Brabham at the Brickyard
Matt Brabham’s bold Indy bid
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.