Andretti Autosport has once again expanded its footprint in the Mazda Road to Indy ladder system by signing Matthew Brabham for the 2013 Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires (formerly Star Mazda). He will be teammates with Shelby Blackstock (at left, with Brabham ABOVE) on Andretti's Pro Mazda team.
The son of former IMSA and IndyCar star Geoff Brabham and grandson of F1 World Champion Jack Brabham, 18-year-old Matthew won the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda at his first attempt this year, and subsequently was invited to test with the Andretti Pro Mazda squad at Indianapolis. He was also named to the prestigious Team USA Scholarship team at the end of the year, and ably represented the squad in British Formula Renault last month, finishing second at the season finale.
"I am so excited to be driving for the Andretti Autosport team in the 2013 Pro Mazda Championship," said Brabham. "It was fantastic to drive for the team at the Indy test, and get a feel for how they operate. They are really professional and seem like a great bunch of guys to work with. The Pro Mazda had more power than the USF2000 car, so it was lots of fun to drive and gave me a good understanding of what to expect next season."
The Brabham racing pedigree started in the 1950s, when Jack Brabham left his Australian homeland to join open-wheel racing competition in Europe. Jack Brabham went on to become a three-time Formula 1 World Champion and receive a knighthood. He is also credited with starting the rear engine revolution at the Indianapolis 500 in 1961.
Matthew's father, Geoff Brabham followed in his father's footsteps and successfully competed in CART early in his career – where he was teammates with Andretti Autosport owner Michael Andretti on the Kraco Racing team (RIGHT). He had 10 Indianapolis 500 starts, with a best result of fourth in 1983.
"I think it is really cool to have the Andretti and Brabham names come together with Matthew joining the Andretti Autosport team," said Geoff Brabham. "Both his grandfather Sir Jack and Mario are Formula 1 World Champions. Mario, Michael and I drove against each other for many years in Indy cars. Now Matthew has a chance to forge his own career. Having the history and heritage of both families behind him can only be positive, not only on the race track but also giving potential sponsors a very unique combination."
Brabham is looking forward to having Marco Andretti as a teammate, with both being third-generation drivers. This will allow Brabham the opportunity to consult with the youngest Andretti racer, who knows the ins and outs of competing as a racing legacy.
"I cannot wait to get next year's season underway," added Brabham. "I can't thank the Mazda Road to Indy Scholarship program enough for giving me the opportunity to move up into this class. Andretti Autosport is really experienced in multiple avenues of racing, and has tremendous resources and knowledge. It is quite an honor to be a part of such a prestigious team."