Wet-weather challenges for Brabham (22) at Brands (Jakob Ebrey Photography)
Matthew Brabham was among the pacesetters during this weekend's opening two rounds of the Formula Renault BARC Winter Series at the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit. He emerged with a pair of top-five finishes from the 12-lap races which were held in very different conditions, and posted the second-fastest lap of the race during Sunday's wet encounter as he worked impressively through the field after spinning and falling to last place on the opening lap.
The 18-year-old, who hails from Boca Raton, Fla., and is the grandson of three-time Formula 1 World Champion Sir Jack Brabham, started his weekend with a pair of 15-minute qualifying sessions on Saturday morning, earning seventh place on the grid for round 1 and fourth for round 2.
Conditions remained dry for race 1 on Saturday afternoon. After losing a few positions in the opening skirmishes, Brabham put his head down and worked his way to fifth by the checkered flag.
“My race pace was quite quick and I managed to get past a few people,” said Brabham. “It was definitely a lot of fun and I was quite happy with fifth. I'm really looking forward to tomorrow as I have a better starting position, so hopefully I can get a good start and fight for the podium.”
Brabham did indeed make a good start in the dreadfully wet conditions, only to tangle with a rival at Graham Hill Bend and spin to the back of the field. He then proceeded to produce the drive of the race as he climbed from 19th to fifth.
“It was a shame about the first lap,” he said. “It took a while to get the car started again so I lost a lot of time. The car was really quick in the wet though and I caught up within a few laps. I really enjoyed coming back through the field. I learned a lot about passing in the wet. I'm still happy despite the first-lap contact and very pleased to get back to fifth place. The team did a fantastic job, the car was great and I can't thank everyone enough for the support and the opportunity.”
Brabham unofficially lies fifth in the Winter Series standings with 40 points to the 54 of series veterans Seb Morris and Matt Mason, who shared the two race wins. The final two races will take place at Rockingham, near Corby, on Saturday, Nov. 10. In the meantime, fellow 2012 Team USA Scholarship winners Jack Mitchell and Tristan Nunez will compete in next weekend's Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch and the following weekend's Walter Hayes Trophy at Silverstone.
The Team USA Scholarship is made possible by support from Doug Mockett & Company, Road Racing Drivers Club and its ground-breaking www.SAFEisFAST.com <http://www.safeisfast.com/> video tutorial initiative, Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, INDYCAR's Mazda Road to Indy, Mazda, David Heinemeier Hansson, Level 5 Motorsports, Honda Performance Development, NameSilo, Silicon Salvage, McMurry Inc., Parathyroid.com, Dyson Racing, Allen Berg Racing Schools, Seat Time, LLC, PitFit Training, Sparco USA, RACER Magazine, eFormulaCarNews.com, Speedstar Management, Styled Aesthetic and Manifest Group as well as numerous past Scholarship winners.
For more information, please visit www.TeamUSAScholarship.org