What a mega season 2009 turned out to be, with the factory Peugeot drive and win at Le Mans and the title success in the American Le Mans Series with Highcroft...

David Brabham:
Yeah, we can talk about 2009 forever can't we, it was such a great year. When I look back and think about how the events happened, and what happened, it was just an incredible year. I knew I was racing with Highcroft as I had a long-term contract with them, but I didn't expect the e-mail from Peugeot in January, which was a nice surprise.

I remember reading the e-mail wondering how the hell I was going to pull it off; racing for two different manufacturers in the same class. But the guys at Highcroft and Acura weren't doing Le Mans so they told me it was a great chance and to go for it.

The main reason wasn't just that it was a great car, but that Peugeot were ready to win. It was the third year of the programme and I've been involved like that before with Bentley. We turned up in the third year and took the spoils and I had two great team-mates in Marc Gene and Alex Wurz. We had a faultless race just like two years earlier with Aston Martin and it was a real highlight in my career.
Any title winning season is special, but was 2009 more special given it was the anniversary of your father's title success?

David Brabham:
The stars and the moons were lining up for me. It was 50 years after my dad won his F1 title back in 1959 and we did a lot of celebrations around that. I got to drive the car he raced at Sebring when he won the title and pushed the car over the line and we re-enacted it at the Sebring Twelve Hours which was an emotional time - being on the circuit at the actual venue where he won the title in that car. I'd have to say that that on its own was a big highlight.

To win the championship and to win Le Mans, it couldn't really come any better.
In 2010 there are changes in the ALMS with a new single prototype class and a new team-mate in Simon Pagenaud with Marino Franchitti also involved. You seem to be the only constant...

David Brabham:
I seem to be the consistent thread in all the changes and that comes from when I sat down with Duncan Dayton a few years ago and he said he wanted me there in the long-term as the team wanted the stability and consistency. I could see the potential in the team so it was a no-brainer for me and we have shared a lot of success together.

For 2010 we have new rules really with P1 and P2 together and I still don't know how that is going to work - we have to wait and see. It is a way to enhance the racing at a time when it is tough for everyone with their finances but you have to go out there - particularly in America - and put on a show so the fans are drawn to it as there are so many other forms of sport.

We have done that for the past few years, particularly two years ago. Last year we didn't have the numbers, but it was still a great battle and we go into 2010 as a stronger package. We have grown as a team and Simon coming in will keep me on my toes to help push forward. Marino also brings that extra youth on board and I feel very lucky to have team-mates like that for this year.
Is there a better man than Simon to come in and replace Scott Sharp?

David Brabham:
Obviously, I have known Simon for a few years through the Acura programme and when you sit down and analyse all the laps and all the races with the Acura drivers, there was always two drivers who were the quickest and most consistent - and that was me and Simon. We will make a good pairing and Marino has come along to support the programme. He will be at every event and will compete in the endurance races and it is a case of Highcroft looking to the future as I won't be able to race forever and it is a way of bringing in that next phase for the team.
While it's difficult to evaluate 2010, who would you expect to be your main rivals?

David Brabham:
That's a good question, but we'll have to wait and see when we get to the first race. The way the rules will be set - and I don't know what IMSA will do to set the rules - will decide it. If you look at last year, the Mazda was quicker on the straights but the Acura was better in the corners and the overall lap time was quicker with the Acura to begin before the Mazda closed in.

Mazda will be in it again this year I think with Dyson and they will be a competitor. Paul Drayson's team with Jonny Cocker is turning out to be a quick car and I know Paul commited to the series this year. The way our racing is with the yellow flags, you still have a chance even if one driver is slower. If Jonny is up there with the yellow flag, then they will have a chance.
Is this the year we see you at Le Mans in Highcroft colours?

David Brabham:
I hope we can go to Le Mans and I know Duncan is keen to go there. I am a Highcroft driver and person and I know Duncan wants me to be in the team for a long time.
Would you relish the chance to fight with the likes of Audi and Peugeot at Le Mans?

David Brabham:
Well if we go to Le Mans it would be with the P2 car, and with the ACO rules, we wouldn't stand a chance as the ALMS rules don't apply for that race. For Highcroft it would be the first time at Le Mans and it would be perfect with the P2 car as they could go there under the radar and learn. They are keen to be a factory effort as they are with Acura and hope that one day, a big manufacturer would look and say 'Highcroft are the team to go with'.
The season hasn't even started and you already have some silverware...

David Brabham:
That's Marshall Pruett's [Speed TV] award right? Obviously my 'co-driver' in winning that was Allan McNish...
...that would be quite a pairing...

David Brabham:
..yeah it would and we have actually driven together before in a Ferrari 333 at Daytona and it was great. We are both strong characters both in the car and out of it about what we want and how we want it and I remember at Daytona when we drove together.

When you have two strong characters in a team, if there are different ideas there can be a clash but it worked out pretty well. Allan has had a fantastic spell in sportscars and for me, he is the benchmark and on top of his game. He is fast, consistent and reliable and he is a great asset for Audi.
We are speaking here at the Autosport International show ahead of your karting event for Malaria No More. How are you looking forward to it?

David Brabham:
Very much so, but I think we'll be glad when its over as the Racing4Charity team has done an unbelievable amount of work to get this event to where it is now. It is three or four times bigger than before which means more time and effort and these are volunteers who are working to get this event to happen.

We are happy to have so many high-profile names coming along for the event and I already have people who aren't involved this year who would like to do it next year. It is growing in stature.
And this year you are in the Live Action Arena for the first time.

David Brabham:
Yeah the guys at Apex Circuit Design have worked with us to design the circuit and Malaria No More is a charity that Highcroft have been involved in and they will benefit from the event.

When you start to look at malaria and how many children will die - 180 will die in Africa while we have a 90 minute race - it's hard to accept when you have kids yourself. The aim for Malaria No More UK is to get awareness as it is fairly new charity over here and are finding their feet. We want to raise awareness and raise some money as ?5 gives you a mosquito net, which could save a family from malaria. It isn't a lot but they need the money and the nets and we want to help to do that.

We want to raise as much as possible and its tougher this year than it was last year. They are happy with what they could get out of it and will only know after the event what we have raised but hopefully it will be above ?50,000

NB: The event eventually raised ?59,500, taking the total raised by David Brabham's Racing4Charity organisation in the last three years to over ?151,000.



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