Peugeot driver David Brabham says his No. 9 908 HDI teammates Alex Wurz and Marc Gene will treat tonight’s two, two-hour qualifying sessions as extended practice with their focus firmly on finding a strong race setup. The 43-year-old added, however, that Wednesday’s mostly wet six-hour session was far from a write-off despite the lack of dry running.
“We wanted to get certain tire information,” said Brabham. “We were going to some tire runs and things like that. And, OK, we did that with the wets, so yesterday was not a waste of time by any stretch of the imagination, because if it rains – and it could on Sunday – then we have got a lot of information about that. We just don’t have any information about the dry – which we will get tonight.
“What it means is that we have changed our program for qualifying. We have a racecar to sort out, so if we have enough to time we will throw on a set of tires and go.”
Brabham, who normally drives the open-top Acura ARX-02a LMP1 car in the American Le Mans Series, says the turbo-diesel car is a very different prospect.
“It’s fast!” said Brabham. “In the Acura, when you lift off you can really feel good engine braking, but in this thing there’s nothing at all. You are traveling a lot quicker as well.
“The closed cockpit compared to the open top, though, is the biggest difference. When you are in an open top you are out there in the elements and you are picking up information all the time, through the senses in your body. You feel like you are attached to it. But in a closed cockpit car you are detached from it. You have got to then find other messages to pick up what you need to do.
“And that’s made even harder because the diesel doesn’t make that much noise. It’s a but like driving a computer simulation with the sound turned down. You can even hear the gearbox – which you don’t normally hear.”
• Full Q&A with David Brabham