David Brabham captured the imagination of motorsport fans across the globe with his characteristic last lap charges that kept crowds on the edge of their seats and saw him narrowly miss out on the American Le Mans Series LMP2 title this season. Already the recipient of two 2008 Most Popular ALMS Driver awards, voted for by ALMS fans and Motors TV viewers, the 43 year-old also topped the Autosport Magazine’s list of elite LMP2 drivers for 2008 (Thursday 6 November issue).
Delighted to be given the number one spot by the world’s best-selling motorsport weekly, Brabham commented: “This is mega. I haven't been in the top two of the acclaimed Autosport top 10 for a while, so I am very honored. This year was definitely one to remember as I have been working hard to improve myself using the techniques that Brabham Performance Clinic teaches, so I will continue to get better for next year’s P1 program with Acura and the Patr¢n Highcroft Racing team.”
The mild mannered gentleman was on fire this season with a blinding mid-season charge good enough to put the British born Australian within just four points of the Penske pairing of Romain Dumas and Timo Bernhard as the series reached its penultimate Road Atlanta round. Brabham’s championship dreams, however, were over within the first hour of the 1,000-mile Petit Le Mans race when teammate Scott Sharp made contact with the wall.
Despite the LMP2 championship crown evading Brabham this year, the sports car veteran, who is still the most successful and only driver in series history to clinch pole positions and race wins in every class of competition, was a force to be reckoned with all season long. An awesome move to pass Dumas with three minutes of the race remaining at Long Beach captured Patr¢n Highcroft Racing’s first P2 win while Brabham made series history by taking his fourth different ALMS class victory.
Just two rounds later, Brabham took his first overall series race win since Washington 2002 at Lime Rock where, after taking the outright pole position, another last lap surge saw Brabham make a sensational move on Bernhard for the lead. The historic race win was the first overall victory for Acura and the team. The monumental drive hailed a turning point in Brabham’s season and triggered an impressive string of results in the following five rounds where the Patr¢n Highcroft Acura was never out of the top two in class.
Second overall in the LMP2 class title fight didn’t truly reflect Brabham’s outstanding efforts or his nail-biting charges to the checkered flag while the race-by-race rivalry between the Penske and Highcroft driver pairings certainly delivered a thrilling conclusion to the season. The several post-season awards and accolades that Brabham has received so far certainly cements his status as one of the sport’s leading and most popular drivers.
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