to America. Should he achieve this, Brabham would become just the third third generation driver to do so - standing alongside the Andrettis with this honour.
The IndyCar test also rounds off a busy - and diverse month - for Brabham, having completed a test session for David Gilliland Racing in an asphalt Late Model and taking to the skies of Toronto in a Stadium Super Truck while attending the event as a driver coach.
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