Double Le Mans GT1 class winner David Brabham is set to return to the P1 category for the Le Mans 24 Hours 2009 race with Peugeot Sport, it was announced at a Paris press conference today, Monday 9 February. Brabham, who lives in Henley-on-Thames, will chariot the new-liveried Peugeot 908 HDi FAP in his bid to take his third consecutive Le Mans victory in the year that his father, Sir Jack, celebrates the 50th anniversary of his first Formula One World Championship crown.
The legendary Australian sports car ace, born in Britain, is one of nine drivers completing the Peugeot Sport line-up this year. In addition to Le Mans, Brabham will also contest the Spa 1,000 kilometers in May, all with the full approval of Patr¢n Highcroft Racing and Acura to take the drives alongside his American Le Mans Series commitments.
A seasoned Le Mans veteran dating back to 1992, Brabham already boasts back-to-back GT1 class victories (in 2007 and 2008) with Aston Martin Racing, for each of which he and teammate Darren Turner received the BRDC Wolf Barnato Trophy as the highest-placed British or Commonwealth driver/s in a British car.
The 43 year-old will return to the P1 category at Le Mans in 2009 for the first time since 2003 when he teamed with Johnny Herbert and Mark Blundell in the Bentley EXP Speed 8 and finished second. Already the most successful driver in the history of the American Le Mans Series, boasting pole positions and race wins in all four categories, Brabham will be hoping to get one step closer to repeating the feat at Le Mans by capturing a P1 and outright win this year.
The Brabham family is enthroned in the history of Le Mans. Sir Jack first tackled the mammoth endurance race back in 1957, two years before he took his first of three Formula One World titles. In fact, each of the three Brabham brothers have taken on the Le Mans challenge with Geoff competing several times and taking overall victory in 1993 in the Peugeot 905 Ev1 while Gary raced with Porsche in 1989.
“I’m absolutely delighted to be asked to drive the Le Mans 24 Hours with Peugeot Sport and I am very grateful to Duncan Dayton and Patr¢n Highcroft Racing, John Mendel and Acura, and Erik Berkman at Honda Performance Development for giving me their blessing to race once again in this historic event,” said Brabs. “I’m really looking forward to racing at both Spa and Le Mans and to continuing the testing program leading up to the events.
“I had the opportunity to drive the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP at Barcelona last week, which was also my first time at the track since I last raced there in Formula One in 1994. The car and the turbo diesel engine are naturally completely different to what I am used to but it was a great experience and I left the test extremely optimistic of Peugeot Sport doing well at Le Mans this year. It’s been fantastic to be able to win the GT1 class for the past two years and this drive gives me a great opportunity to go for outright victory and three wins in a row.”
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