|The girls like Matt Brabham|
Matthew Brabham, the grandson of Formula One World Champion Jack Brabham and son of Indianapolis 500 competitor Geoff Brabham, was happy with his improvement during the recent Indy Lights Open Test at Sebring Int’l Raceway.
The 2013 Pro Mazda and 2012 USF2000 champion will race in the Indy Lights Series for Andretti Autosport in 2014. Brabham totaled 86 laps in two sessions at Sebring, which hosted 10 drivers during the Jan. 7-8 open test session.
“It’s definitely a step up compared to Pro Mazda," said Brabham, who turns 20 on Feb. 25. “So far it’s been challenging to get used to more power and more grip, but fun to drive. I’m slowly getting there, and it should be a good year for us."
It was Brabham’s second outing in the car as he prepares for the third rung of the Mazda Road to Indy ladder. Brabham’s teammate Zach Veach topped the combined time sheet on the 1.68-mile circuit, followed by 2013 series championship runner-up Gabby Chaves in his Belardi Auto Racing car with Brabham coming in third fastest. The best lap times of the top eight drivers were less than a second apart.
“It gives us a jump up on everybody, and that definitely helps," Brabham said. “That’s what we did last year in Pro Mazda. We got ahead and managed to sort things out before everybody else did. It’s great to get out early and nice to have everything signed so I can just focus on testing and getting comfortable before we go out and start getting ready for the racing season."
In 2013 while driving for Andretti Autosport, Brabham set Pro Mazda single-season records with 13 victories (seven in a row), 15 podiums and 10 poles. The teen, who before the season was named a British Racing Drivers’ Club “Rising Star," led 81 percent of the laps over the 12 races.
The season starts March 30 on the Streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., as part of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Other full-scale tests are scheduled for late February at NOLA Motorsport Park as well as Barber Motorsports Park.