Brab­ham at the Brick­yard

Matt Brab­ham’s bold Indy bid

F1 Racing - - FRONT PAGE -

Matt Brab­ham is poised to be­come the third gen­er­a­tion Brab­ham to start in the In­di­anapo­lis 500. In a deal struck by Aus­tralian mo­tor­sport iden­tity, Brett ‘Crusher’ Mur­ray, Brab­ham will drive a car el­ded by KV Rac­ing Tech­nol­ogy, with ma­jor back­ing from PIRTEK. The team is to be known as PIRTEK Team Mur­ray.

The deal will see Brab­ham, the son of for­mer Le Mans 24 Hour win­ner and mul­ti­ple IMSA champ Ge­off Brab­ham, race in the Angie’s List Grand Prix road course race at In­di­anapo­lis on May 14 be­fore at­tempt­ing to qual­ify for the In­di­anapo­lis 500, set for May 29.

“There is no doubt that this is a dream come true,” Matt Brab­ham said. “I can­not thank ‘Crusher’ enough for his be­lief and Glenn Duncan and PIRTEK for their faith and nan­cial com­mit­ment.

“To have the sup­port of a fan­tas­tic com­pany like PIRTEK for my rst Indy 500 really is amaz­ing.

“We have a lot of work ahead of us, but it is nice to get this plan in place this far out. “My mum and dad are over the moon with the po­si­tion we are in and I am sure my grand­fa­ther is look­ing down on us with a smile and can’t wait for May 29 to roll around. I am in­cred­i­bly grate­ful for the op­por­tu­nity.” While a Brab­ham has never won the 500, both Sir Jack and Ge­off Brab­ham have left their mark on the race. It was Jack Brab­ham who brought the rear-en­gined revo­lu­tion to Indy with his adapted For­mula 1 Cooper in 1961, while Ge­off Brab­ham nished fth in his rookie year, 1981, be­fore claim­ing a ca­reer-high fourth two years later.

For young Matt, still only 21, the PIRTEK Team Mur­ray Indy deal is huge boost that has come at a cru­cial point in his ca­reer as he seeks to make the step into IndyCar full time .

Af­ter a couple of sea­sons in Aus­tralian For­mula Ford, Brab­ham moved to the States – he was born Amer­ica but raised in Aus­tralia, and has dual cit­i­zen­ship – in 2012. He made an im­me­di­ate im­pact, win­ning that year’s US For­mula Ford 2000 cham­pi­onship be­fore go­ing on to dom­i­nate the 2013 Pro Mazda

Cham­pi­onship – win­ning 13 of the 16 rounds.

Step­ping up to Indy Lights for 2014, Brab­ham nished fourth. The fu­ture looked very bright, and he went into the 2015 se­ries as one of the favourites. How­ever, a lack of fund­ing side­lined him early in the year. Since then he has been broad­en­ing his hori­zons with runs in cat­e­gories as di­verse as For­mula E, Late Model NASCAR and Sta­dium Su­per Trucks. As for Brett Mur­ray, PIRTEK Team Mur­ray is the re­al­i­sa­tion of a dream.

“I have had a dream of hav­ing my own car in the Indy 500 since be­fore Matt was born and Matt has had a dream of be­ing a starter in the 500 since he was old enough to get be­hind the wheel,” he said.

“I have been ex­tremely for­tu­nate to have had PIRTEK as a client and be a part of the PIRTEK ‘fam­ily’ for more than 15 years and I could not think of any bet­ter peo­ple to be stand­ing in pit lane be­side us at next year’s 100th Indy 500.

“I guess a dif­fer­ent kind of pas­sion from Matt and I cre­ated a com­mon dream. With the help of PIRTEK, we now have an op­por­tu­nity to make that a re­al­ity – and in the 100th year of the world’s great­est race.

“I made a prom­ise to Sir Jack be­fore he passed away that I would do what I could to help Matt’s ca­reer.

“If you are go­ing to en­ter into such a pro­gram you need to do it with peo­ple you trust and who share a sim­i­lar pas­sion. So that made KV Rac­ing the nat­u­ral choice for us be­cause of my long-term per­sonal and pro­fes­sional re­la­tion­ships with Kevin (Kalkhoven) and Jimmy (Vasser). “Team Man­ager Steve Moore and I have also know each other for some time and the en­ergy he has put into help­ing me bring this to­gether has been noth­ing short of rst class.

“It’s go­ing to be one hell of a jour­ney.”

Above: Matt Brab­ham and team owner Brett Mur­ray at the launch of PIRTEK Team Mur­ray at the Home­bush V8 Supercar meet­ing in De­cem­ber. Far left: News of the Indy 500 deal is a huge boost to Matt Brab­ham, whose Indy Lights pro­gramme had to be cut short this year due to a fund­ing short­fall.

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