Don't count Brabham out

DEAN McNULTY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:10 PM ET

BOWMANVILLE — David Brabham knows that if the American Le Mans Series just took the restrictions off the No. 100 Patron Highcroft Racing HPD ARX-01C in the LMP class, he and teammate Simon Pagenaud would be sitting on the pole today at the Grand Prix of Mosport.

As it was, Pagenaud settled for third on the grid Saturday, after Klaus Graf in the No. 6 Porsche RS Spyder, set the fastest lap of one minute, 6.967 seconds and then Chris Dyson set down a lap of 1:07.142 in his No. 16 Lola B09 60.

But that is the price of success in the most prestigious of ALMS race classes.

For example, Brabham’s LMP car goes on the track 250 kilos heavier than the No. 6 Muscle Milk CytoSport Porsche Spyder of Graf and his teammate Romain Dumas.

At the most recent race last week at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisc., Brabham finished third behind Graf and winner Paul Drayson in a Lola 809 60.

He still holds a 20-point margin over Graf, however, in the overall championship points standings on the basis of wins at Long Beach, Utah and Laguna Seca.

“Last weekend at Road America we came out of there with good points and this week in Mosport we just have to concentrate on doing the same thing again,” Brabham said.

The 44-year-old Australian thinks that Mosport’s super-fast 4-km, 10-turn road course is the kind of track where he can make his car’s horsepower advantage work.

If anybody can figure out how to find more speed it is Brabham, who will become just the second driver to reach 100 ALMS starts when the race starts on Sunday.

The first to do so was Corvette Racing’s Johnny O’Connell, who hit the mark at Mosport last season.

Brabham said on Saturday that the mark means a lot to him, especially since 40 years ago to the day his dad — Sir Jack Brabham — won the first running of the Canadian Grand Prix at Mosport.

“It’s amazing to think my dad won the first Canadian Grand Prix on this day in 1967 as I celebrate my 100th ALMS race,” he said. “It’s been an amazing journey. Every Highcroft team member has contributed towards making some of the best memories of my career.”

An ace that Brabham and company may have up their sleeves is that the team did extensive race-setup testing at Mosport this past Wednesday, where they think they got a handle on the new Le Mans aero package the team employed for the first time last week at Road America.

“We now certainly have a lot more information about it, which will be very important because we really haven’t been able to test since Sebring,” he said.

In the LMPC class, former IndyCar driver Luis Diaz paced the field with a lap of 1:11.455 in the No. 52 Oreca FLM09.

Frankie Montecalva will start beside him after posting a time of 1:12.013.

Barrie’s Kyle Marcelli was fourth fastest in the LMPC class, bringing his No. 89 Oreca home in 1:12.239.

In the GT class, Gianmaria Bruni took his No. 62 Ferrari across the start-finish line in a time of 1:17.160.

Jorg Bergmeister was second fastest in afternoon qualifying at 1:17:461 in his No. 45 Porschek, with Tommy Miller third at 1:17.491 in a BMW.

The best the American brands could do was a fourth-fastest mark from the No. 4 Corvette under the guidance of Oliver Gavin with a lap of 1:17.668.

Today’s ALMS race gets the green flag at 3:05 p.m. EDT.


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